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    Selma Lagerløfs Vej 249

    9260 Gistrup


Organisation profile

Organisation profile

Head of research group: John D. Vestergaard Nieland

Who are we?

We are a very international group, passionate about what we do, and we like to be challenged in our scientific work. Our research expertise spans from molecular cell biology to immunology and pharmacology.

The common interest is to advance our understanding of the most debilitating neurological disorders and optimize novel pharmacological treatments.  From targeted recombinant antibody therapy to small molecules, we are interested in alleviating the symptoms and finding a cure.

Our overall aim is to discover new therapeutic strategies, develop better drugs, optimize their effectiveness, reduce unwanted side effects, and understand the response with a unique patient-centred approach. We use advanced research methods from bench to bedside to investigate the complex mechanisms underpinning diseases and optimize therapeutic approaches.


Our research – what we do?

The research of the Molecular Pharmacology group concentrates mainly on studying the pathophysiology of the causes of diseases and how diseases can be treated. We study diseases based on a systemic biological background. We hypothesize that diseases develop when several functions in the body/organism get out of balance. This can be understood as follows in diseases and several organismal functions like metabolism, hormone system, symbiosis with microorganisms in the gut, mouth, lungs and skin, immune system, mitochondria, CNS, environment such as diet that may all work together and are in balance in a healthy organism/person. When several of these systems come out of balance, the disease can develop. Our primary focus is on diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and brain cancer. Our study results suggest that the interplay between environment, diet, metabolites, and genetics is critical for evoking a specific condition of metabolic imbalance that leads to disease development. The research in the group has shown that several CNS diseases are linked to an imbalance in the metabolic process.

The balance is different for each individual. Therefore, the treatment of diseases must be personalised. We have begun to test our hypothesis with neurodegenerative conditions. Furthermore, we are also testing this “metabolic shift” concept in other disease models such as brain cancer, kidney pathologies, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Here, we try to identify the balance between a healthy and a diseased individual. Based on that, determine how this balance needs to be corrected or prevented by maintaining the balance in a healthy person. The treatment can be a mix of several options such as diet, probiotics, medicine and psychological treatment.


How does our research contribute to societal health challenges?

Considering the aging population, one of the significant medical challenges is CNS diseases. A promising approach to preventing or treating these diseases is based on identifying causative pathways and biomarkers. Research conducted in our group has developed a very promising medicine for treating Parkinson’s, MS and ALS. The medicine is currently being tested in a  company that has evolved as a startup from our team. Encouraged by this success, we are working hard to discover new disease markers for fast and accurate diagnostics and new therapeutic approaches to CNS pathologies and others. In addition, we have identified novel prognostic biomarkers for the brain tumour glioblastoma. 


Who are our key collaborators?

  • Liliana M. Davalos, Professor of Conservation Biology, Stony Brook University, USA
  • Dina Dechmann, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany
  • Tae-Hwan Kwon, School of Medicine Kyungpook National University, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, South Korea
  • Angelique Corthals, Assistant Professor, John Jay CUNY school of criminal Justice, New York, USA
  • Paul Krimpenfoort, MCCA Transgenic Facility at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2A Pharma ApS, Aalborg, Denmark
  • 2N Pharma ApS, Biological Innovation Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Neurosurgery Department, Aalborg University Hospital

State of the art model for brain disease at least 3 functions need to be out of balance to develop disease

In our model above, genetic and epigenetic factors which are different for each person determine disease sensitivity
However, other functions, as depicted in the cartoon, that modulate metabolism, in combination with genetics and epigenetics induce disease


  • Biomedicine
  • neuropathology
  • metabolism and disease


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Collaborations from the last five years

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