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Molecular psychiatry

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology

Short description

We study molecular mechanisms underlying severe mental disorders (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) by modelling neural development with IPS cells (Induced Pluripotent Stem cells).

Our research

Our research is focused on severe mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, with emphasis on neural development. In specific we are interested in how disturbances in the development of neural networks lead to manifest psychiatric illness. One focus is on the calcium channel gene CACNA1C, earlier implied in both disorders in previous GWAS. At the moment, we are developing IPS cell-based models of bipolar patients in conjunction with clinical data from patients.

Markers for pluripotency and neural differentiation in IPS cells, neural progenitor cells and neurons.
Markers for pluripotency and neural differentiation in IPS cells, neural progenitor cells and neurons. Illustration: Erik Smedler

Collaboration

In parallel, we pursue register based studies on clinical aspects on bipolar disorder in collaboration with professor Mikael Landén. We aim at combining deeply phenotyping patients based on clinical information with IPS cell-based modeling, using both 2D cultures and cerebral organoids. We also collaborate with Dr. Carl Sellgren at Karolinska Institutet to collect skin biopsies that are used to produce IPS cells.

Group members

  • Erik Smedler, MD-PhD, Principal Investigator
  • Mahnaz Nikpour, PhD, Postdoctor