Author Archives: tlo068

This week`s employee – Simona Chera

What are you working on?

I work as an associate professor at the Center for Diabetes Research, K2. My research is directed at how cell death features govern the type of regenerative strategy employed by a biological system. By coupling classical and newly generated murine models of cell loss with genetic cell tracing, timed conditional gene expression and omics assays (transcriptomics, proteomics, scRNAseq), I study the dynamic molecular fingerprint of pancreatic islet cells decay and regeneration, with focus on self-renewal and global regulators of cell identity maintenance processes. Besides the in vivo approach, I use patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) as disease models coupled with large-scale imaging and omics for studying islet cell fate acquisition and maintenance. We are also developing a 3D culture system to investigate the influence of mechanical forces and adhesion on signaling pathways controlling the pancreatic progenitors’ differentiation potential. Our goal is to enlarge the knowledge base about pancreatic islet biology in order to create a better treatment for diabetes, or preventive measures in the future. My personal goal is to induce at least a certain level of endogenous regeneration of the pancreatic islets as seen in highly regenerative animals (like hydra, salamander or fish). My career started by working on such a successful regenerative system, and during my PhD work at University of Geneva, we described that apoptotic cells resulted upon injury were the source of regenerative signals. During my postdoctoral work (University of Geneva), I started working on pancreatic islet regeneration and showed that the mammalian pancreas also exhibits, at a very low level, an endogenous regenerative capacity. A better understanding of how islet cells are formed during development will also improve future regenerative strategies.

What do you enjoy working with at K2?

I started working here five years ago, which gave me the opportunity to get to know the tools and needs of clinical research. I am part of a very heterogeneous multidisciplinary group of researchers, integrating genomics, molecular and cellular biology, bioinformatics and clinical research. We all study diabetes but different aspects of the disease from the molecular mechanisms to clinical aspects. I like the challenge of learning how to effectively communicate with scientists from different disciplines, and to see the diabetes research from so many other points of view. Being so close to the clinics at K2 also changed my perspective over my own research, especially regarding motivation and impact.

This week`s employee – Anne Hammer Knudsen

I have been employed as a technician at UiB since December 1999, last century! I was employed in the research laboratory at the children’s clinic, with Lage Aksnes as my first boss. Among other things, there was analysis of vitamin A,D,E, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, morbus crohn and Pancreas Elastase 1 in the faeces. And, some method development as well.
Before coming here, I worked in the laboratory at the Vinmonopolet. I took my education at the Statens Næringsmiddeltekniske skole, where I became a Næringsmiddelteknolog. So, I am neither a chemist nor a molecular biologist, but the lab work is much the same, although the quantities are different. At the Vinmonopolet it went in liters, here it goes in microliters.
I am currently employed at the Center for Diabetes Research. I have been here since 2014, when the research lab at the children’s clinic was closed. I have been given new, interesting assignments and had to learn new methods. A bit demanding at times, but very nice to learn new things. I also want to brag about my great colleagues, a joy to work with.
I am also a safety delegate, since 2010, and substitute representative for chief Safety delegate at MED-FAK since 2017. By saying yes to that position, I have become acquainted with new colleagues at all faculties, both at UiB and the rest of the country’s universities. Every fall, the Hovedverneombudskonferansen is organized, which all HVO and their substitute representative can attend. The conference goes on a tour of the universities.
As you may realize, I am doing well here at K2, varied work assignments and great colleagues! Have a nice weekend!

This week`s employee – Monika Ringdal

I completed my education at NTNU in Trondheim in molecular cell biology. I moved to Bergen after my studies and was lucky to get a job in Pål Njølstad’s MODY group in 2016. Today, the organization has changed a bit, but I still belong to the MODY group and am affiliated with the Center for Diabetes Research. MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young) is still an important part of the work.
The group consists of both UIB and hospital employees. The close association with Haukeland University Hospital makes the work extra interesting and meaningful. I feel very lucky to get to work here with incredibly talented and very nice colleagues, which makes it very nice to be at work.

This week`s employee – Andre Sulen

What do you work with?

I am a trained biologist and work as a postdoc at the KG Jebsen Centre for autoimmune disorders and in the group Endocrine Medicine. Through the PhD period here at K2 and a three-year postdoctoral period at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, I have developed a fascination for how our immune cells affect our health. I worked on cell signalling in monocytes during the PhD period, and continued to characterise macrophages and their role in adipose tissue at Karolinska. The field of immunology is currently undergoing major advances due to technological advances, such as CyTOF and single-cell sequencing, that allow the study of large amounts of single-cell data. I have been fortunate to build expertise in these techniques, both in the lab and with data analysis, and I look forward to contributing with this at the K.G. Jebsen centre. We are researching disorders where the immune system attacks endocrine organs so that the hormone balance is perturbed. Certain gene variants are associated with the risk of developing such diseases, but just how the complex interaction between the immune system and these organs goes wrong early in the process is unknown. By combining «single-cell» techniques with clinical material and animal models, we aim to shed light on this.

Why do you want to work at K2.

The K.G. Jebsen centre for autoimmune disorders consists of a fine mix of clinicians and researchers who have a solid track record in immunology and endocrinology. The research ranges from GWAS to more functional studies, and it is a plus that there is a focus on «single-cell» at the centre. When I look back on the PhD period at the institute, it is especially the good working environment that I remember. With previous knowledge of this environment at K2, the choice to come back for me was very easy.

This week`s employee – Anette Susanne Bøe Wolff

What do I work with?
My education is molecular biology, and I completed my PhD degree in 2005. After that, I have had many different roles and projects in research group G1 (Endocrine Medicine). I like it best “in the lab” but, unfortunately, I do not have so much time anymore for that. I still try to do lab tasks myself, especially when introducing and optimizing new methods, and I try to perform some lab task each week. I spend most of my time to supervise master’s, PhD students, and postdocs, and to coordinate and discuss upcoming and ongoing projects and results with my internal colleagues and external partners. Of course, applications, articles, reports, etc. must also be written. A lot of time is spent on zoom meetings, both inside and outside corona time.
My research “in a large perspective” focuses on finding causal mechanisms for endocrine autoimmunity, and to translate this knowledge to improved therapy for patients with these diseases. In more detail, I lead two projects. The aim of the first project is to identify monogenic autoimmune diseases by genome sequencing of families with accumulation of endocrine autoimmunity, and the aims of the second is to “single cell” analyse regulatory T cells in patients with autoimmune diseases to investigate how we can use such cells as targets or tools for therapy. In both projects, collaboration between different professions is required; physicians to recruit patients, molecular biologists to perform laboratory experiments, and bioinformatics and geneticists to help get results out of the “big data” research. After that, collaboration with the biologists again is required to get “meaning out of the results”. These are demanding, but exciting, processes! I learn new things every day!
Techniques we carry out in our lab are standard molecular biology and immunology such as cell culture, PCR, real-time PCR, ELISA, various other immunoassays etc. We collaborate with the core facilities at UiB for flow cytometry, Cytof and RNA sequencing, and with external partners for e.g. genome sequencing and genome wide association (GWAS) experiments.

Why do I like working at K2?
I often think that I am super-lucky who get to work with something that is exciting, and that challenges me every day. K2 is an institution that, both physically and professionally, is close to Haukeland University Hospital. Genes and the immune system have fascinated me since I “knew that they existed”, and being allowed to dig into this because we are so closely linked to the medical department, and that we have access to methodology that are needed, is very awarding. We have many different competences in the research group, and collaboration internally is important both socially and professionally. The doctors in the group often work clinically at the same time. This means that we can find new problems and hypotheses together with them, which we can try to solve in the laboratory, and the path is then short to turn to the patients again with new knowledge. From bed-to bench-and back again. The fact that we have a registry and biobank, that we can utilize as material for research, is a fantastic resource.
K2 and the lab block have very nice laboratory facilities, and the way is short to my internal partners in other research groups (special medical genetics) and the core facilities. The core facilities are truly something we should strive for so that we avoid researchers sitting in each corner with his/her private/own machine and who spend time learning the same advanced techniques.
Working at K2 also gives me the opportunity to supervise students at various levels, something I like very well. It challenges me, and makes me find things I do not know, that I have to learn. That leads to personal and scientific development.
So that is why I like to work here!

This week`s employee – Kristin Moberg Aakre

What you’re working on?
I am a specialist in medical biochemistry and work in a position as chief physician at the Hormone Laboratory at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Pharmacology and as assistant associate professor at K2. This is a good combination, as there are still interesting issues in the senior doctor’s job that I can develop in the field of the investigation. In recent years, my focus has been on heart markers especially. how we can use these for fast, but at the same time safe, diagnostics of acute coronary syndrome. Together with good colleagues, I am responsible for conducting two major clinical trials that investigate this, these are funded by Helse-Bergen, the Cooperation Body in Helse-Vest and trond mohn foundation. I also work with the prognostic value of heart markers. In addition, I am working to determine the biological variation of biomarkers in various national and international collaborative projects.
An example of the synergy effect in the combined position is that the mystified of the work in the laboratory is designed to ensure good quality. The issues often have to be suppressed in the event of larger or smaller attempts and we try to put things up so systematically that we can publish the results afterwards. We can and collect anonymised laboratory data from Haukeland University Hospital, right, to investigate the effect of analysis quality on patient care.
In addition to researching student education for medical biochemistry and is a legal tenant for phire PhD student and a research line student.

What do you like to work with at k2?
I really like working at K2 because through research I get a lot of ability to develop myself professionally. I feel like I’m learning enough new and having something to reach for, it gives me energy. The investigation also allows me to meet colleagues at various stages of my career, from students to professors, and at many different institutions. Working together across is very instructive. The work at K2 also allows me to access courses in education and straight renting, which is also developed beyond the purely academic. Through teaching, I meet talented and curious students, and it is nice to be able to help them gain knowledge of laboratory analyzer and laboratory life. It is very good to work with straight hire and so colleagues grow and develop academic self-accommodations.
It is nice to work at K2, I experience my colleagues both in knowledge and administrative positions as knowledgeable, helpable and dedicated, which makes it always nice to go to work.

This week`s employee – Kristin Greve Isdahl Mohn

I work as an associate professor at the Influenza Center, K2. In addition to teaching medicine and master students, we research colleagues and patients admitted to the hospital. We research the immune system and on immunological responses after both vaccination and infection with influenza viruses. We work with many different influenza viruses and have participated in various clinical trials with influenza vaccines on adults, children and health workers. The goal is to be able to contribute to knowledge in immunology in order to create better vaccines in the future. The long-term goal is a universal flu vaccine, a “one shot fix all.” But it’s probably even far ahead. My career at the influenza center started 10 years ago, during the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Then we collected samples from hospitalized patients in the infection ward to try to understand why some people get so much sicker than others. Now we’re researching the coronavirus, and that’s the second pandemic I’m allowed to be a part of. We are studying immunological responses in both staff and patients to see if we develop immunity to the new virus. Researching a viral pandemic is very exciting, demanding and unpredictable. Everything has to happen fast and it requires a lot of teamwork. Here at the Influenza Center we have a fantastic team. We have a widespread international cooperation, and it has provided many exciting discussions and new perspectives. Combining the position at K2 with clinical work as a doctor at the hospital is the perfect combination for me, and I love it.

This week`s employee – Marie Hagen

I have been working as a technician in The Leukemia research group, now headed by professor Håkon Reikvam, for 9 years. My tasks are varied, and I like the opportunity to be able to change between the still-sitting computer-work and the more active lab-work. Most of my time I spend biobanking, working with RNA/DNA, cell cultures, analysis by flow cytometry, teaching/aiding PhD-candidates and researchers, and general maintenance of lab and instruments. Just now I am working on a project looking into integrins in acute myeloid leukemia. During this home-office period, I have transformed our dining table into an efficient workstation to analyse the flowcytometry results from this project.

The reason I have stayed on in my first position after finishing my master thesis for so many years, is the combination of interesting and varied workdays, and all my fantastic colleagues here at K2. There is always a possibility to learn something new and exciting. I always look forward to work, and not everyone can count themselves as lucky!


This week`s employee – Kristina Strand

I’m a PhD candidate at the Hormone Laboratory Research group and I started in the group as a master student in molecular biology in 2015. After I finished my master degree I was hired as a technician and I was working on the project that turned out to be my PhD-project. In the project we receive blood and adipose tissue biopsies from morbidly obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery. We characterize immune cells, with focus on macrophages and NK cells, in these samples to determine how the tissue inflammation is connected to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We want to determine which subgroups of immune cells are important in adipose tissue inflammation and to get a better understanding of why some morbidly obese individuals develop insulin resistance whereas others do not.

The working environment on K2 is very good, with a lot of nice and welcoming colleagues. I wanted to do my master project at K2 because of the connection to Haukeland hospital and the possibilities to do exciting medical research. The research environment at K2 is interdisciplinary, where molecular biologists, doctors, surgeons, bioengineers and others work together and contribute with different knowledge into the research projects.

Norwegian: Hjemmekontor – Magdalena Keindl

Mens mange sliter, har jeg egentlig ikke hatt noen produktivitetsproblemer med hjemmekontor ennå. Jeg var heldig med at jeg ikke hadde lab-arbeid planlagt i denne perioden, så dagene mine består av å skrive manuskripter og planlegge fremtidige prosjekter. I løpet av pandemien lærte jeg at vi absolutt er klare for å leve i en digital verden, og som lar oss jobbe fra hvor som helst og gi oss mye friheter og muligheter som kan benyttes i framtiden. Dessuten setter jeg enda mer pris på «open-access» publikasjoner, men jeg må innrømme at Sci-Hub definitivt ble flyttet opp et hakk i bokmerke-listen.

Når jeg jobber hjemmefra får jeg også hjelp av mine to katte-sekretærer som passer på at det akkurat er nok kattehår på tastaturet mitt til enhver tid. I tillegg har hjemmekontoret mitt en fin utsikt mot Haukeland og Ulriken, som gir meg følelsen av å være på jobb – med mindre mai-snøen blokkerer utsikten. For å være unngå å miste lab-ferdighetene mine, sammenligner jeg cellekultur med frø og planter.

Vanligvis mister jeg mye tid gjennom dagen på pendling, men nå er det kort vei fra senga til kontoret og til og med til yogasenteret i stua. Jobbantrekket har begynt å bevege seg mot en «business on top, party on the bottom» stil hvor jeg kombinerer bluser med pyjamasbukser. Det er ikke så farlig så lenge man ser profesjonell ut foran kamera. Jeg håper bare at ingen kommer til å spørre meg om å stå opp under neste Zoommøte.

Mest sannsynligvis er jeg ikke den eneste som er i et dypt forhold med mute-knappen. Jeg har allerede vitnet til flere Zoom-uhell, og er fryktelig redd for å være den neste som forårsaker uønskede bakgrunnsstøy. Bare husk alle de pinlige øyeblikkene under online møtene, for disse historiene blir gøye å høre om når vi endelig kan spise lunsj sammen igjen.

This week`s employee – Kadir Madissoo

Very nice to be in this week’s K2-nytt, thank you Tonje!

I graduated in gene technology from the University of Tartu, Estonia in 2011.

In 2012 I started working as a technician at the Bergen gynecologic cancer research group headed by Professor Helga Salvesen and am now senior technician in the same group with Professor Camilla Krakstad.

I am responsible for the daily running of the research laboratory at The Women’s Clinic as well as the Bergen Gyn. Cancer Biobank, which currently stores samples from over five thousand patients.

I work with different molecular biological methods and have contributed to many research projects, both at a national and international level. My administrative tasks include ordering, training of new colleagues and HSE.

As one of the safety representatives at K2 I am very pleased that there is a common platform within the department where we can discuss problems and challenges to make the working day better for everyone.

The group I work in has always been very much engaged in research into gynecological cancer. It is a great pleasure to work with people who have such a great motivation and enthusiasm. Our goal to find effective treatments for our cancer patients and is driving factor of my work.

It is always busy at The Women’s Clinic, with many exciting challenges and I appreciate the unique and continued cooperation between K2 and the different Helse-Bergen departments.

Take care of each other, especially in these Corona times and remember to appreciate your fellow co-workers!

Thank you!


Home office – Mona Synnøve Nilsen

I have been a PhD student at the Hormone laboratory research group since May 2018 and investigate the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in obesity and insulin resistance. My research project is based on performing much lab work experiments, and it is not possible to do lab work at home. I have therefore postponed some lab experiments. I also have 25 % duty work to my PhD position and I am teaching bachelor students in nutritional biochemistry. Some days before the university closed, I was preparing a lab course for the students. The lab course had to be canceled. I also planned to attend research conferences before the summer, but these meetings are also canceled due of the coronavirus.

It has been a bit challenging to work from home, but I have managed to find solutions. I have taken an extra PC monitor home from work and my home office is at the biggest table in my apartment. Lately, I have been able to work with my paper that are going to be resubmitted soon. I have also completed my midway evaluation on Teams.

I think it is important that we hold on to the daily routines, maintain regular (digital) meetings with your colleagues and maybe go for a walk during the day. I hope things will get back to normal soon.

This week`s employee – Ane Aamli Gagnat

What are you working on?

I have been a PhD student in the Respiratory research group at K2 since September 2019. Before that I was a MSRP (Forskerlinje) student and had the opportunity to do research while studying medicine. In my work I am examining the risk of lung cancer in patients suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). I have been using data from GenKOLS, which was collected here in Bergen in 2003-2005. I have linked these data to cancer data from the Cancer Registry of Norway. In addition, I help collecting data for a multicentre study, BOLD (Burden of Global Lung Disease)

Why K2? What do you enjoy working with at K2?

I like being able to work with existing data, while contributing to collect more. It is not very social to work on the computer all the time, so I enjoy meeting both study participants and co-workers. I have also had the chance to teach a little, which is fun. The Respiratory research group often attends pleasant and educational congresses in Norway and abroad.

This week’s employee – Lars Herfindal

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?

I have been appointed here as a professor of pharmacology for almost five years. Prior to that, I was a member of the group of Stein Ove Døskeland, where I also earned a Doctorate in Cell Biology. My work is twofold, teaching and researching. I have responsibility of teaching pharmacology for pharmacists. It is a challenging field, consisting of several disciplines, such as physiology, pathophysiology, cell biology, biochemistry, drug chemistry, to mention some. Luckily, I have skilled co-workers who help me pull the load. Our goal is to constantly prepare for teaching, so that pharmacists have a good basis for practical use of pharmacology when going to work.

Research takes time, and is a way of life and a hobby (pleasure-staking activity that you do in your spare time) as much as work. During the time here I have built up the research activity around the development of new therapies for cancer, focusing on new molecules, and nanomedicine. We have also looked up systems where we use zebrafish larvae to find both the toxicity and effectiveness of new molecule sandand. With me in the research I have a small group of PhD students, master-student  and researchers , who take care of most of the practical work. It’s a good time when it’s needed, but most of the time is enough in the office.
I’m so lucky to be part of several collaborative project working on drug development. It is very inspiring to meet skilled researchers in other disciplines, who can fill in my knowledge hole.

What do you like working at K2?

I applied to K2 because I saw that it was a varied research environment, and expertise that allowed me to develop as a researcher. Although it is in many ways similar to the Department of Biomedicine, where I came from, the close-up of the clinic is a huge advantage at K2. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clinicians, who make sure that my research abruptly come much more closer to the patient. There are also a lot of people at K2, and a lot of people who helped me get started right after I started here. Without that help, it would be much harder for me to get started with my research. I would also add that teaching is actually quite nice, so long as they get enough time to prepare. All in all, K2 is a nice place to work.

Home office – Anja Torsvik

I can confirm that the efficiency is drastically reduced when working in an open office landscape, especially if you share this with a 6-year-old, a snoring dog, and the regular visit of teenagers. In contrast, the working day has been extended by several work sessions, e.g. “The pre-breakfast session” and the “while-dinner-is-cooking-session”. I am approaching the end of my postdoc period and my work assignments now is to write manuscripts and analyze data. Table and figure editing can be partially combined with homeschool teaching, while work that requires deeper concentration is dependent on good “noise cancelling”.

I have had some problem with unstable VPN but setting files and software in offline mode has mainly solved this issue.

Digital meetings work well, and it is motivating to have someone to talk work-related stuff with. I miss my colleagues at MGM and K2, but lunch break zoom with the Martens group has been a nice option.

I enjoy working in the home office, but unfortunately it is not ergonomically designed as a workplace. However, I can vary between different workplaces / chairs / couch, and I have access to a good coffee machine and a good selection of lunch dishes. The view of Løvstakken is great, especially when the sun is shining. Significantly much better than the dark view of the rock wall from the 2nd floor of the Lab building.

This week’s employee – Karl Albert Brokstad

With background as a Microbiologist, I started my doctoral work as a University fellow in 1990 together with Professor Lars R. Haaheim. I participated in building what has now become the Influenza centre. After defending my doctoral degree, I worked one year as temporary associate professor. I then received a three year post-doc. from the Rsearch Council of Norway, and worked with professor Karl-Henning Kalland on his HIV rev project. After this period, in 1998, I was offered a job at Broegelmann Research Laboratory with Professor Roland Jonsson as head, and I have been there since then. Firstly I was employed as researcher, then as senior researcher and in 2007 a permanent position as senior engineer. In my career at the UiB, I have published more than 100 peer review papers, I have also supervised over 30 students and been actively involved in all levels of teaching in microbiology and immunology. I have led several clinical studies. I am partner in several large projects funded by NFR and EU, and my main research interest is immunological processes in autoimmune rheumatic diseases, after infection and vaccination. I have a special interest in teaching, and particular in the next generation of scientists. I am responsible for several immunology courses and I am also the head of the research school «Bergen Research School for Inflammation».

Home office – Linn Iversen


-Can’t complain about the view. A little cloudy today, but have had all seasons since March 12.

– Easter pops up.

– Since my appointment with the hairdresser on March 16 got canceled, I had an emergency cut last week.

-A good, classical base for lifting a digital workday.

-A classic from the 80s has been brought down from the attic and given the opportunity to swing again.

After a little hick-ups with the digital hock-up in the first few days, all systems work fine. But the ergonomic working position can be a challenge. I take breaks doing stretching exercises on the living room floor.

Must admit that the coffee is better in the home office, but look forward to being back on campus. As a controller, everyday work consists of many smaller work tasks. It makes it easy to create lists to work with and plan the workday so that the shoulders, back and neck are not overloaded.

This week’s employee – Elise Orvedal Leiten

What are you working on?

I am a PhD student and former MSRP (forskerlinje) student in the Respiratory research group. I work on the MicroCOPD study, a study which aims to map the lung microbiome in persons with COPD, asthma and without lung disease. With more than 300 bronchoscopies, MicroCOPD is the largest study in this field. In my PhD project, I investigate if the lung microbiota of stable COPD is associated with the frequency of COPD exacerbations. I have also studied the complications and discomforts of the conducted bronchoscopies.

Why K2? What do you enjoy to work with at K2?

I have been a part of the research group since early in medical school, and I appreciate having been involved from the beginning of the study and getting to know my great colleagues. In addition to research, I have had the opportunity to teach a little bit, which I really enjoy.

This week’s employee – Karl-Henning Kalland

Can you tell us a little about your work? What are your specific tasks?

I am employed in a 100% position as professor of medical virology at the Department of Clinical Science. In addition, I am a senior consultant in the microbiology department, Haukeland University Hospital. In this latter position, I have for many years been involved in the introduction and use of nucleic acid diagnostics (e.g., PCR) for the rapid and accurate detection of viral infections in patients. Clinical and laboratory work is very useful in virology teaching for medical students.
At K2, I am the group leader for the Prostate Cancer Therapy Research Group. This group has a solid molecular biological background and has researched basic regulatory and signaling mechanisms in cancer cells and virus-infected cells. Over the past few years, innovation has become a bigger role. Panels of chemical substances have been screened for effect on cancer cells, and we have discovered new chemical substances and published what for protein the drug interacts with in the cell and the mechanisms of action. Patenting is underway in collaboration with VIS and with further development in collaboration with research groups in Shanghai and the company Xennials Therapeutics in Chicago. One exciting project is cryoimmunotherapy, abbreviated CryoIT. This is a form of immunotherapy that uses the patient’s own dendritic immune cells. After parts of the cancerous tissue are killed by a freezing process with special equipment inside the patient, the immune cells are injected into the freeze-killed cancerous tissue. These dendritic cells are capable of responding to what is different in cancer cells and can then instruct the entire immune system to attack the cancer cells, including cancer cells that have spread in metastases around the body. A Phase I clinical trial has just been conducted with CryoIT for patients with metastatic prostate cancer. The results are very useful for the next generation CryoIT with start-up in 2021.
The research group has received support from the Research Council’s program NFR TREATMENT and from the Cancer Society for robust production of more potent therapeutic dendritic cells for the next generation of CryoIT. The cells will be produced in the new therapeutic cell laboratory in the Helse Bergen building on the Laboratory building floor 1M. In this work, we focus on a synergy between the pharmacological screening project and CryoIT.

What do you enjoy working on at K2?

It is research that is the major challenge and the biggest commitment, otherwise I would probably have gone in clinical direction with patient work at the hospital. The collaboration with the others in the group and colleagues and clinical teams is inspiring. It is also rewarding to be able to teach and disseminate to the students and to experience the many young talents that are going on with their education and goals. I feel that there is a good environment in the Laboratory building, but that the potential for research and innovation is still greater than what has manifested itself until now. We have a compact medical campus with a very well equipped laboratory. It is sad that so many colleagues lack project funding. In particular, the experimental research is underfunded as operating expenses are relatively high. I am extremely grateful for the great support that my research group has received from private heathens in Bergen. This support has been essential to ensure that our projects are progressing well, that new people are being hired, and that we are looking forward to exciting years where new cancer treatment is a key goal.

This week’s employee – Maria Omsland

What do I work with:
I am working as a CCBIO postdoctoral fellow in the research group headed by Prof. Bjørn Tore Gjertsen where I started autumn 2019. The research focus of the group is cellular signaling in Hematological malignancies. In my project I will focus on investigating cell-to-cell communication and signaling in the bone marrow compartment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) before and during treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The main methods used are imaging mass cytometry (IMC) and 2-photon microscopy of living small research animals. Since I began my Post Doc period I have mainly spent time planning the project in detail and familiarized myself with new methods in addition to writing applications for ethical approval to REK and FOTS for animal research. I have also been part of the process in getting a multi-photon microscope for the animal facility at the institute in collaboration with Prof. Emmet McCormack. It is great to be employed as a Post Doc, as this employment represent the transitioning from PhD towards an academic career with more responsibilities. It’s a position where you still have the time and responsibility to execute experiments and research. In addition, you gain increased supervising responsibilities and learn more about the administrative duties following the job as a researcher.

What do you enjoy working at K2?
I just moved back to Norway in June 2019 after a 2-year position as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US. I chose to return to K2 and the research group I was affiliated to during my MSc and PhD degrees because I wanted to continue performing research in Hematology and I also knew that the working environment was great and the people working in the research group and the institute are kind and collaborative people. The close collaboration between Haukeland University Hospital and K2 is a great asset and allows exciting translational cancer research.

New parking spaces

The parking deck outside the laboratory building will be closed from Friday 28. February. For K2, the parking deck will be replaced by 11 parking spaces in Haukelandsbakken, which can be used from 3. March. This applies to those who have a permanent position at K2.
If you need a parking space, you can be handed an access card in the expedition. This access card will only apply for one week at the time. The parking spaces in Haukelandsbakken are available until 1. July, then Helse Bergen takes over the area.

This week’s employee – Rebecca Jane Cox Brokstad

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?

I head the influenza center whose vision is to reduce the global burden of influenza illness through being an international leader in development of new and improved influenza vaccines. The center has 14 enthusiastic scientists and students who work on development and evaluation of current and novel influenza vaccines with a focus on understanding the immune response after infection and vaccination. Influenza is a pernicious virus causing annual outbreaks and occasional pandemics and our ultimate research goal is to develop a universal influenza vaccine which provides broad and durable protection.

What do you enjoy working at K2?

K2 is the ideal work place with laboratory in close proximity to our collaborators at Haukeland Hospital allowing synergy between the clinic and laboratory in our clinical trials. The diversity of scientific interests at K2 are stimulating and provide an exciting work place.

This week’s employee – Maria Holmaas

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?

I work as a senior consultant at Økonomi, but am so lucky that I have been given the position of Advisor/Economy Coordinator at K2 and start with it in a week (17.02.). I will probably continue to work with financial guidance and follow-up for some research groups as I do today, in addition to the new tasks I will get. Of course, I do not have details about the new job yet, but some key tasks will be the general management of the finance section at K2, responsibility for budgeting and reporting, and in addition to externally funded financial management, I will work with management support and advice on financial issues to the department management.

What do you enjoy working at K2?
I really enjoy K2, I’ve done that from day one. First and foremost, this has with all the handsome people who work here, both the ones you meet sporadically at the coffee machine, the ones you work with for the day and the people you work with from other disciplines. In addition, the tasks are a nice mix of routine work and challenges and I find it very nice to work with finances, management and at the same time learn new disciplines to know. Has always had a goal that you should learn something new every day (large or small) and you get that to the very highest extent at K2. I can’t wait to go to work every single day!

This week’s employee – Kjerstin Jakobsen

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?

I am a senior technician and contact person at 5th floor in the Laboratory building.

At the 5th floor there are several research groups. I work for Broegelmann’s Research Laboratory (BRL), which is led by Roland Jonsson.

BRL´s main research fields are autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, RA and psoriasis and schizophrenia. We work closely with hospital departments such as Rheumatology, Skin, ENT and Psychiatric clinic. From the departments, we receive patient samples that are processed and collected in a biobank for ongoing and future studies.

My job is to take care of the samples from the departments. I also contribute with laboratory analyses to many projects and help new master students and PhD fellows get started in the lab. In addition, I contribute to the immunology courses for medical students and other practical courses held at the 5th floor in the Laboratory building, place orders and look after the general operation of the laboratory.

I thrive at work and hope my contribution to the researchers will benefit the patients sometime.

This week’s employee – Ketil Grong

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?
As fulltime professor at the Dep. of Clinical Science, my job is divided into two main tasks; both research and teaching of medical students. For most of my professional life, I have been working with experimental animal research focusing on cardiac function, blood circulation and metabolism in the cardiac muscle. My job involves being both facilitator, research supervisor and project co-worker in ongoing PhD projects and in current research groups.

Nowadays, I am involved in several animal studies using anaesthetized pigs as experimental model. In these models, we can simulate open cardiac surgery procedures, life-threatening cardiac failure and cardiac arrest. The current studies involve the use of mechanical circulatory support (heart-lung machine, ECMO and Impella pumps) offering temporary cardiac support supplementing or fully substituting the cardiac function in the experimental animal. This kind of equipment is widely used treating patients both worldwide, also here at Haukeland University Hospital. In our experimental models we are studying if and how it is possible to optimize heart function and the circulation in the heart muscle both during and after this type of treatment. Often there will be long days in the core facility Vivarium (the university’s animal facility), performing experiments that could last for up to eight to ten hours. In the Vivarium we have access to advanced evaluation- and recording equipment for studying cardiac function and circulation. In addition, much of my working hours are spent collecting, systemizing and analyzing data from this type of experimental studies. Finally, in collaboration with PhD-candidates and other researchers much time is spent on drafting, correcting and finalizing manuscripts for submission to international scientific journals.

Over the years, I have collaborated with the cardiac surgeons at Haukeland University Hospital. For this reason, I teach medical students on issues related to cardiac and thoracic surgery. Both traditional lectures and bed-side teaching for groups of students are some of my activities. I am also involved in the new exam arrangements (OSCE) and in the academic planning of teaching in the subject “Circulation”. Given this opportunity here in K2Nytt, many of my colleagues and I will strongly argue that too little time in the curriculum and limited teaching resources have been allocated to teaching both in heart disease in general and in cardio-thoracic surgery in the MED2015 curriculum plan. Here, changes are needed.

What do you enjoy working at K2?
I like working together with other people towards some common goals, whether that is good research or good and relevant teaching and training for the medical students. In my situation, I it is enjoyable to collaborate with researchers, technicians and administrative personnel both from K2, from K1, from Haukeland University Hospital and others. In addition, there are many friendly and pleasant people whom I meet and interact with on a daily basis at K2.

This week’s employee – Øyvind Byrkjedal-Bendiksen

New this year is a weekly presentation of a colleague from K2. First out is Øyvind Byrkjedal-Bendiksen. He works in the administration as semester coordinator for the final semester of medical studies, also known as MED12.

– Can you tell us a little about your work? What are your specific tasks?

– I facilitate the planning and implementation for teaching, schedules and exams at the 12th semester. This includes help and comfort to teachers and students in need of help with UiB’s many computer systems. spend also spend a good portion of my time coordinating the final practical exam, OSCE. This is an exam that intendeds to test students’ practical skills one last time, before being authorized as doctors. Although the exam is just one day, it takes several months of planning to make it successful. Fortunately, this is not something I do alone. We have great people contributing from K2, other institutes and the Faculty.

– What do you enjoy working on at K2?

– I started at K2 just as we introduced new curriculum at MED12. Getting the opportunity to help build a whole new semester, almost from the ground up, has been both fun and challenging. In addition, we have a very good working environment in the administration. It is a very nice group of people to work with.


New name

My name is Jonelle Dickow Villar and I am delighted to join the wonderful group of people at K2. My professional experience in Norway has focused on psychiatric nursing.  Last year I was fortunate to complete my master’s degree in the Epigenetics and Multiomics group with Stéphanie Le Hellard and the Martins group with Vidar Steen.  On July 1st this year I returned as a PhD student and will be continuing the work on identifying epigenetic modifications following different environmental exposures, including the antipsychotic drug olanzapine. You can find me on the 2nd floor or by email