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In memoriam Erlend A. Nagelhus

IMB remembers our dear colleague Erlend A. Nagelhus, who passed away on Friday January 10th 2020. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to his family and close friends.

Professor Erlend A. Nagelhus

Professor Erlend A. Nagelhus.

Photo: Privat

It was with great sadness that the Institute received the message that Erlend died suddenly on a skiing trip in Sørkedalen on Friday 10th January. Erlend had just attended a two-day symposium for research group leaders at Soria Moria that same day.

Erlend was a world leader in his field and an invaluable resource for many in his large network. He was a highly esteemed colleague, and many of us knew Erlend throughout all or part of his career.

A great loss for the institute

Erlend will be sorely missed: we have lost an inestimable researcher, teacher and colleague who for many years left his mark on the Institute not only through his outstanding research, but also through his major contribution to our working community, both as head of division and as head of teaching for physiology.

We have lost a leader who worked tirelessly for his field of study, who acknowledged and listened to other people and who was always ready to assist. He was a generous leader who always sought to promote a good working environment; a leader who wanted the best for his students, whether they were medical students, fellows or postdocs.

Career Choice

Erlend completed his medical degree in 1993 at the University of Oslo (UiO) and his PhD in 1998, at the Department of Anatomy, UiO. He became an authorised physician in 2000.

After graduation, he worked at various Institutes at the Faculty of Medicine, UiO, and at neurological departments at Oslo University Hospital.

From 2007 to 2009, he was a research fellow at the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York.

Following his return from the United States, Erlend was appointed as a group leader at the Norwegian Center for Molecular Medicine. From 2009, he was Head of the Letten Center at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences (IMB) and from 2013, he was Professor of Physiology at IMB.
Erlend also led the research group at the Letten Center, comprising around 20 staff researchers.

Contribution to research

The following text is an excerpt from the nomination of Erlend to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which was submitted for assessment this year and signed by May-Britt Moser, Jon Storm-Mathisen and Lars Walløe:

“Erlend Nagelhus' research legacy can be grouped under three main headings:

  • The location of water channels in glial cells in the central nervous system
  • The location of potassium channels in the same cells
  • Models for water transport in the central nervous system


How can Erlend Nagelhus benefit the Academy?

Since his appointment as Professor of Physiology in 2013, Erlend Nagelhus' outstanding contribution to research and teaching within his field of physiology at the Institute reach far beyond the confines of his own research or the research of his staff. It is therefore likely that his legacy will continue to contribute to the Academy's work in the future.

Erlend Nagelhus is undoubtedly among the world's leading scientists in his group's field of research. He will be a very deserving member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.”


There are many who join us in giving thanks to Erlend for all he has contributed. Now it is up to us to make sure that we do everything we can to preserve Erlend's scientific legacy and manage it in a way that best benefits the community.

Lene Frost Andersen

Head of Department



By Eyrun Thune
Published Jan. 24, 2020 8:44 AM - Last modified Jan. 28, 2020 11:55 AM