Simon Cervenka's research group
Molecular brain imaging and psychosis research
The main objective of the research group is to understand the biology of psychosis, to enable new diagnostic tools and treatment approaches. A key methodological platform is positron emission tomography (PET), which enables quantification of biochemical markers in brain in vivo. Using this methodology, we map markers of glial cell activation, brain neurotransmission and synaptic density in patients with early stage schizophrenia. Ongoing PET projects also include evaluating new immune markers in animal models of psychosis, in collaboration with preclinical research groups.
The main clinical basis of the projects is Karolinska Schizophrenia Project (KaSP), which is a collaboration between four different psychiatric clinics in Stockholm: Psykiatri Nordväst, Norra Stockholms Psykiatri, PRIMA Vuxenpsykiatri and Södra Stockholms Psykiatri, as well as several research groups at KI from the department of clinical neuroscience and the department of physiology and pharmacology. Simon Cervenka is the principal investigator for the clinical data collection in KaSP. All patients perform clinical characterisation including cognitive testing, and investigations include lumbar punction as well as structural and functional MR examinations, and blood is sampled for proteomics, transcriptomics and genetic analyses.
The group is also involved in collaborative studies assessing immune activation in disorders with peripheral immune aberrations, as well as studies aiming to map the biological basis of personality and cognitive function in the normal brain.
Methodological work in the group includes evaluating and implementing new methods for PET data quantification to increase precision and sensitivity, as well as applying new statistical approaches to improve robustness of inferences. One overarching goal is to strive for increased replicability of our results. This work is performed in close collaboration with other research group within the PET centre at KI. We are also part of collaborative work for pooling data with other centres to increase statistical power.
The research in Simon Cervenkas group is supported by Vetenskapsrådet, Stockholms Läns Landsting (ALF-medel), Hjärnfonden, KI (KID-medel), stiftelsen Söderström-Königska sjukhemmet.
|Simon Cervenka||Forskargruppsledare, Lektor/överläkare|
|Pontus Plaven Sigray||Postdoc|