The Lundgaard Lab was founded in 2017 by a starting grant from the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation and is part of the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM) at Lund University Sweeden.
The research at Lundgaard Lab revolves around the Glymphatic System which due to its relatively recent discovery, holds great potential for new and groundbreaking discoveries in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.
Lund University was founded in 1666 and it is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has around 44 000 students and a staff of more than 8000 spread across Lund, Helsingborg, and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.
The Department for Experimental Medicine counts 60 independent research groups and excellent core facilities, and it continues to grow, making it is a modern and vibrant place to both work and study.
Iben is a non-obligate vegetarian (Christmas roast and paté excluded), from Svendborg, Denmark. She likes cats, studying brains and learning about medical research. Her favorite TV show is ‘The Bridge’. Likes asking Swedes whether the town Lund was founded by the Danes, pretending to not already know the answer. Her dream is to cure Alzheimer’s disease by targeting the glymphatic system. The name Iben is derived from the word ‘ibenholt’ which means ebony in Danish.
Principal investigator Iben Lundgaard has, during her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, obtained experience from aging lab, Suresh Rattan, Na/K ATPase in Nobel laureate Jens Christian Skou’s lab at University of Aarhus and apoptosis and calcium binding proteins in Martin Berchtold’s lab at University of Copenhagen. After a short internship in electrophysiology at University of Copenhagen, Iben started her PhD in the UK.
Iben Lundgaard did a PhD in neuroscience with Ragnhildur Thora Karadottir and Robin Franklin at University of Cambridge, UK, 2008-2012. The main findings of her PhD thesis were that growth factors neuregulin and BDNF interact with neuronal activity to control myelination and that remyelination after injury is dependent on glutamate receptors.
Dr. Lundgaard worked with Maiken Nedergaard at University of Rochester where the glymphatic system was discovered. During her time in the Nedergaard lab Dr. Lundgaard gained detailed knowledge on the glymphatic system, see for example the study on delivery of glucose from the CSF to the brain parenchyma via the glymphatic system. After 2 years, Dr. Lundgaard was promoted to assistant professor and stayed for another two and a half years to continue glymphatic research in multiple disease models. A number of projects from the Rochester lab are still on-going and will be continued in the new lab at Lund University.
Marta is from Spain and prior to her arrival at Lund, she served as a research assistant in labs all over the world, including Australia, Malta, and France. Marta holds a BSc in Biotechnology and MSc in Neuroscience and is interested in neuroinflammation as well as imaging & visualization techniques. Marta specializes in neuroinflammatory diseases with a focus on the glymphatic system but sometimes also draws beautiful illustrations for our scientific publications. Marta is a member of the Medical Doctoral Student Council, where she serves as the representative of the council in the Lund Doctoral Student Union, which represents all PhD students at the university. Marta is learning Swedish and some computer programming on the side. In her free time, she also enjoys training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Interestingly, Ramos means ‘branches of the perivascular tree’ in Spanish.
Nicholas Bèchet, PhD student. Nic is from South Africa but also spent a few years in the Netherlands before moving to Sweden. He has a BSc in Medicine and MSc in Neuroscience and currently works on light sheet imaging of the glymphatic system, in both rodent and pig brains. Nic enjoys cooking as well as spending time on physical health and is passionate about his African heritage. Nics goal here in Lund is to develop new techniques and model systems to better understand fundamental glymphatic physiology and translate this knowledge from animals to humans. Fun fact: Nic is a 3rd generation South African but has a diverse family heritage including Irish, Welsh, English, Scottish, Danish and Mauritian ancestors. Nics favorite pastime is hanging out in tattoo parlors.
Tekla Kylkilahti, MD-PhD student. (1st year) Tekla hails from Finland, so winter in Lund feels like a summer holiday to her! Tekla has a BSc in Anatomy and Developmental Biology from King’s College London and a MSc in Molecular Biology from Lund University. Her favourite pastime is shocking people with her transparent optically cleared mice and scanning her friends with the 7 Tesla MRI. When Tekla isn’t studying CSF flow or attending med school classes, you’ll probably find her playing tennis, dancing ballet or knitting a cosy sweater.
Nagesh Shanbhag, MD-PhD. A native of India, Nagesh completed his basic medical training in Goa, India before embarking on an international career. He has a MSc in Experimental & Clinical Neurosciences from University of Regensburg, Germany and a PhD in neurosciences from University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Nagesh also has postdoctoral experience from Uniformed Services University, part of the US federal government and is now developing new methods to study glymphatic function and manipulations of the system for translational relevance. Besides research in the lab, Nagesh is also an avid painter who made the cover of World Neurosurgery journal (Vol. 116, 2018). Nagesh is also the lab’s prankster, and when he has a spare moment he likes to set up pranks or give the PI heart attacks by saying that grants have not been submitted when in fact they have.
Roberta Battistella, PhD student (3rd year). Roberta was the first to join the lab. She is from a sunny coastal town in Italy not so dissimilar to Lund. She is interested in how the glymphatic system is affected in Parkinson’s disease. Roberta likes espresso and is a master of stereotaxic injections. In her free time, she likes to grow plants from seeds and keep them alive in the challenging Swedish climate. You can make Roberta’s ears bleed if you talk about putting pineapple on the pizza.
Marios Kritsilis, MD. Marios is a medical doctor from Athens, Greece. His passion for neurosciences brought him to the North to study the complex physiological mechanisms underlying the glymphatic system. He enjoys hiking and watching Swedish cinema, although he secretly misses the warm greek weather.
Sam Madjidian, M.Sc. Sam is the only full time Swedish-born lab member and handles all the translations from English to Swedish for the lab. Sam is the research administrator for the group and Iben’s Swedish-conversation partner. Sam also speaks Greek and Farsi (and Portuguese/Spanish) and enjoys working and practicing with his language skills. He shares an office with Nagesh Shanbhag and has recently been recruited to Shanbhag’s School for Gifted Pranksters, an opportunity of a lifetime. His last name Madjidian might actually be Magician misspelled on his birth certificate. No one knows, it is all a mystery!
Chenchen Liu, MD-PhD. Chenchen is from, China, and moved to Sweden with his family to train in the glymphatic system. Chenchen likes steaks and green tea and playing football with his daughter. Each of the Chen’s in Chenchen’s name mean different things. The first means morning and the last means dragon.
Max Wictor, MD student. Max is from Sweden and worked at a pharmacy before starting medical school. Max helps assist with the 7 Tesla MRI and he has just started to discover the world of the glymphatic system. When Max isn’t googling all the new English words and concepts, he likes to play the electric bass in a band or play around with some nice chords on the piano.