Faculty of Medicine | Lund University


BAGADILICO – Excellence in Parkinson and Huntington Research

Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease are caused by the death of nerve cells in the part of the brain called basal ganglia.

Our goal is to develop and improve treatments for the diseases and to improve quality of life for patients and their families.


Important pieces of the puzzle to understand what drives diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are still missing today. One crucial obstacle for researchers is that it is impossible to examine a living brain cell in someone who is affected by the disease. With the help of a new method for cell conversion, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a way to produce diseased, aging brain cells on a large scale in a cell culture dish.

niklas marklund foto olle dahlbaeck
Niklas Marklund, Foto: Olle Dahlbäck

Harvard University, September 1990. A guest student from Sweden’s northernmost regions takes place in the auditorium for one of his first lectures. The youngster from Västerbotten stood out from his fellow students hailing from the different corners of the United States. A curiosity for American culture had led him to ask his mentor, professor of anaesthesiology at Umeå University Hospital, to see if it was at all possible to get into the Ivy League University. Very soon Niklas Marklund would regret that he had made the long trip across the Atlantic. If only for a while. 

On April 11, Lund University celebrated the World Parkinon's Day, in collaboration with the Parkinson Skåne patient organization. Nearly 500 people had gathered at the Scandic Star Hotel in Lund to listen to talks, exchange experiences and get a chance to discuss directly with the researchers. The theme of the day was 'Everyday Life with Parkinson's.' The subjects raised were close to the patient experience and ranged from walking difficulties and difficulty swallowing to drops in blood pressure and disturbances in thinking ability.

A couple of decades ago, researchers proved that new brain cells are formed in the adult brain. Since the discovery scientists have tried to understand what roles those newborn brain cells play. One thing we know for sure, that the production of new neurons is slowed down in several brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. A new study from Lund University now shows that autophagy - the cell's ability to convert wasted protein fragments to energy - plays an important role in the newly formed brain cells to journey to their final destination.

In 2017 the European Research Council (ERC) marks its 10th anniversary. The main goal of the ERC is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe and to support investigator-driven frontier research through competitive funding on the basis of scientific excellence. Meet BAGADILICO's researchers who have received prestigious ERC grants.

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