Elsebeth Stenager, Clinical Professor
Tanja Maria Sheldrick-Michel, Professor
Department of research, Child- and Adolescent Psychiatry Odense, is a well-established research department closely cooperating with Odense University Hospital and Department of clinical research, University of Southern Denmark.
The Neuropsychiatric research area is intended to explore the neuropsychiatric disorders ranging from Autism Spectrum Disorder to ADHD, Tics/Tourette syndrome and Schizophrenia, onset before age 18.
There are a variety of ongoing projects (trails) in the department, both clinical projects, epidemiological projects and basic research. Also, Child and adolescent psychiatry Odense, has continuously been involved in numerous epidemiological projects, including several twin studies. Currently a birth cohort study entitled Odense Child Cohort.
To foster knowledge about occurrence and development of a given disease, risk factors and progress, population studies are highly necessary. A high priority area in the Region of Southern Denmark is treatment evaluation and testing new methods in clinical work (translational- or applied research).
The department takes part in multicenter trials and collects systematic data. We have initiated a clinical research center for neurodevelopmental disorders (FOCUS).
Head of Research Unit: Professor Niels Bilenberg.
At the Research Unit, Department for Psychiatry in Odense and the Laboratory for translational and patient centered Psychiatry (Chair and Head of Research Prof. Dr. Tanja Maria Sheldrick-Michel), we aim to bring psychiatric research to the next level, by applying newly developed cutting-edge techniques from stem cell biology and tissue engineering, nanotechnology, computational biology and molecular imaging and merge them into a new concept for disease modeling, diagnosis and therapy.
Our main goal is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind different psychiatric disorders such as psychosis, affective and neurodevelopmental disorders and translate this new knowledge into the clinical practice. One of our latest research focus are neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is associated with difficulties in social interactions, communication, and behavior deviations, motor coordination and attention deficit. ASD is a social and economic relevant problem, since the overall ASDs prevalence rates in Denmark are 1% per 10 000 children and the treatment opportunities, especially in adults leave a lot of room for improvement. The neurobiology of ASD remains to be elucidated.
We aim to develop a new concept for disease modeling in the field of psychiatry and to create a relevant humanized in vitro model for downstream investigation, for this neurodevelopmental disorders are extremely well suited. We propose a multidisciplinary approach, which combination of generation of patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and three dimentional organotypic cultures – “brain organoids” and modern bioinformatics tools. To build the brain organoid model platform a biobank of fibroblast cell lines and iPSC derived from patients diagnosed with ASD from the cohort from the region of Southern Denmark, healthy individuals and siblings has been created.
Brain organoids generated from iPSC recapitulate the dynamics of neurogenesis, cellular variety and intercellular communication, which are affected in autism. On the cellular, protein and gene expression level, organoids demonstrate a high similarity to the neurodevelopment in vivo and can therefore recapitulate early stages of the neurogenesis.
To date, organoids are the most relevant cellular in vitro platform for understanding the complex mechanisms of brain development and pathology. Organoids are a good modeling system for elucidating the role of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors on ASD development. It is a tool that can be used for screening of chemical compounds as potential drugs (“in sphero” drug testing) and developing personalized treatment.
The ultimate goal is to find new biomarkers, new drug targets and provide effective treatment.
Focused research group in psychiatry, Aabenraa
Focused research group in psychiatri in Aabenraa was established in 2014 in collaboration with the Department of Regional Health Services, University of Southern Denmark.
The main tasks for the research group are:
- To conduct research in the field of children, youth, and adult psychiatry in Southern Jutland
- To collaborate with the somatic wards in the Hospital of Southern Jutland about research projects
- Collaboration with other research environments in and outside the region, also internationally on joint projects
The research group's focus areas are:
- Translational psychiatry, in collaboration with somatic wards at the Hospital of Southern Jutland, including the focused research group of neurology, IRS. Mainly studies concerning psychiatric comorbidity in somatic ill patients
- Suicidal research
- Alcohol research