Heidi Kaastrup Müller - Molecular Neuropsychiatry

Our research group focuses on the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric disorders and the processes underlying effective treatments by integrating animal models with molecular, biochemical, pharmacological and behavioral approaches.

Research focus

  • Molecular and functional mechanisms involved in the antidepressant effect of NMDA receptor antagonists with special focus on the presynaptic regulation of glutamate release
  • Neuroplasticity in depression
  • Behavioral and molecular responses to stress
  • Regulation of the tryptophan-kynurenic pathway in depression
  • The link between sleep hormones and depression
  • Identification of novel interacting partners of key proteins involved in the development of depression

Aim

The unifying aim of our current research activities is to provide information that advances our understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of depression. The latent response to current available antidepressants and the prevalence of treatment-resistant depression emphasize the need for continuing research into alternative treatments. Our goal is to identify new potential targets for acute pharmacological treatment of depression and to establish new strategies for differentiating specific subgroups of patients, thus facilitating individualized treatment.

Main research methods

  • Studies of neurotransmitter release using superfused synaptosomes (Fig. 1)
  • Subcellular fractionation by ultracentrifugation; synaptosomes, synaptic vesicles, postsynaptic membranes
  • Animal models of depression
  • Pharmacological treatments/manipulations
  • Two-color detection and quantification fluorescent Western blotting (Licor)
  • Yeast two-hybrid screening (Split-ubiquitin system) (Fig. 2)
  • Cell culturing
  • siRNA analysis
  • Co-immunoprecipitation
  • GST-Pulldown
  • Cell surface biotinylation
  • Cloning, mutagenesis, DNA sequencing

Available projects

We offer Bachelor, Master, or Research Year projects within all aspects of our research focus. The projects are particularly relevant for students with a background in molecular biology, molecular medicine, or medicine. We support collaborative projects within our unit as well as multidisciplinary collaboration with external groups.

Please contact Heidi Kaastrup Müller (heidi.muller@clin.au.dk) for further information.

Figure 1: Superfusion
Figure 2: YTH system
Figure 1: Superfusion
Figure 2: YTH system