Category Archives: Ukens ansatt

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.

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!


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.

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».

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.

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!