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"Identification of BIOmarkers in the human PSYCHiatric brain – focusing on non-coding RNAs and sex differences"

The BioPsych project (2021-2023) aimed to find RNA biomarkers for different psychiatric disorders. The BioPsych team had access to the Danish Brain Collection, and they used the small brain fragments collected from psychiatric patients between 1945-1982 to identify sex-specific RNA biomarkers that can discriminate between disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

After identification of potential biomarkers, the team has initiated in vivo experiments where the biomarkers are radiolabelled and injected into pigs. As a follow-up for the project, the BioPsych team has initiated a new collaboration to investigate, whether the identified biomarkers are also found in saliva and blood, which will make it easier to use the potential biomarkers.

On this page you can can watch a video recorded at the beginning of the BioPsych project. You can also read an article with specific focus on the potential of biomarkers for depression. Lastly, you can find a list of project participants and read a short cartoon introduction to the project.


Academic team members

  • Betina Elfving, Associate Professor, Aarhus University
  • Jørgen Kjems, Professor, Aarhus University
  • Lasse S. Kristensen, Assoc. Professor, Aarhus University
  • Dirk Bender, Head of radiochemistry, Aarhus University Hospital
  • Erik Kaadt, PhD student, Aarhus University
  • Rolf Søkilde, postdoc, Aarhus University

Industrial team member

  • Boye Schnack Nielsen, Bioneer
  • Morten Venø, omiics 

"In the future, biomarkers can hopefully be used for both diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric patients. Of course, the biomarkers cannot stand alone. But they can be an additional tool that can ensure faster and more targeted help for the person suffering from depression.

Now we are eager to further test the potential biomarkers identified in the BioPsych project. We are looking into the possibilities of continuing our work in other projects."


Betina Elfving, Head of the BioPsych project

"It has been a fruitful collaboration with both omiics and Bioneer from day 1 due to the standard agreements in ODIN. 

With Bioneer, a platform for microRNA in situ hybridization has been established and we have demonstrated that archival samples from the Danish Brain Collection can be investigated with this advanced high throughput method."


Betina Elfving, Head of the BioPsych project


We unite right minds from industry and academia so that they can jointly create need-driven research projects - and pave the way for innovative new treatments in the future. Through competitive funding calls, we fund the best projects ideas. Although companies cannot receive funding, it is free of charge to join.

The 5-year platform is sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with 180 M DKK from 2024-2028.


You are always welcome to reach out if you have questions or comments. Reach out to odin@au.dk or find the Secretariat's direct email addresses under contacts.

Although we're spanning five Danish universities, we're based in Aarhus. Our office is located at Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 121, blg 1521-216.