Our research is focused on severe mental disorders, including bipolar disorder (BD), schizophrenia (SCZ) and major depression (MDD), with emphasis on neural development and biological underpinnings. In specific we are interested in how disturbances in the development of neural networks lead to manifest psychiatric illness. Family based studies have revealed high heritability in primarily SCZ and BD (up to 80%) and thus genome-wide association studies have resulted in multiple associated SNPs. One of the repeatedly found SNPs lie in the intronic region of the calcium channel gene CACNA1C. We have multiple IPS lines of both healthy controls and BD patients with known variants of this SNP. We are also interested in potential splice variants of CACNA1C and try to find novel variants together with professor Paul Harrison in Oxford and Pantazis group at Linköping University.
We are also planning for harvesting skin cells from SCZ patients. As BD and SCZ show strong similarities with regards to genetics and partially also clinic, we plan to compare IPS derived neurons from SCZ with BD patients. In order to increase the phenotypic precision, we aim at developing new methods for deep phenotyping using clinical data. One potential way of stratifying patients is how they respond to different treatments. For instance lithium responders in BD are thought to constitute a rather homogeneous population. We are running one project in treatment response in MDD using IPS cells. This is in collaboration with professor Johan Lundberg at the Karolinska Institutet, who is PI of a psilocybin study.
IPS cells are differentiated to neurons using both 2D and organoid cultures. We perform both molecular based (RNAseq, CRISPR) and functional assays (calcium imaging, MEA, optogenetics).
Please see publications for more detailed information on previous work.