Karin Lykke-Hartmann Lab


Our lab research covers aspects of Reproduction, Development and Neuroscience, where we aim to: (i) dissect transcriptomes during human oogenesis (ii) functionally assess specific gene functions during early mouse preimplantation development and (iii) study two neurological disorders linked to ion pump functions using mouse models.

Research interests

Folliculogenesis: Identification of genes required for maturation of human oocytes. A limitation to our ability to distinguish between developmentally competent and incompetent eggs is our still only partial knowledge of the critical features that are needed to make a good egg and when during oogenesis these specific characteristics are acquired. The quality of the female gamete has an impact on rates of preimplantation, implantation and clinical pregnancy.

Preimplantation development: dentification and analysis of genes required prior to and post fertilization in mouse. Early mouse development is characterized by several consecutive and interconnected events including fertilization, cell cleavage, and blastocyst formation. Successful development of the embryo is very dependent on the inital maternal supply of factors deposited in the egg during oocyte growh to drive cellular responses and initial development. Failure to proceed through preimplantation will arrest development, and hence, will lead to childlessness, a common problem affecting about 15% of the fertilization success rate in humans. Nevertheless, significant gaps remain in our mechanistic understanding of the networks that regulate early mammalian embryogenesis, which provide an impetus and opportunities for future investigations.

Ion pump deficiency: A functional Na+/K+-ATPase consists of a catalytic α subunit and a regulatory β subunit. Four α isoforms of the Na+/K+-ATPase are found in mammals, each with a unique expression pattern and catalytic activity.

Gene-modified mouse models targeting the Atp1a2 or the Atp1a3 genes have proved instrumental in the understanding of the pathology associated with relevant neuroligical disorders.

We employ biochemical, behavioral and electrophysiological methods to evaluate parameters linked to the development of the diseases.


  • RNA: purification, amplification, in vitro transcription, quantitative analysis, RT-PCR, qPCR, siRNA.
  • DNA: cloning, purification, PCR.
  • Microscopy: isolation of oocytes and embryonic cells, micromanipulations (mRNA and siRNA microinjections), imaging. Patch clamp/oocytes.
  • HPLC analysis. using electrochemical HPLC for glutamate, DA, serotonin and GABA detections.
  • Protein analysis: Western blotting, E. coli-based expression systems, antibody purifications.
  • qPCR on single cell and FFPE-embedded samples, using SYBR green and TaqMan® probes

Collaborators and centres

  • Members of PUMPKIN Research of Excellence, Centre for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease
  • Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Professor Poul Nissen, Aarhus University
  • Associate professor Morten Nielsen, Aarhus University
  • Associate professor Simon Glerup, Aarhus University.
  • Dr. Marie Louise Grøndahl, The Fertility Clinic, Herlev Hospital
  • Associate professor Kate Lykke Lambertsen, Southern Danish University, Denmark
  • Associate professor Nanna MacAulay, Univerity of Copenhagen.
  • Professor Erik Ernst, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Professor Jens Randel Nyengaard, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Professor Lone Sunde, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Associate professor Palle Villesen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Associate professor Vladimir Matchkov, Aarhus University
  • Associate professor Mogens Andresen, Aarhus University
  • Associate professor Steen Nedergaard, Aarhus University
  • Associate professor Mai Marie Holm, Aarhus University.
  • Professor Kamran Khodakhah, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Rose F. Kennedy Center, NY, USA
  • Professor David Gadsby, The Rockefeller University, NY, USA
  • Professor Kate Hardy, Imperial College, London, UK
  • Professor Gavin Kelsey, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, Uk.

Research Group Members

The Karin Lykke-Hartmann group
  • Anders Heuck, laboratory Technician
  • Emil Hagen Ernst, MD, PhD student
  • Jacqueline Leite, PhD student, exchange from São Paulo, Brazil
  • Toke Jost Isaksen, Research assistant
  • Line Lawaetz Steffensen, Medical research year student
  • Jens Agger, Medical master student
  • Julie Nielsen, Master candidate student

Group leader

Karin Lykke-Hartmann

Associate professor
H bldg. 1242, 359
P +4587167696
P +4529390558


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