Lundbeck Foundation Fellowship to Dan Bang
Dan Bang, Postdoc at Aarhus University & Aarhus University Hospital, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London, has received a Fellowship from the Lundbeck Foundation totalling DKK 10 million.
Sub-second dopamine and serotonin signalling in the conscious human brain
With this grant, to be paid out over a period of five years, Dan Bang, age 36, can establish his own research group at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital (AUH). Together with his team, he will create Denmark’s first human voltammetry laboratory.
This technology enables neuroscientists to measure – for the very first time – sub-second changes in the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the human brain. These neurotransmitters play a vital role in the function of the brain and are implicated in mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
The window of opportunity for these unique measurements occurs during awake brain surgery where an ultra-thin wire, a Deep Brain Stimulating (DBS) electrode, is implanted into a patient’s brain for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. By following the surgical path already created for the DBS electrode, Dan Bang’s neurosurgical colleagues at AUH will be able to temporarily insert another ultra-thin wire connected to advanced voltammetry equipment.
Patients who volunteer to take part in Dan Bang’s research will play simple computer games while sub-second changes in their dopamine and serotonin levels are monitored. The games are designed to reveal why these two neurotransmitters are crucial for healthy mental function.