Iben Lundgaard

Iben Lundgaard

Senior Lecturer

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Research

My research has been focused on the role of glia in brain tissue homeostasis and metabolite clearance for the past 9 years. While working at University of Cambridge I discovered how growth factors in combination with neuronal activity control myelination and that remyelination is dependent on neurotransmitter receptors on the pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes. More recently my work has focused on the brain wide glia-lymphatic pathway, also known as the glymphatic system. Briefly, instead of a conventional lymphatic system, the brain uses the perivascular spaces (between blood vessels and astrocytes’ endfeet). In the perivascular spaces cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can exchange solutes with interstitial fluid in order to flush out metabolites and waste products. Interestingly, this pathway is highly active during sleep and shuts down in the wake state. While working with Maiken Nedergaard in Rochester, NY, I applied this model to understand the glymphatic system as a delivery mechanism for small compounds such as glucose from CSF to brain tissue. I also researched this clearance system in relation to neurodegenerative diseases. Due to its function in brain clearance I believe that it is extremely important to gain a deeper understanding of the glymphatic system to develop new drugs or therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

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