Jarle Breivik

Head of department/Professor - Department of Behavioural Medicine
Associate Dean of Education - Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
Image of Jarle  Breivik
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22851114
Mobile phone +47-41441985
Room 2151
Visiting address Sognsvannsveien 9 Domus Medica 0372 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1110 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Research goal

- to explore, challenge and expand the scientific and public understanding of cancer


Jarle Breivik (MD/PhD/EdD) has an academic background that combines basic medical science, science communication, and education management. His work on the evolutionary dynamics of cancer development has received international recognition and includes publications in PNAS, Int. J. Cancer and Adv. Cancer Res. It has also been featured in articles in Scientific American and Wired Magazine, and he has served on scientific review committees for the US National Institute of Health and the European Commission.

Breivik also holds a doctorate (EdD) in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania and currently serves a Assoc. Dean of Education (Utdanningsleder) at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, responsible for the first two years of the Medical Degree and the Master's program in clinical nutrition at the Faculty of Medicine.


  • 2014-        : Associate Dean of Education (Utdanningsleder), Institute for Basic Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.
  • 2013-        : Professor of Medicine, Institute for Basic Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.
  • 2012-2014: Visiting Fulbright Scholar, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
  • 2012-2014: Ed.D., Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.
  • 2009-2011: Associate Dean/Prof. of PhD Education (Forskerutdanningsleder), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.
  • 2004-2009: Associate Dean/Prof. of MD/PhD Education (Forskerlinjeleder), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.
  • 2000-2004: Post.Doc., Norwegian Radium Hospital.
  • 1996-2000: Ph.D., University of Oslo / National Hospital.
  • 1989-1996: M.D., University of Oslo.
Tags: Cancer, Genetic and epidemiology, Education, Management, Communication, Evolution


Evolution of cancer

Cancer development is an evolutionary process within the body of an organism. These papers aim to explore and explain this process in an interdisciplinary perspective. A key aspect concerns the evolutionary relationship between environmental factors and rise of genetic instability in cancer cells. This model has been tested and confirmed by several experimental studies.

Selected science papers:

Popularized articles concerning this research:


For my PhD, I contributed to Gustav Gaudernack's pioneering work on immunotherapy and peptide-based cancer vaccines:

Science and Cancer Communication

Science is generally perceived as the objective search for facts and truths. Yet, how we perceive and understand the scientific truth is largely dependent on context. A gene, for example, may be presented as a molecular structure, a thing that determines our looks or behaviors, a risk factor for getting a disease, a unit that evolves over time, or a symbol of relationship. Each frame has different implications for the way we understand biology and medicine, as well as life in general, and it is important to be aware of these different modes of genetic communication:

Evolution and artificial reproduction

Evolution is a continuous process and humans are still subject to selection. Here we explore how recent medical advances may affect this process:

Education management

In order to do good research, we also need to take a research-based perspective to how we lead and organize our research organizations:

Self-replicating machines

In order to explore and illustrate the fundamental principles of biology, I have developed and patented the concept of making physical objects (e.g. robotic toys) that replicate like DNA molecules. Hopefully it will come to use one day:

Magnetic DNA isolation

As a medical student, I developed a method for isolating DNA by magnetic separation. The patent is commercialized by Qiagen.

US Patent 6090935, Isolation of nucleic acid.

  • Stokke, Sunneva; Solberg, Ingeborg Lodden; Grøttum, Per; Lundin, Knut Erik Aslaksen; Heggen, Kristin & Breivik, Jarle (2019). Et system for studentevaluering av forelesninger ved medisinstudiet i Oslo. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  139(11) . doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.19.0027
  • Breivik, Jarle (2016). Reframing the "Cancer Moonshot". EMBO Reports.  ISSN 1469-221X.  17(12) . doi: 10.15252/embr.201643467 Show summary
  • Hanevik, Hans Ivar; Hessen, Dag Olav; Sunde, Arne & Breivik, Jarle (2016). Can IVF influence human evolution?. Human Reproduction.  ISSN 0268-1161.  31(7), s 1397- 1402 . doi: 10.1093/humrep/dew089
  • Carver, Rebecca Bruu; Rødland, Einar Andreas & Breivik, Jarle (2013). Quantitative Frame Analysis of How the Gene Concept Is Presented in Tabloid and Elite Newspapers. Science communication.  ISSN 1075-5470.  35(4), s 449- 475 . doi: 10.1177/1075547012460525 Show summary
  • Carver, Rebecca Bruu; Wiese, Eline Fatima & Breivik, Jarle (2013). Frame Analysis in Science Education: A Classroom Activity for Promoting Media Literacy and Learning about Genetic Causation. International Journal of Science Education.  ISSN 0950-0693.  4(3), s 211- 239 . doi: 10.1080/21548455.2013.797128
  • Falster, DS; Nakken, S; Bergem-Ohr, M; Rødland, Einar Andreas & Breivik, J (2010). Unstable DNA Repair Genes Shaped by Their Own Sequence Modifying Phenotypes. Journal of Molecular Evolution.  ISSN 0022-2844.  70(3), s 266- 274 . doi: 10.1007/s00239-010-9328-0
  • Hunskaar, Steinar; Breivik, Jarle; Siebke, Else-Marie; Tømmerås, Karin; Figenschau, Kristian & Hansen, John-Bjarne (2009). Evaluation of the medical student research programme in Norwegian medical schools. A survey of students and supervisors. BMC Medical Education.  ISSN 1472-6920.  9(43) . doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-9-43 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Carver, Rebecca; Waldahl, Ragnar & Breivik, Jarle (2008). Frame that gene. A tool for analysing and classifying the communication of genetics to the public. EMBO Reports.  ISSN 1469-221X.  9(10), s 943- 947
  • Breivik, Jarle (2006). Cancer - evolution within. International Journal of Epidemiology.  ISSN 0300-5771.  35(5), s 1161- 1162
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). The evolutionary origin of genetic instability in cancer development. Seminars in Cancer Biology.  ISSN 1044-579X.  15
  • Breivik, Jarle & Gaudernack, Gustav (2004). Resolving the evolutionary paradox of genetic instability: a cost-benefit analysis of DNA repair in changing environments. FEBS Letters.  ISSN 0014-5793.  563, s 7- 12
  • Andersen, Solveig Norheim; Løvig, Tone; Breivik, Jarle; Lund, Eiliv; Gaudernack, Gustav; Meling, Gunn Iren & Rognum, Torleiv Ole (1997). K-ras mutations and prognosis in large bowel carcinomas. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.  ISSN 0036-5521.  32, s 62- 69
  • Breivik, Jarle; Lothe, Ragnhild A; Meling, Gunn Iren; Rognum, Torleiv Ole; Børresen-Dale, Anne-Lise & Gaudernack, Gustav (1997). Different genetic pathways to proximal and distal colorectal cancer influenced by sex related factors. International Journal of Cancer.  ISSN 0020-7136.  97, s 664- 669
  • Andersen, Solveig Norheim; Breivik, Jarle; Løvig, Tone; Meling, Gunn Iren; Gaudernack, Gustav; Clausen, Ole Petter Fraas; Schölberg, A.; Fausa, Olav; Langmark, F.; Lund, Eivind & Rognum, Torleiv Ole (1996). K-ras mutations and HLA-DR expression in large bowel adenomas. British Journal of Cancer.  ISSN 0007-0920.  74, s 99- 108
  • Gjertsen, Marianne Klemp; Bakka, Arne; Breivik, Jarle; Sæterdal, Ingvil; Gedde-Dahl jr, Tobias; Stokke, Kjell Torgeir; Solheim, Bjarte G.; Egge, Tor Schatvedt; Søreide, Odd; Thorsby, Erik & Gaudernack, Gustav (1996). Ex vivo ras peptide vaccination in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer: results of a phase I/II study. International Journal of Cancer.  ISSN 0020-7136.  65, s 450- 3
  • Gjertsen, MK; Bakka, Arne Olav; Breivik, Jarle; Sæterdal, I; Solheim, Bjarte G.; Thorsby, Erik & Gaudernack, Gustav (1995). Vaccination with mutant ras peptides induces of T-cell responsiveness in pancreatic carcinoma patients carrying the corresponding RAS mutation. The Lancet.  ISSN 0140-6736.  (346), s 1399- 1400

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  • Frich, Jan C; Breivik, Jarle; Lundin, Knut Erik Aslaksen; Rosvold, Elin Olaug & Os, Ingrid (2017). Valgfrie emner i medisinstudiet. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  137(20), s 1- 5 . doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.17.0549
  • Breivik, Jarle (2016, 13. januar). Obama og kreft. [Radio].  https://radio.nrk.no/serie/dagsnytt-atten/nmag03000816/13-01.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2016). Re: Insulinresistens - kroppens forsvar mot kaloriforgiftning?. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  136(14), s 1185
  • Breivik, Jarle (2016). We won't cure cancer. New York Times, USA.  s A21
  • Frich, Jan C; Wium, Kristin; Røine, Linda Kristin; Breivik, Jarle; Lundin, Knut Erik Aslaksen & Rosvold, Elin Olaug (2016). Implementing elective courses in the basic Medical curriculum at the University of Oslo.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2015). Hvem har villedet Trond Mohn?. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  135(6), s 558- 560 Show summary
  • Breivik, Jarle (2015). Hvem har villedet Trond Mohn? :. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  135(6), s 558- 560 . doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.15.0053
  • Breivik, Jarle (2015). J. Breivik svarer. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  135(17), s 1533- 1534 . doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.15.0919
  • Breivik, Jarle (2015). J. Breivik svarer. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  135(22), s 2026- 2026 . doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.15.1197
  • Breivik, Jarle (2014). Leadership and organization change in biomedical PhD education: An instrumental case study of the development of a centralized organization for biomedical graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2014). Re: Brysomme studenter. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  134(21), s 2023
  • Breivik, Jarle (2013). Sprikende forskerutdanning. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening.  ISSN 0029-2001.  133(9), s 617- 618
  • Carver, Rebecca Bruu; Jorde, Doris; Breivik, Jarle & Klavenes, Eileen Holm (2010). Media Analysis in Biology Class.
  • Carver, Rebecca Bruu; Klavenes, Eileen Holm & Breivik, Jarle (2010). Genes in the Media.
  • Carver, Rebecca Bruu & Breivik, Jarle (2009). Gener i Media og Klasserommet: Genrammer. Naturfag.  ISSN 1504-4564.  (1), s 37- 37
  • Carver, Rebecca & Breivik, Jarle (2009). Mediaanalyse i Biologitimen. Naturfag.  ISSN 1504-4564.  (1), s 34- 37
  • Carver, Rebecca & Breivik, Jarle (2008). Frame that gene! How do journalists, scientists and the public talk about genes?. Show summary
  • Carver, Rebecca; Waldahl, Ragnar & Breivik, Jarle (2008). Frame that gene - A tool for analysing and classifying the communication of genetics to the public. EMBO Reports.  ISSN 1469-221X.  9, s 943- 947 . doi: 10.1038/embor.2008.176
  • Breivik, Jarle & Aas, Harald (2007, 07. mars). Kreftgåten er uløselig.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). Is there a solution to the cancer problem?.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). Repeat protection, cancer suseptability and the evolution of selfish DNA repair genes.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). Template replication: cancer development to magnetic toys.
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). The evolutionary origin of genetic instability in cancer development. Show summary
  • Breivik, Jarle (2005). Whole genome analysis reveals high density of mononucleotide repeats within mismatch repair genes. Show summary

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Published Apr. 13, 2011 2:34 PM - Last modified June 11, 2020 11:34 AM