Research Assistant: Mapping Protein Distribution in the BrainSemester Course

Major Discipline(s)
Biology, Biomedicine / Biotechnology
Elective Course
Fall semester

The Human Protein Atlas aims to visualize protein expression and protein distribution in all major organs and tissues of the human body. The laboratory of Jan Mulder at the Karolinska Institute is responsible for the brain section of the Human Protein Atlas, providing data on protein expression in various regions of the brain of different mammalian species. By using transcriptomics and antibody-based approaches to visualize protein location and transcriptomics approaches to detect protein expression, this research group aims to solve some of the biological mysteries related to (human) brain functions and brain diseases.

We offer a project with a focus on neurobiology linking genes to cells, cellular processes, and brain (patho)physiology.

Neurobiology projects:

  • Understanding biological aspects of normal mammalian brain physiology
  • Understanding molecular aspects of pathophysiology of brain diseases
  • Identifying species differences between humans and other mammalian species.

As a research assistant on this project, you will create a project theme based on a brain area, cell type, protein family, brain disease or species difference. You will explore publicly available data from the human protein atlas and other data sources to collect data and create a shortlist of 5-10 proteins to study in more detail. Depending on your selected theme, you will use immunofluorescence techniques to visualize each selected protein in human (healthy or disease) or animal tissue and select your favorite protein. In the remaining project time, you will design multiplex immunofluorescence experiments that will reveal 1) what cells express your protein of interest, 2) in what cellular compartment your protein of interest is located and 3) create a hypothesis on the role of your protein of interest in biology or pathology.

Your principle mentor will be Jan Mulder, but you are also partnered with other researchers in the lab based on the selected research theme.


Research Assistantship Hours: You will spend 180 hours directly engaged in research, together with an additional 5 hours in professional workshops and co-curricular activities, during your RAship.   


Select Mentor Publications:

Gilvesy A; Husen E; Magloczky Z; Mihaly O; Hortobágyi T; Kanatani S; Heinsen H; Renier N; Hökfelt T; Mulder J; Uhlen M; Kovacs GG; Adori C. (2022) Spatiotemporal characterization of cellular tau pathology in the human locus coeruleus-pericoerulear complex by three-dimensional imaging. Acta neuropathologica. 2022 Oct 144(4):651-676.

Sjöstedt, E., Zhong, W., Fagerberg, L., Karlsson, M., Mitsios, N., Adori, C., Oksvold, P.,Edfors, F., Limiszewska, A., Hikmet, F., Huang, J., Du, Y., Lin, L., Dong, Z., Yang, L., Liu, X., Jiang, H., Xu, X., Wang, J., … Mulder, J. (2020). An atlas of the protein-coding genes in the human, pig, and Mouse Brain. Science, 367 (6482)

Related Discipline(s)

This course would also be of interest to the following discipline(s):
Computer Science, Engineering, Pre-Medicine / Health Science


Nicholas Mitsios

DIS Stockholm Semester Faculty

BSc in Molecular Biology (Liverpool, 1998) and PhD in Molecular Biology of Ischemic Stroke (Manchester, 2005). Currently a researcher at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute and the Brain Profiling sub-unit of the Human Protein Atlas (HPA) project since 2011. Research focuses on the central nervous systems of mammals, with an emphasis on the identification of proteins involved in brain normal development and pathophysiology. With DIS since 2020.

Emma Gerrits

DIS Stockholm Semester Faculty

Bachelor of Science, Life Science and Technology, University of Groningen, 2016 Master of Science, Biology, University of Groningen, 2018 Ph.D., Molecular Neurobiology and Bioinformatics, University of Groningen, 2022 Ph.D. student, University Medical Center Groningen, 2018-2022 Postdoctoral researcher, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-present. With DIS since 2023

Jan Mulder

DIS Stockholm Semester Faculty

PhD in molecular neurobiology (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2005), MSc in biology (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2000).  Senior researcher and group leader at Science for Life laboratory, department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute since 2010. Group leader of the brain profiling efforts within the Human Protein Atlas project since 2010. Research in identifying the cellular location of proteins linked to brain function and disease. With DIS since 2017.