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Basal Ganglia Pathophysiology

Our research

The brain´s basal ganglia elaborate information from multiple sources to shape and select our movements and thoughts. These functions are heavily dependent on signals that originate from dopamine cells in the midbrain. Dopamine cells degenerate in Parkinson´s disease (PD) giving rise to typical motor and non-motor deficits. With our research, we pursue pathophysiological mechanisms and novel treatment options for PD and basal ganglia disorders. To this end, we develop animal models that replicate specific disease features and study them using a vast range of methodologies. Our experimental investigations give us an opportunity to discover new concepts, therapeutic targets, and biomarkers that we then seek to translate to the human disease in collaboration with clinical teams. We also compare the action of both existing and emerging PD therapies with the purpose of understanding how they affect brain cells and circuits in both “wanted” and “unwanted” ways.


  • To improve our capacity to detect and define hypokinetic, hyperkinetic, and dystonic movement disorders in both animals and humans using novel algorithms and machine learning. 
  • To unravel the effects of dopamine depletion and dopamine replacement therapy on the activity and function of different brain regions, neuronal circuits, and cell types.
  • To identify and preclinically evaluate different treatment options aimed at (i) improving difficult symptoms, (ii) reducing complications of current therapies, (iii) slowing down the progression of PD.


We generate new knowledge about the effects of specific disease processes and therapeutic interventions on brain function and plasticity. Moreover, we develop and evaluate new treatment options for PD and other basal ganglia disorders. In addition, we devise biomarkers that can report the actual activity of these treatments in the brains.

How our research contributes to the goals of MultiPark

Through our work, we contribute to the goals of MultiPark on investigating disease mechanisms, plasticity, and repair as well as creating new animal models that better reflect human disease. Further, our projects may lead to new therapeutic approaches for prevention and disease modification, and management of unmet medical needs. Our research addresses the aims of MultiPark's working groups 1 and 4. 

Research Team & Publications

Read about publications and research team members of the Basal ganglia pathophysiology research group in the LU Research Portal. 


Read about the discovery that both accelerator and brake are required for normal movement.

Read the article in the Medical News Today about the balance between the two different pathways controlling the movement.

Read about the discovery that New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson’s disease.

Read the article in Science Daily about New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease.

Profile photo of Angela Cenci Nilsson.

Angela Cenci Nilsson

Professor of Experimental Medical Research,

Multipark SRA, Coordinator

angela [dot] cenci_nilsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (angela[dot]cenci_nilsson[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Link to Angela Cenci Nilsson's profile in the LU Research Portal


Twitter: @CenciNilsson