Katherine Musliner receives DKK 10 million and a Lundbeck Foundation Fellowship

Associate Professor Katherine Musliner from the Department of Clinical Medicine will spend the next five years conducting an extensive study on why comorbidity is particularly pronounced in people suffering from a severe psychiatric diagnosis. The Lundbeck Foundation grants a fellowship of DKK 10 million for this purpose.

Portrait in black and white of Katherine Musliner
Katherine Musliner is one of the five especially talented early-career researchers to receive the 2024 Lundbeck Foundation Fellowship worth a total of DKK 10 million (EUR 1.3). The fellowship grant, which will be disbursed over the next five years, enables Musliner to set up her own research team. Photo: AUH

“Nearly 50 per cent of patients treated at Danish psychiatric hospitals have more than one psychiatric diagnosis. People diagnosed with a severe mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression have a higher risk of early-adulthood onset of physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, hypertensive disorders, and diabetes than the general population,” says Katherine Musliner.

Medical science is unable to fully account for why comorbidity is statistically higher among people with mental illness. The interaction of genetics and environmental factors to account for this have by no means been fully mapped. But that interaction is essentially what Musliner’s research team will be addressing via analyses of large volumes of anonymised data from patients with a number of different mental disorders.

While the causes of mental health disorders like schizophrenia and severe depression are largely unknown, we do know that genetic risk factors play a role. The majority of genetics studies in this field to date have focused on a single psychiatric disorder, but this type of study does not take account of the complex network of comorbidity in the real world of mental illness. With that in mind, we will be taking a different approach by seeking explanations for mental illness comorbidity,” says Katherine Musliner, adding:

“My goal is to conduct a comprehensive study of genetic and environmental factors to account for that comorbidity. In this way I hope that we will be able to shed more light on a number of questions concerning prevention.”


Associate Professor and PhD Katherine Musliner
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital Psychiatry, Department for Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Mail: klm@clin.au.dk

This text is based on press material from the Lundbeck Foundation