NRU Management Group


Jens Holm Mikkelsen
Professor, MD, DMSc
Dept. Neurology and Neurobiology Research Unit,
Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet,
Building 8057,
Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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3545 6701/6740

Curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae


Jens Mikkelsen is professor in Translational Neuropharmacology at the Institute of Neuroscience and at the Neurobiology Research Unit. Mikkelsen laboratory is part of the Institute of Neuroscience and some activities are also conducted at NRU.


Teaching and supervision:

Jens Mikkelsen is Study director for the master education in Neuroscience at University of Copenhagen, and teaches these students in translational neuropharmacology. He is also course leader for Drug Discovery and Development - Neuroscience. In addition he teaches medical students in psychopharmacology, and CNS structure and function.


Scientific interests:

We are interested in synaptic plasticity and neuroinflammation. We develop novel methods to measure these processes in the human brain and in animal models. We do this to study brain pathology and drug action and these affect these changes in the brain. Below is a more detailed description of the research projects that we are currently working on.

Determination of synaptic plasticity in health and disease
Formation and loss of synapses is defined as synaptic plasticity. Formation of new functional synapses or synaptogenesis is likely an ongoing process in the human brain, and may be either inhibited or enhanced in brain disease. Monitorization of the progression of the synaptic changes in patients has become possible after radioligands binding to the (pre)synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) have become available.

Project 1. Synaptic plasticity in Alzheimer’s disease
Changes in synapses are believed to occur in several CNS disorders, and we have shown that synapses are lost in the frontal cortex in patients with Alzheimers disease (Mikkelsen et al 2023). Further, studies will investigate whether patuents with certain genotypes are more vulnerable for synaptic loss.

Project 2. Neuroinflammation
Neuroinflammation or activated microglia (the innate immune cells of the CNS) can be induced and chronic inflammation causes the degradation of tissue. Using radiotracers that bind to targets expressed in microglia cells, we can not only identify neuroinflammation, but also study various mechanisms. These targets include the translocator protein (TSPO) and purinergic 2X7 receptor (P2X7) (Mikkelsen et al, ACS Neurosci, 2023) as well as others that are under validation. We are funded by Michael J Fox Foundation to develop novel P2X7 radiotracers for Parkinsons disease.

Project 3. Epileptogenesis
Epileptogenesis is a dynamic process in which alterations in morphology and pathophysiology of the neuronal network and supporting cells where the neuronal excitability in these networks eventually become high enough to generate unprovoked repetitive seizures. In human temporal cortical resections ex vivo obtained from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, we have shown that SV2A is expressed in all cortical neuronal subtypes, and that expression of SV2A mRNA and binding levels are lower in epilepsy brains compared to matched post-mortem controls without neurological disease (Pazarlar et al., Mol Brain 2022). We have also compared these observations directly to spatial and temporal changes in SV2A binding in three models of epilepsy in rats (Mikkelsen et al., Neuroscience 2022; Pazarlar et al., Epilepsy Research, 2022), and found that [3H]-UCB-J radioligand binding decreases in the latent phase in the models while the level rises in the chronic phase, demonstrating epileptogenesis.
As epileptogenesis develops over time starting in the latent phase, the change in the neuronal circuit leads to hyperexcitation in the epileptic focus and spreads to other areas of the temporal lobe and beyond. We conduct studies in animal models to understand and perhaps prevent such changes under the progression from the early cause or insult to the latent phase where it develops into chronic epilepsy where the damage may be more difficult to treat.


2021 Professor in Translational Neuropharmacology, University of Copenhagen
2015 - 2020 Chief Scientific Officer, Bionomics Ltd., Adelaide, South Australia
2011 - Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine and NRU, Univ Copenhagen
2008 - Senior scientist at the Neurobiology Research Unit
2002 - 2008 Neurosearch, Head, Department of Translational Neurobiology Scientific Director – CNS R&D
2000 - 2002 Chief Scientific Officer and CEO, Azign Bioscience A/S, acquired by NeuroSearch A/S 2002
1998 - 2000 Zealand Pharmaceuticals A/S, Director, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Diabetes Pharmacology
1995 - 1998 Lundbeck, Department Head, and Senior Project Manager, Department of Neurobiology
1993 DMSc from University of Copenhagen, Thesis: The neural basis of circadian rhythms
1986 MD from University of Copenhagen


Published more than 310 Medline indexed scientific papers and reviews.
PubMed search string: Mikkelsen JD[Author] OR Mikelsen JD[Author] OR (Mikkelsen J[Author] AND "Neurobiology Research Unit"[All Fields]) NOT "Technical University of Denmark"[All Fields]