Main responsible: Gitte Moos Knudsen

This research includes the development and application of functional and structural neuroimaging, including the methods Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Thematically, it overlaps with Functional MRI, Clinical Neurology, Clinical Psychiatry, Data Analysis and Radioligand Development. Our research focuses on neurobiological aspects of brain function in the healthy brain, such as relationships between brain structure and function in personality, cognition, and in response to pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions. Traditionally, special emphasis has been on the molecular imaging of the serotonergic neurotransmitter system, but the research also includes molecular imaging studies of the dopaminergic and nicotinic transmitter systems, beta-amyloid, epigenetics, second messengers and neuroinflammation.

NRU runs a SPECT-scanner and collaborates closely with Professor Liselotte Højgaard and her dedicated staff at the PET and Cyclotron Unit at Rigshospitalet. The collaboration covers both research and developmental activities and provides NRU with access to state-of-the-art PET- and MR-PET scanner facilities. In late 2019, our previous SPECT scanner got replaced by a new 3rd generation high-resolution SPECT-CT Mediso scanner which has been placed in the new North Wing of Rigshospitalet.

Also since late 2019, we have at NRU been running our own 3T Siemens Prisma MR-scanner, installed in the new North Wing of Rigshospitalet and dedicated for brain research. We will make the MR scanner facilities available for our close collaborators at the Department of Diagnostic Radiology for clinical investigations with a clear research potential. You can get an interactive tour around the brand new scanner facilities here.

The research theme is central in the following centers/projects based at NRU:

Examples of previous publications:

  • da Cunha-Bang S, Mc Mahon B, MacDonald Fisher P, Jensen PS, Svarer C, Moos Knudsen G. High trait aggression in men is associated with low 5-HT levels, as indexed by 5-HT4 receptor binding. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016 Apr;11(4):548-55
  • Ettrup A, Svarer C, McMahon B, da Cunha-Bang S, Lehel S, Møller K, Dyssegaard A, Ganz M, Beliveau V, Jørgensen LM, Gillings N, Knudsen GM. Serotonin 2A receptor agonist binding in the human brain with [(11)C]Cimbi-36: Test-retest reproducibility and head-to-head comparison with the antagonist [(18)F]altanserin. Neuroimage. 2016 Feb 11;130:167-174
  • Fisher PM, Haahr ME, Jensen CG, Frokjaer VG, Siebner HR, Knudsen GM. Fluctuations in [11C]SB207145 PET binding associated with change in threat-related amygdala reactivity in humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 May;40(6):1510-8
  • Haahr ME, Hansen DL, Fisher PM, Svarer C, Stenbæk DS, Madsen K, Madsen J, Holst JJ, Baaré WF, Hojgaard L, Almdal T, Knudsen GM. Central 5-HT neurotransmission modulates weight loss following gastric bypass surgery in obese individuals. J Neurosci. 2015 Apr 8;35(14):5884-9
  • Ettrup A, da Cunha-Bang S, McMahon B, Lehel S, Dyssegaard A, Skibsted AW, Jørgensen LM, Hansen M, Baandrup AO, Bache S, Svarer C, Kristensen JL, Gillings N, Madsen J, Knudsen GM. Serotonin 2A receptor agonist binding in the human brain with [11C]Cimbi-36. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Jul;34(7):1188-96
  • Haahr ME, Fisher PM, Jensen CG, Frokjaer VG, Mahon BM, Madsen K, Baaré WF, Lehel S, Norremolle A, Rabiner EA, Knudsen GM. Central 5-HT4 receptor binding as biomarker of serotonergic tonus in humans: a [11C]SB207145 PET study. Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Apr;19(4):427-32