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Cellular responses to DNA damage

We investigate basic biological processes associated with cellular responses to DNA damage, including DNA repair pathways and mechanisms for tolerance, cell cycle regulation and adaptation.

About the group

Cellular genomes are continuously challenged by physical, chemical and biological agents that introduce changes of the chemical structure of the DNA. Intracellular reactive metabolites such as reactive oxygen species and alkylating compounds are important inducers of such changes. Nevertheless, mutation frequencies are low because of very efficient pathways for DNA repair and DNA recombination, which remove DNA damage and conserve at least one functional copy of the genome.

At the cellular and organismal level, the aim is to understand mechanisms for genome maintenance in mammalian as well as microbial cells and to develop new interventions for preventing cancer and neurological disease associated with genome instability caused by DNA damage.


  • Role of DNA base lesion repair in ageing, cancer and neurological disease (Project leader: Magnar Bjørås).
  • Small RNA genes and small peptides in biological responses to DNA damage (Project leader: Magnar Bjørås).
  • Mechanisms of DNA repair and genome maintenance in microbial cells and animal viruses (Project leader: Magnar Bjørås).
  • Genome stability and maintenance in stem/progenitor cells (Project leaders: Magnar Bjørås and Luisa Luna).
  • Structural biochemistry of base lesion repair (Project leader: Magnar Bjørås)


We cooperate with several international researchers:

  • Cynthia McMurray, Berkeley, USA
  • John Tainer, Berkeley/San Diego, USA
  • Eugenia Dogliotti, Rome, Italy
  • Jean Cadet, Grenoble, France
  • Kirsten Skarstad, Oslo
  • Ola Didrik Saugstad, Oslo
  • Pål Aukrust, Oslo
  • Linda Bergersen, Oslo
  • Hilde Nilsen, Oslo
  • Arne Klungland, Oslo
  • Torbjørn Rognes, Oslo
  • Lars Eide, Oslo
Published May 2, 2012 1:02 PM - Last modified Feb. 6, 2017 3:50 PM