The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Human Neural Development

Kirkeby Group

Our research

The human brain is a highly complex structure, consisting of hundreds of different subtypes of neural cells; each of which fulfil a specific function in the brain network. When some of these neurons are lost – such as in neurodegenerative diseases – our brains become malfunctioning. The goal of our research is to develop stem cell-based neural cell therapies to replace lost neurons as a treatment for brain diseases. In particular, we focus as a main project on the development of a pluripotent stem cell product for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

In the Kirkeby lab, we further apply advanced human stem cells models and single cell RNA sequencing to understand how the hundreds of human neural subtypes of cells are formed during embryo development. With this knowledge at hand, we become better at controlling the differentiation of human pluripotent cells to subtype-specific neurons which can be used for disease modelling, drug screening and transplantation, leading to new treatments for several types of brain disorders.


  • To study human brain development using stem cell models
  • To develop novel cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases
  • To enter clinical trial with a stem cell product for treatment of Parkinson's Disease
  • To model complex human brain diseases in the dish using stem cell-derived brain tissue models. 


With our research, we aim to develop novel, lasting therapies for neurodegenerative diseases through replacement of lost neurons in the brain with new neurons generated from stem cells. Such stem cell therapies have the potential to repair the damaged brain, making patients independent of daily medications with severe side effects. 


(name linked to profile in Lund University research portal)

Agnete Kirkeby

Principal Investigator, Agnete [dot] Kirkeby [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Agnete[dot]Kirkeby[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Yuan Li

Assistant Researcher, Yuan [dot] Li [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Yuan[dot]Li[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Andrea Asenjo

Postdoc, Andrea [dot] Asenjo [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Pedro Rifes

Postdoc, Pedro [dot] Rifes [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Arun Thiruvalluvan

Postdoc, Arun [dot] Thiruvalluvan [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Marc Isaksson

PhD student, Marc [dot] Isaksson [at] bme [dot] lth [dot] se (Marc[dot]Isaksson[at]bme[dot]lth[dot]se)

Zehra Abay Nørgaard

PhD student, Zehra [dot] Abay [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Ugne Dubonyte

PhD student, Dubonyte [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Anika Mueller

PhD student, Anika [dot] Mueller [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Alrik Schörling

PhD student, alrik [dot] schorling [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Alrik[dot]Schorling[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Alison Salvador

Project Assistant, Alison [dot] Salvador [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Alison[dot]Salvador[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Amalie Holm

Research Assistant, aholm [at] sund [dot] ku [dot] dk

Viktoriia Nikulina

Assistant researcher,

Agnete Kirkeby

Principal Investigator
PhD, Associate Senior Lecturer
Lund Stem Cell Center
BMC B11, Lund University
221 84 Lund, Sweden

Mail:Agnete [dot] Kirkeby [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Agnete[dot]Kirkeby[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Profile in Lund University research profile

    Current Major Grants

    • Wallenberg Fellow (KAW)
    • Novo Nordisk Foundation, Hallas Møller Emerging Investigator (NNF)
    • EU H2020 Consortium
    • Lundbeckfonden


    • Lund Stem Cell Center
    • StemTherapy
    • Wallenberg Center for Molecular Medicine (WCMM)
    • MultiPark
    • University of Copenhagen, Department of Neuroscience