Merete Nordentoft group

at Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark

Aim: Our aim is to identify possibilities for prevention and treatment of severe mental illnesses. We follow this aim by studying the influence of genetic and environmental factors in schizophrenia, affective disorders and different sub phenotypes such as comorbid substance abuse, variation in course and outcome, and suicidal behaviour.

Structure and interests: The Research Unit consists of 60 researchers, 20 of the staff members are employed in clinical intervention studies and more than 30 are working with epidemiological research. 2 postdocs, 7 PhD students, 3 psychiatric nurses and 4 research assistants are employed in the Danish High Risk and Resilience Study VIA7, and VIA 11. The unit is subdivided into six research programmes, each lead by a senior researcher: 


Randomized clinical trials for patients with psychosis and epidemiological studies of course and outcome.


  • OPUS I and OPUS I: specialized assertive intervention in first episode psychosis
  • FOCUS: social and neurocognitive intervention in patients at high risk for developing psychosis
  • CHANGE: life style intervention and care coordination in patients with schizophrenia with increased waist circumference
  • TAILOR: systematic dose reduction of antipsychotic medication in patients with remission of first episode psychosis

The programme is led by Carsten Hjorthøj.

The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study: VIA7 and VIA11

Insight into disease processes and early detection is essential if we want to improve the prevention and treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Our studies will contribute to the current knowledge about early development, and early signs of severe mental illness among children with familial high risk and also children in general. Innovative elements are structural and functional MR-scanning of all children before puberty, monitoring of sleep disturbances and physical activity, and sensitive measurements of aberrant salience.

The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study - VIA7 is a representative nationwide cohort study of 522 seven-year-old children of parents with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or neither of these disorders. The children and their parents were thoroughly examined, when the children were seven years old. We will now reassess all the children at age 11 and their families.

The studies are made in close collaboration with the Research Department P at Aarhus University Hospital Risskov & Aarhus University, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Centre Copenhagen.

This programme is led by Anne Thorup.


Center for Neuroinflammation in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders. Inflammatory processes associated with infections and autoimmune mechanisms play a causal role in a substantial number of individuals who are currently diagnosed with schizophrenia or affective disorders. Subgroups of individuals with schizophrenia or affective disorders have immune alterations associated with the disease that can be targeted or prevented by immune modulating interventions. The unique Danish data sources enable us to investigate the association between infections and immune activation during pregnancy and later in life with the subsequent development of schizophrenia and affective disorders.

The programme is led by Michael Eriksen Benros.

Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention


  • AID: Assertive intervention after deliberate self-harm
  • SOS: online help for suicidal thoughts
  • My Plan: testing and electronic version of a crisis plan

Moreover, we have register-based research investigating the influence of genetic and environmental factors on suicidal behaviour

The programme is led by Annette Erlangsen.

Rehabilitation and recovery


  • IMR: Individual Management and Recovery
    • 1) IPS: Individual placement and support for patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and
    • 2) SHERPA: Modified Individual placement and support for patients with depression
  • Collabri: shared care model in general practice
  • IBBIS: Cognitive behavioural therapy and individual placement and support for patients with anxiety and depression on sick leave

The programme is led by Lene Faldgaard Eplov.

Register-based epidemiological studies.

Studies of course and outcome of schizophrenia, Studies of genetic and environmental influence on cognitive functions.

The programme is led by Holger Jelling Sørensen.

Expertise: Our main fields of expertise are randomized clinical trials, clinical phenotyping, psychopathology, and epidemiology. We are recognized as one of the leading research groups in psychosocial interventions in psychotic disorders. We have been awarded with the Golden Scalpel and Global Excellence in Health.

Publications: Our unit has received a large number of grants from public and private research funds. We collaborate with many different national and international researchers, and our research results have been published in high impact peer reviewed journals such as JAMA, Lancet, Biological Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, JAMA Psychiatry, Lancet Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, and Schizophrenia Research. 

Professor Merete Nordentoft is head of the research unit.

Professor Merete Nordentoft. Photo: Jon Norddahl
Professor Merete Nordentoft. Photo: Jon Norddahl