Description of Research Group

Magnar Bjørås heads research groups at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim and the Department of Medical Microbiology at Oslo University Hospital / University and the University of Oslo. His research focuses on the maintenance of and dynamic changes in the hereditary systems (genomes) with particular emphasis on oxidative stress, DNA damage repair and regulation of epigenetic DNA methylation. The cells’ genetic predispositions are continuously exposed to physical (radiation), chemical and biological agents that result in changes in the chemical structure of DNA. Intracellular reactive metabolites such as reactive oxygen and alkylating agents are compounds that introduce changes (mutations) in the hereditary systems. Mutation frequencies are low due to highly efficient DNA repair, which removes DNA damage and preserves a functional genome. The main focus in the Bjørås group has been on repairing endogenous DNA base damage and genome stability. His research team has solved the three-dimensional structure of many DNA-protein complexes that have contributed to a detailed understanding of DNA base preparation right down to the atomic level. Bjørås has established research that examines the importance of DNA repair in the brain, including cognitive characteristics and behavior. Bjørås has established collaboration with clinicians to study the importance of DNA repair for infections.

Technology, expertise and equipment

Biochemistry, protein crystallography, cell biology, cell biology, behavioral studies in mice, organoid technology