Meet Jane Hvarregaard Christensen

Portrait of Jane Hvarregaard Christensen
Photo: Aarhus University

“Although bedwetting is a disorder that millions of children and even some adults face every night, we have no clear clues what the underlying causes are.”

Mapping brain disrupting risk genes

Understanding the molecular processes ensuring that our brain is fit and healthy. This is the overarching aim for associate professor Jane Hvarregaard Christensen, born 1969, who is a researcher in the field of risk genes in brain disease.

In her opinion these genes are the keys to understanding what brain cells need to work properly so that they support the development and overall function of the brain. For example Jane Hvarregaard Christensen has studied the complex systems that come into effect when the expression of the schizophrenia associated BRD1 gene is reduced in mice. Currently she focuses on identifying risk genes for bedwetting - in peer language called nocturnal enuresis.

“Although bedwetting is a disorder that millions of children and even some adults face every night, we have no clear clues what the underlying causes are,” Jane Hvarregaard Christensen says. Bedwetting is a difficult-to-treat condition that often has a serious detrimental effect on the child’s self-esteem and daytime functioning.

“If we are able to discover the genes increasing the risk of bedwetting, we can better understand the molecular determinants in the brain that ensure development of a proper circadian regulation of urine production, bladder activity and sleep. It would be fantastic if, in the future, my research could relieve some of the shame and taboo associated with bedwetting and maybe point to new targets for treatment,” she says.

Jane Hvarregaard Christensen was originally trained as a biologist. With a PhD in medicine and further training in genetics, she realized that the patients and their disease associated genes are instrumental for us to expand our understanding of the biology of health and disease.

Last but not least Jane Hvarregaard Christensen mentions her affiliation to iPSYCH, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, which offers her the possibility to work with a wealth of unique data. Although being focused on data, specialised molecules and complex systems, Jane Hvarregaard Christensen never forgets the needs of the patients.

 “I have a close collaboration with clinicians and strive to bear in mind that what I do in research should always aim to benefit the patients,” she says.

Read more at research centre Dandrite, where Jane Hvarregaard Christensen is also an affiliated researcher.

Portrait of Jane Hvarregaard Christensen
Photo: Aarhus University

“Although bedwetting is a disorder that millions of children and even some adults face every night, we have no clear clues what the underlying causes are.”