Steering Group

Merete Nordentoft

Head of Programme.
Leader of the research unit at Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen University Hospital.

Tel: +45 3531 6239

Research Areas

Early intervention and improved treatment
Professor Merete Nordentoft is director of the research unit at Mental Health Center Copenhagen, Copenhagen University Hospital. The unit includes a large group of PhD-students and post docs.

Randomized clinical trials investigating the effect of psychosocial interventions
We have carried out a series of randomized clinical trials, the most well known being the OPUS-trial examining the effect of assertive specialized early intervention compared to standard treatment for 547 patients with first episode psychosis.

In the OPUS trial, we showed that OPUS treatment can have a positive effect on psychotic and negative symptoms, and substance abuse, user satisfaction, adherence to treatment and use of bed days. In the ongoing OPUS II-trial we are investigating the effect of two years versus five years specialised, assertive intervention in first episode psychosis, and we have recruited 397 patients in the trial.

Other completed trials in our unit are the CAPOPUS-trial testing the effect of specialised treatment in patients with cannabis abuse and psychosis, the NEUROCOM-trial testing the effect on cognitive function of cognitive training in first episode psychosis, the DEMO I and II-trials testing the effect on depressive symptoms of physical exercise, and the AID-trial investigating the effect on repetition of suicidal behaviour of assertive follow-up of patients with suicide attempt.

New trials are the DIAS-trial investigating the effect of Dialectic Behavioural Therapy versus supportive psychotherapy in the framework of Collaborative Assessment and Monitoring of Suicidal behavior, the INCLUSION-trial testing the effect of individual placement and support in patients with anxiety, unipolar depression and severe mental disorder and the CHANGE-trial investigating possibilities for improving life style factors and physical health status in patients with severe mental disorder and increased waist circumference.

Aetiology and pathogenesis
One of our most important activities is to participate in the iPSYCH-consortium. The consortium will exploit the unique Danish opportunities to study genetic and environmental factors playing a role in aetiology and pathogenesis of mental disorders. The overall aim of the consortium is to identify novel aetiologies and disease mechanisms in severe psychiatric disorders.

Our research unit will contribute with a wealth of clinical data, which will allow detailed analyses of genetic and environmental predictors of good and poor clinical and social outcome, cognitive functioning and treatment non-response. Moreover, we will take up the proud tradition from the Copenhagen High Risk Studies and initiate a cohort of seven year old children, offspring of parents with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy controls.

The aim of Copenhagen High Risk Study II is to identify new and targetable biological and clinical markers of early risk of psychosis.

Epidemiological research of unwanted outcome
We have studied consequences of mental disorders here among suicide and mortality from diseases and medical conditions. This work has been carried out in close collaboration with National Centre for Register-based Research at University of Aarhus and part of the work was carried out in a framework of the Nordic collaboration: Saving Lives in Nordic Countries. The topics are:

• Mental illness and risk of suicide. We have investigated risk factors and possibilities for prevention of suicide and suicide attempts under admission and shortly after discharge.
• Mortality and life expectancy in people with different mental disorders.
• Diagnosis and treatment of physical disorders in patients with severe mental illness.
• Use of psychiatric services and mortality among patients in supported psychiatric housing facilities.
• Mortality associated with psychopharmacological treatment with antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

Read Merete Nordentoft's CV.

Birte Yding Glenthøj

Clinical Professor

Tel: +45 3863 4639

Research Areas

Thesis on "The Brain Dopaminergic System: Pharmacological, Behavioural and Electrophysiological Studies".

BG has, among others, developed a preclinical model for schizophrenia, provided preclinical evidence for the meaning of sensitization of the dopaminergic system for development of psychotic symptoms - and clinical evidence for the association of positive psychotic symptoms with D2 receptor activity in frontal cortex in antipsychotic-naïve first-episode schizophrenia patients.

Her group was the first to demonstrate deficits in early information-processing in antipsychotic-naïve first-episode schizophrenia patients and to follow these changes in longitudinal studies (Mackeprang et al. 2002); a line of research that has been pursued in a large number of studies since then.

Recently, her group has also provided evidence for changes in serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in antipsychotic-naïve first-episode schizophrenia patients and for a possible relation between blockade of these receptors and antipsychotic effect in a subgroup of the patients.

Structural MRI data from the same cohort additionally demonstrated a differentiated effect of low and high doses of an antipsychotic compound and structural changes over tile – and an influence of drug abuse on the structural brain changes in antipsychotic-naïve patients.
BG has been promoter, project-leader and supervisor for a large number of preclinical and clinical PhD.-projects and has several publications in international and national journals, books, ect.

Read Birte Yding Glenthøj's CV.

Read about BG's work with the Lundbeck Foundation Center of Excellence for Clinical Intervention and Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research (CINS).

Lars Vedel Kessing

Clinical Professor (life-time appointment)

Tel: +45 3864 7081

Research Areas

Lars Vedel Kessing is chair of the Copenhagen Affective Disorder research Center (CADIC),  Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

The overall scientific objective of the Copenhagen Affective Disorder research Center is to study genetic and environmental risk factors for the onset of affective disorders, the psychopathology, behavior, cognition and biology of affective disorders, the course and long-term outcome of affective disorders and the effect of treatments on affective disorders.

The research centre possesses scientific skills within clinical, epidemiological, register-based, neurobiological, neuropsychological, laboratory, preclinical, translational and brain imaging research in affective disorders.

The Copenhagen Affective Disorder research Center includes four larger research groups, namely, the Bipolar Illness Onset study (the BIO group), the Depression biology group, the Neurocognition and Emotion in Affective Disorders Group (NEAD) and the Non-pharmacological interventions for depression (NID group).
Read Lars Vedel Kessing's CV.

Thomas Werge


Read Thomas Werge's CV.

Elsebeth Stenager

Read Elsebeth Stenager's CV.