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FSS Project Type 1 2014-2017

3 Year Grant from The Danish Council for Independent Research | Health and Disease, Lundbeckfonden and Carlsbergfondet

The Serotonergic Synapse

The nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other by the help of transmitter substances. The neurotransmitter serotonin affects widely different proteins in the central nervous system, and helps control our mood, sex drive, appetite and emotional behavior. A large number of pharmaceuticals, used in the treatment of diseases like anxiety, depression, migraine and obesity, have a complicated mechanism of effect and affects many different proteins in the serotonergic system. In this project, we will make use of brand new crystal structures of related proteins to create molecular models for an array of representative proteins in the serotonergic system. With a combination of techniques from molecular biology, pharmacology and computational modeling, we will describe how selected drugs act on a broad selection of the serotonergic proteins. By comparing very selective drugs med multimodal drugs that affect more than one protein, we obtain a deeper understanding of the parameters governing drug selectivity towards the many proteins in the serotonergic system. This will in the long run be pivotal for rational development of multimodal drugs with a tailored selectivity profile that have the potential to show increased effects and fewer side effects compared to current methods of treatment. The project will be carried out as a joint project between experts in molecular modeling at Aarhus University and in chemical biology at Copenhagen University, in collaboration with leading international partners in industry and academia.


  • Salaries: 2 x 1 year postdoc (1 year at AU, 1 year at KU), totalling ~1.1 mio. kr.
  • Operating expenses: 490,000 kr.
  • Overhead: 791,682 kr.
  • Co-financing: 810,392 kr. (AU and KU), ~2.3 mio. kr. covering part of the salary for 2 Ph.D.-students and operating expenses (Lundbeckfonden and Carlsbergfondet) 
  • Of the affiliated employees only Julie Grouleff and Lucy Kate Ladefoged are supported by all three funding agencies.

Affiliated People from AU


Birgit Schiøtt

Professor, Head of Department


Ph.D. Students

Affiliated People from KU


Anders Skov Kristensen
Jacob Andersen
Kristian Strømgaard


Lena Sørensen

Ph.D. students

Lachlan Jake Munro
  • KU profile

Hafsteinn Rannversson
  • KU profile
Pella Cecilia Söderhielm
  • KU profile

Master students

Danyang Wang


H. Lundbeck A/S

Benny Bang-Andersen
Lena Tagmose
Ana Negri

Sydney University

Thomas Balle

University of Erlangen-Murnberg

Peter Gmeiner


  • January 2014: 1. meeting about the project in Copenhagen
  • August 2014: 2. meeting about the project in Aarhus
  • August-October 2014: Anne Laustsen 3 months at Lundbeck A/S
  • September-October 2014: Lucy Ladefoged visiting Thomas Balle at Sydney University
  • September 2014: Lucy, Jacob, Hafsteinn og Julie attending SFB35-meeting in Wien
  • January 2015: 3. meeting about the project in Copenhagen.
  • August 2015: 4. meeting about the project in Aarhus
  • September 2015: Lucy is three weeks in Wien on visit and attending conferences
  • January 2016: 5. meeting about the project in Copenhagen
  • January-June 2016: Lucy Ladefoged on exchange at Oxford Universitet

Event Photos

Second Project Meeting in Aarhus - August 2014


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