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två forskare i labbrockar håller upp och tittar på en zebrafisk i liten akvarielåda
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Molecular cognition

Research group
Pågående forskning
Project owner
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology

Short description

Current research in the Kettunen lab include molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and memory, pathways underlying memory impairments and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and the role of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease. We also work with evaluation of welfare parameters for zebrafish and establishment of guidelines for zebrafish housing.
In collaboration with Uppsala University we are investigating how the gene quaking contributes to the development of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disease. And in the project Neuronal networks underlying social behavior, we study the molecular pathways and transmitter systems underlying social behavior and autism.

Ongoing research

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and memory

We are studying the molecular and cellular events that underlie learning. To this end, we are using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and combining transgenic and molecular methods, behavioral experiments with imaging of structures in the nervous system. 

The subproject FISHDOPA was financed 2016 – 2018 by FP7/EU via a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. It is focusing on understanding the role of the dopaminergic system in reward learning in fish. Learn more in the financiers article, see link to the right.

Pathways underlying memory impairments and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

We are interested in understanding how the Alzheimer’s disease-related peptide, amyloid-beta, is preventing memory formation in vivo. We are also studying the processes of amyloid-beta-mediated neurodegeneration in larval zebrafish and how these can be targeted for drug discovery. This project has received support from Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova.

In parallel with the studies in the zebrafish we also study how cognitive decline is developed in patients. The Gothenburg MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) study was started in 1999 and has included close to 1000 healthy persons and patients with memory problems and followed them over time. We are making use of genetics, biomarkers, brain imaging and psychological test data to understand how the clinical decline is developing.

The role of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease

In our imaging experiments we are able to follow the dynamics of microglia, i.e. the immune cells of the brain, and combine these experiments with genetic analyses in human patient material. In this way, we hope to increase our understanding of the process of amyloid-beta clearance and the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. This project has received support by MORE (Mobility for Regional Excellence), Region Västra Götaland.
The subproject INFLAMM-ALZ was financed between 2016 and 2018 by Horizon2020/EU to increase the understanding of how microglia cells are interaction with amyloid-beta. Learn more in the financiers article, see link to the right.
 
We are also making use of genetic analyses, neuropathology and biomarker studies to understand how the inflammatory cells are contributing to cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular cognitive diseases. This project is also supported by a clinical (ALF) grant from Region Västra Götaland. 

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Photo: Josefin Bergenholtz

Evaluation of welfare parameters for zebrafish and establishment of guidelines for zebrafish housing

In this project with support from Formas (2019 – 2022), the government research council for sustainable development, we will raise and keep zebrafish under different conditions and measure different welfare markers. In this way, we can learn which conditions affect welfare in zebrafish. Our goal is establish guidelines for zebrafish housing which today is lacking. 

Translational studies of the gene quaking

In collaboration with Lina Emilsson and Elena Jazin at Uppsala University we are investigating how the gene quaking contributes to the development of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disease. We are combining experiments in zebrafish with analyses in human material.

Neuronal networks underlying social behavior

In collaboration with the Westberg lab at Sahlgrenska Academy, we are investigating the molecular pathways and transmitter systems underlying social behavior and autism. This project is supported by the Swedish Research Council. 

Members

Petronella Kettunen
Associate Professor, Principal Investigator

Adrian Ekehorn Gimdal
Assistant student

Aitana Almodóvar
Erasmus student from University of Barcelona

Hajir Muqdad Hayyawi
Master's thesis student

Marica Andersson
Graduate student

Sofia Wüstenhagen
Graduate student

Sarra Zenagui
Erasmus student from University of Montpellier

Timothy Magnhagen
Project student

Geoffrey Aliti
Technical personnell

Financiers

Our main financiers are:

  • ALF
  • Formas
  • Vinnova
  • Horizon
  • Marie Curie
  • Grass

EU

  • FP7
  • Horizon 2020

USA

  • Grass Foundation

SWEDEN

  • Adlerbertska Foundations
  • Anér Foundation
  • Anna Ahrenberg’s Association
  • Capio Research Foundation
  • Swedish Dementia Foundation
  • Formas
  • Hedström Foundation
  • Hellmuth Hertz Foundation
  • Iris Jonzén-Sandblom and Greta Jonzén Foundation
  • Wilhelm and Martina Lundgren Foundation
  • Lundgren’s Foundation
  • Längmanska Foundation
  • Markus Borgström Foundation
  • National Board of Health and Welfare
  • Nilsson-Ehle Donations
  • O. E. and Edla Johansson Science Foundation
  • Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor
  • Swedish Alzheimer Foundation
  • Swedish Brain Foundation
  • Swedish – French Association
  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Society of Medicine
  • Swedish Society for Medical Research
  • Tore Nilson Foundation for Medical Research
  • Torsten Söderberg Foundation
  • Vinnova
  • MORE (Mobility for Regional Excellence), Region Västra Götaland
  • Region Västra Götaland
  • Wenner-Gren Foundations
  • Åhlén Foundation
  • Åke Wiberg Foundation