The Centre for Cellular Signal Patterns (CellPAT), headed by Professor Jørgen Kjems, addresses fundamental biological questions to identify how cells ‘talk’ to each other and their surroundings. The Danish National Research Foundation funds CellPAT amounting to up to DKK 61 million.
Jørgen Kjems is an experienced research director and one of the leading international profiles in DNA and RNA nanotechnology, with specific research interests in self-assembling DNA systems, intracellular circular RNA and genetic medicine. He has four years of leadership experience as the director of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO) at Aarhus University.
Also participating in the centre are:
The centre has a particular focus on how our immune cells recognise the difference between external dangers and ourselves, and why this mechanism sometimes goes wrong and gives rise to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, sclerosis and diabetes.
The centre also studies the way macromolecules are transported through biological barriers in the body, such as the blood-brain barrier and cell membranes. This knowledge will form the basis for developing more targeted and effective drugs with fewer side effects. In addition, the centre addresses which signals a stem cell needs to receive in order to develop into specific types of tissue in the body. This knowledge will create an opportunity to use stem cells to re-establish tissue in the body when the old cells are destroyed by a poor lifestyle, disease or injury. It is thought that such methods will eventually be used to regenerate human organs.