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Examples of projects done in BRIDGE

Estrid Thougaard Pedersen
Ph.d.-student, IMM - Department of Neurobiology Research, SDU
The focus of my PhD project is to shed light on the inflammatory processes that occur in various neurological diseases, with focus on stroke and multiple sclerosis. I especially focus on the signaling molecule Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), which is upregulated in inflammation. By investigating the cellular signaling processes in the central nervous system of experimental animal models, I hope to discover key mechanisms in neuroinflammation. I will investigate the possibility of altering TNF signaling to promote repair and regeneration of the inflamed tissue. These studies are important for the development of improved treatment options, benefitting the vast number of patients suffering from these diseases. I believe this project has great strengths by being a collaboration between different laboratories in Odense and Miami, utilizing the expertise of multiple scientists, as well as by being a study of two different diseases. This will not only benefit the scientific quality of the project, but also me as a PhD student.

Cahtrine C. H. Laursen
Undergraduate student, IMM - Department of Neurobiology Research, SDU
We know from previous research that the receptor TNFR2 on specific cells in the brain play a role during a stroke. The goal of my project is to investigate if TNFR2 promotes less inflammation in the brain after a stroke.
The research project will be based on animal studies, where a group of mice with the receptor will be compared to a group of mice without the receptor. They will all be surgically subjected to a stroke, and the effects of the stroke will be investigated, such as functional outcome, changes in the inflammatory state of the cells in the brain and the amount of affected cells in the brain. 
In cooperation with the Department of Neurology at Odense University Hospital, blood samples from stroke patients will be collected, and their levels of TNFR2 in the blood will be measured and correlated to the patient’s fuctional outcome, three months after their stroke. In addition we will be collaborating with the Department of Pathology, University of Southern Denmark, where we will be looking at brain tissue from stroke patients to investigate the location of TNFR2 in the brain. Understanding the role of receptor TNFR2 may open doors to new treatment opportunities in stroke patients, as the treatment available at the moment is sparse and time-sensitive.
Personally, I find the field of molecular brain research quite fasinating, and as a medical student I have been looking forward to the opportunity to use my knowledge obtained so far and dig into the field of research.

Sophie Lund Elkrog
Undergraduate student, Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health, SDU
Non-pharmacological treatment like psychotherapy is associated with fewer and milder side effects than pharmacological treatment and is recommended first-line treatment towards common psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in children, adolescents and adults in Denmark.
The purpose of the study is to investigate the nationwide use of psychotherapy treatment among Danish individuals assigned with a psychiatric disorder diagnosis during the last two decades (from 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2020).
The study will strengthen our knowledge of the extent of psychotherapeutic treatment offered in the psychiatric clinics in Denmark and what characterizes patients receiving this non- pharmacological treatment. There is a growing concern about undesirable side effects of pharmacological treatment, such as the risk of somatic complications and increased mortality rate, and therefore this evaluation is essential. Our study is based on knowledge from the psychiatric clinics and on experience from pharmaceutical practices, using pharmaco-epidemiologic and register-based methodology. This ensures a translational approach across sectors and provides a clinically relevant outcome.

Debbie Rosenlyst Ollerup
Undergraduate student - Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
The aim of the study is to investigate the use of psychotropic drugs among children and adolescents in the Nordic countries through a systematic review of the literature.
Previous studies have shown marked differences in the use of psychotropic drugs among children and adolescents in the Nordic countries, even though the Nordic countries and their populations are considered similar and comparable. The differences in the use of psychotropic drugs, could be an indication of under- or over treatment of children and adolescents. Psychotropic drugs affect the brain and could therefore potentially intervene with development of personality, intellect, and memory, not only in childhood, but also, in the worst-case scenario, later in life.
The study is based on the scientifically accepted research methodology of critical systematic literature reviews (PRISMA Statement). It contributes to knowledge about the extent of psychotropic drug use among children and adolescents in the Nordic countries and clarify any differences or similarities between the Nordic countries.
This project has allowed me to combine two fields, that I have always found fascinating and interesting: psychiatry and clinical rational pharmacotherapy. It is gratifying to see how the knowledge I have gained through the years as a pharmacy student can be used to elucidate potential problematics. Furthermore, it has given me an opportunity to meet with other professions and discuss a common interest in psychiatry, which I have found very rewarding.

Maria H. Stoltz-Andersen
Undergraduate student, Cand. pharm. stud., Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark and Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, Odense.
Use of Medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Among Danish Children and Adolescents from 2012-2020 
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood and adolescence affecting approximately 2-3% of Danish youths. The aim of this project is to examine the utilization patterns of ADHD medication among Danish children and adolescents from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2020. By using the unique Danish national health care registries, this project analyses the extent and characteristics of ADHD medication use according to incidence rate, prevalence proportion, age and sex, regional differences, comorbidities, concomitant use of other psychotropic drugs, treatment duration, early discontinuation, and prescriber profile.
The research project is conducted across two departments: Department of Clinically Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department in Odense. This ensures that the project is embedded in a research environment with great experience with register-based research combined with knowledge from clinical practice.
Results from this study will contribute to ensure rational use of ADHD medication among the youngest psychiatric patients.

Mette Scheller Nissen
MD, PhD student, Department of Clinical Research, Neurology, SDU
– in collaboration with IMM – Department of Neurobiology Research, SDU

Autoimmune Encephalopathies (AEs) comprise a relatively new group of neuro-immunologic diseases, where the immune system generates auto-antibodies against neuronal surface receptors, resulting in impairment of neurologic function. Patients experience subacute onset of symptoms involving memory impairment, behavioural changes, psychosis, seizures and movement disorders. Until 15 years ago, these patients where unidentified and left to die. Today, they can be treated with immunosuppressants with a good prognosis.
Besides the knowledge of the auto-antibodies inhibiting their target protein (such as the NMDA-receptor), not much is known about the pathophysiology behind the disease. Moreover, no national overview of patients, treatment response or outcome exist.
My PhD project focusses on a translational approach to better understand AE. I will concentrate on establishing a rat model of the disease, to study pathologic mechanisms and the role of FDG PET CT brain imaging. Additionally, I will provide a clinical overview of all patients in Denmark from 2009 – 2019 and study potential CSF biomarkers that can be beneficial in estimating prognosis and guide treatment decisions.
I believe that a translational approach involving both laboratory neurobiology research and clinical studies is a great strength in understanding the disease. And I am convinced that not only I as a clinician and researcher, but certainly also the patients, will benefit from this multidisciplinary approach.



Last Updated 22.06.2022