Birger Brodin Larsen

Birger Brodin Larsen


Primary fields of research

The research group examines how cell membrane transport proteins can affect how drugs enter the brain , and the various organs of the body. This knowledge is used to make new drug constructs for efficient brain delivery.


Birger Brodin focuses on drugs permeation of the  the blood-brain barrier. The brain's blood vessels (the blood-brain barrier) are almost impermeable to most substances. The reason why these blood vessels are so impermeable is partly that they are glued tightly together with special proteins, the so-called "tight junctions". But another reason is that the blood-brain barrier is packed with transport proteins which, under the consumption of energy,  recognizes xenobiotic compounds entering the cells, and immediately pumps them out again. This applies also, unfortunately, to drug compounds and it is therefore a huge challenge to design drugs that can permeate the blood-brain barrier and gain access to the brain.

The research group is working with cell culture modes of the blood-brain barrier. We isolate living endothelial  cells brom calf brain endothelium and astrocytes from rat brains. The research group has succeeded in preparing some of the closest tightest blood brain barrier cell culture models which has been reported in the scientific literature. These lab-grown artificial blood brain barriers are used to examine whether drugs can penetrate the blood brain barrier, and if not, what the reason for the lack of permeation is. The research group is also exploring the expression and transport capacities of transport proteins present in the blood-brain barrier, with the aim of designing drug compounds which can be taken up from the blood and transported to the brain utilizing the transport proteins.

The resarch group collaborates with a number of University research groups in Denmark and abroad, as well as with research groups at the Danish biomedical companies H. Lundbeck A/S and NovoNordic A/S. We have a close collaboration with the company Bioneer A/S, with two employes embedded in our research group. The group is a part of the Danish research network Lundbeck Foundation Research Initiative on Brain Barriers and Drug Delivery (RIBDD) and the European network IM2PACT, under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

The resarch group has received funding from the Carlsberg Foundation, the Novonordisk Foundation, The Lundbeck Foundation, The Danish Strategic Reseach Council, The Oticon Foundation, Horizon 2020, amongst others.

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