About me

Dr. Marie Carlén is a Professor and group leader at the Department of Neuroscience.

Marie received her Ph.D. in medicine from Karolinska Institutet in 2005. Her doctoral studies were conducted in the laboratory of Professor Jonas Frisén and focused on stem cells and neurogenesis in the adult brain and spinal cord. Marie went to Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), Boston, for postdoc studies in the laboratory of Professor Li-Huei Tsai at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. During her postdoc, Marie investigated how the activity of inhibitory interneurons expressing parvalbumin (PV) relates to cortical oscillatory activities and cognitive functions. 

In 2010 Marie was recruited back to Karolinska Institutet, and her laboratory is investigating cellular and circuit underpinning of cognition, with a focus on the prefrontal cortex.

Research description

The anterior part of the frontal lobe in primates and rodents is referred to as the prefrontal cortex. Information processing in the PFC is considered to be central to our cognitive abilities, and to enable flexible behavior. Accordingly, disturbed PFC functioning has been connected to most, if not all, mental disorders, including drug addiction. Needless to say, deciphering of the PFC is of great importance to both understanding of the brain, and to medicine. However, the PFC still lacks a conclusive definition, and the structure and function of this brain region across species remains unresolved (Carlén M. Science 2017). 

Present-day preclinical researchers increasingly utilize mice (Mus musculus) as model animals. However, clinical transfer of pre-clinically identified therapeutics targeting mental disorders (and other brain disorders) has been largely unsuccessful. Knowledge gaps regarding how the brain is built and functions contribute to the failures. Further, lack of comprehension of dissociations between species hampers the understanding of which findings are transferable from model animals to humans. Using high-density electrophysiological recordings, calcium imaging, and optogenetics in transgenic mice and rats we are in the lab characterizing cognitive processing across the subregions of the prefrontal cortex, with the goal to reveal how the prefrontal cortex enables cognition and purposeful behavior. A long-term goal is to establish defining functional features of the mammalian prefrontal cortex, which will enable evaluation of homologies between different species, and help clarify what makes the human prefrontal cortex unique.

For more information about our research, please turn to https://ki.se/en/neuro/carlenlab-research-focus

Most recent publications

Esr1+ hypothalamic-habenula neurons shape aversive states.

Calvigioni D, Fuzik J, Le Merre P, Slashcheva M, Jung F, Ortiz C, Lentini A, Csillag V, Graziano M, Nikolakopoulou I, Weglage M, Lazaridis I, Kim H, Lenzi I, Park H, Reinius B, Carlén M / Meletis K

(2023) Nature Neuroscience. Jul;26(7):1245-1255

Robust derivation of transplantable dopamine neurons from human pluripotent stem cells by timed reinoic acid delivery
Alekseenko Z, Dias JM, Adler AF, Kozhevnikova M, van Lunteren JA, Nolbrant S, Jeggari A, Vasylovska S, Yoshitake T, Kehr J, Carlén M, Alexyenko A, Parmar M, Ericson J.
(2022), Nature Communications, 13:3046, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30777-8

Spatial transcriptomics: molecular maps of the Mammalian BrainReview
Ortiz C, Carlén M, Meletis K.
(2021). Annual Reviews Neuroscience. Jul 8;44:547-562

The mouse prefrontal cortex: unity in diversityPerspective
Le Merre P*/Ährlund-Richter S*, Carlén M.
(2021) Neuron. Jun 16;109(12):1925-1944

Adult trkB Signaling in Parvalbumin Interneurons is Essential to Prefrontal Network Dynamics
Guyon N, Rakauskas Zacharias L, van Lunteren JA, Immenschuh J, Fuzik J, Märtin A, Xuan Y, Zilberter M, Kim H, Meletis K, Lopes-Aguiar C, Carlén M.
(2021) Journal of Neuroscience. Apr 7;41(14):3120-3141

Network asynchrony underlying increased broadband gamma power
Guyon N, Rakauskas Zacharias L, Rermino de Oliveira E, Kim H, Pereria Leite J, Lopes-Aguiar C*/Carlén M*
(2021) Journal of Neuroscience. Mar 31;41(13):2944-2963

Neuronal oscillations and the mouse prefrontal cortex. Book chapter
Jung F, Carlén M.
(2021) International Review of Neurobiology. 158:337-372. ISSN 0074-7742. Elsevier Inc. 

A latent lineage potential in resident neural stem cells enables spinal cord repair.
Llorens-Bobadilla E, Chell JM, Le Merre P, Wu Y, Zomboni M, Bergenstråhle J, Stenudd M, Sopova E, Lundeberg J, Shupliakov O, Carlén M, Frisén J
(2020) Science. 2020 Oct 2;370(6512):eabb8795

The DMCdrive: practical 3D-printable micro-drive system for reliable chronic multitetrode recording and optogenetic application in freely behaving rodents.
Kim H*/Brünner H*, Carlén M.
(2020) Scientific Reports. Jul 16;10(1):11838

For full publication list, turn to https://ki.se/en/neuro/carlenlab-publications


Academic honours, awards and prizes

Wallenberg Scholar 2019

Wallenberg Academy Fellow prolongation 2017

European Research Council Starting Grant 2013 (LS5)

Wallenberg Academy Fellow in Medicine 2012

Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine 2012

2012 Freedman Prize Honorable Mention for Outstanding Research in Basic Brain and Behavior Science. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (former NARSAD)

Sven och Ebba-Christina Hagbergs Prize 2010

NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2010

NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2008

PIIF: Picower Institute Innovation Fund 2007 (MIT; Cambridge, USA)

Keystone Symposium on Stem Cells. 2006 Scholarship 

Award of Excellence: The Alzheimer’s Association Route28 Summits in Neurobiology 2001