Important dates before the holidays

MBB Newsletter 3:2022


A word from the Chairman

Photo: Ulf Sirborn


Dear colleagues,

Summer is almost here, and finally the pandemic has loosened its grip. I hope you all get some leisure time this summer and some time to step back and reflect, perhaps with a nice book (I’m looking forward to finishing Timothy Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’, even if the subject is grim).

After many year’s of service to the department as vice chair and chair, Jesper Haeggström has now left the leadership group. I want to thank him on the behalf of all of us for his service, and hope that he will remain available for occasional sage advice!

New deputy chairpersons are Björn Högberg and Gonçalo Castelo-Branco.

Finally, we are very happy to finally be able to have a retreat – I look forward to seeing you all Sep 19–21! Please mark the date.



Department information

Management updates

After many years with several management assignments at MBB, Jesper Haeggström has left the executive council and his assignment as Deputy Head of Department as of 1 of June.

Björn Högberg is appointed Deputy Head of Department, which means that Björn stands in for the Head of Department when the Head of Department is not on duty or is otherwise unavailable with the same decision-making authority as the Head of Department.

Björn is also responsible for the divisions of Molecular Neurobiology and Molecular Metabolism when it comes to:

Signing agreements after review by the legal department, but not for decisions that can´t be decided by Head of Department or agreements that are to be signed jointly with officials from the Central Administration.
Signing green light and admission of doctoral students.
Signing procurement documents, application for grants, letters of support for applications, ethics applications, letters of recommendation for docentur, time reports and financial reporting.
Signing in Prisma


Gonçalo Castelo-Branco has been appointed as Assistant Head of Department from the 1 of June with responsibility for the divisions of Biomaterial, Genome Biology and Functional Genomics with regard to the above points. In addition to this, the Assistant Head of Department is also responsible for signing documents regarding scholarships for the entire department.

Other divisions contact Sten Linnarsson for corresponding matters.

Elias Arnér already has an assignment as Assistant Head of Department with strategic responsibility for issues related to undergraduate and postgraduate education.

Contact each person in matters concerning your division and remember to have advance notice of at least one week.

Division with the highest response rate

The division with the highest response rate (89%) in this year’s employment survey was the division of Biochemistry!

Big congratulations!


Photo: Private

Important dates before the summer break

MBB’s administration will not be manned from August 1 to 7.

As we are approaching summer, and the half-year closing of the books, MBB’s administration would like to remind you of some important dates regarding finances and HR.

See the dates for administrative routines before the summer.


Photo: Pixabay

MBB retreat

The MBB retreat, taking place on the 19-21 September at Djurönäset.

The PI's are in charge of registering you. More information about transportation and program will come closer to the date. If you have any questions please let us know.


Photo: Djurönäset

Updates on administrative information on website

As a consequence of the Research support information, there has also been updates made to clarify services provided by the MBB administration.

Read more: "Administration at MBB"

Join Karolinska Institutet and the Academic Pride in the Stockholm Pride Parade 2022 on 6 August

Karolinska Institutet supports Stockholm Pride that will take place on the first week of August 2022. The rainbow flag will fly at KI Campus throughout Pride week and we will take part in the Pride Parade Saturday 6 August. The Pride Parade starts at Norr Mälarstrand at 13:00 and you can also join the Academic Pride pre-party at 11.30.

Read more: "Academic Pride in the Stockholm Pride Parade 2022"


Karolinska Institutet in the pride parade in Stockholm 2019. Photo: Erik Flyg


Recent publications, prizes and grants

Unique insight into the inner workings of our cellular powerplants

Using advanced microscopy techniques, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University have visualized in unprecedented detail the machinery that the cells’ powerhouses, the mitochondria, use to form their proteins. The results, which are published in Nature, raise hopes of more specific antibiotics and new cancer drugs in the future.

Read the full article “Unique insight into the inner workings of our cellular powerplants"

Decoding epigenomic information from individual cells from the mouse brain.ntific illustration.

Joanna Rorbach and Anas Khawaja at Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Shreelatha Bhat.

Epigenetic regulator controlling the very first cell fate decision in human embryonic development identified

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet identify an epigenetic regulator controlling the very first cell type specification in the human embryo. The study is published in Nature Cell Biology.

Read the full article “Epigenetic regulator controlling the very first cell fate decision in human embryonic development identified"


Photo: Banushree Kumar

Oligodendrocytes arise in the human brain earlier in development

A team of researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University in Sweden found that oligodendrocytes, a cell type in the central nervous system known to be targeted in multiple sclerosis (MS), arise in the human brain earlier in development than mainly thought. The findings were published in the journal Developmental Cell.

Read the full article "Oligodendrocytes arise in the human brain earlier in development"

Decoding epigenomic information from individual cells from the mouse brain.ntific illustration.

Gonçalo Castelo-Branco. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Rajan Kumar Pandey awarded the Crafoord Prize research grant 2021

Postdoctoral researcher Rajan Kumar Pandey has been awarded the Crafoord Prize research grant in polyarthritis.

Read the full article "Rajan Kumar Pandey awarded the Crafoord Prize research grant 2021"


Photo: N/A

Buying time – self-inflicted DNA damage drives cancer cell resistance to radiation therapy

A new study, published in Science, shows how self-inflicted DNA damage uniquely enables tumor cells to endure the genotoxic effects of radiation therapy, allowing them to survive and contribute to tumor reoccurrence. The findings highlight a cancer-specific survival mechanism that could be targeted and used to enhance the tumor cells’ vulnerability to genotoxic cancer treatments.

Read the full article "Buying time – self-inflicted DNA damage drives cancer cell resistance to radiation therapy"


Photo: Jan Benada

Patrik Ernfors receives ERC Advanced Grant – for the third time

Patrik Ernfors has been awarded this year's ERC Advanced Grant, which is one of Europe's most prestigious research funding programmes. This is the third time he receives an ERC AdG.

Read the full article "Patrik Ernfors receives ERC Advanced Grant – for the third time"


Patrik Ernfors. Photo: Martin Stenmark


Get to know your new colleagues

Sebastian Wettersten has joined Björn Reinius group as a doctoral student, where he will be looking into the regulation of X-chromosome hyperactivation in human and mouse. He obtained his BSc and MSc in Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg. Most recently he worked as a research assistant in the Johan Bengtsson-Palme lab at GU, where he helped develop bioinformatics tools that classify taxonomy from metagenomic data.

Head shot.

Onur Dagliyan has joined the Division of Molecular Neurobiology of the MBB as an assistant professor. He obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina where he developed molecular technologies to visualize and control protein activity in living cells. He has later worked in the laboratory of Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School where he focused on epigenetic mechanisms of experience-driven gene expression in the mouse brain. His laboratory at MBB will be focusing on the development of molecular technologies to uncover neuronal activity dependent protein signaling mechanisms.


Kun Qian has joined Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden (CBCS) at KI as a staff scientist. She obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Georgia and became a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Her past research was focused on identifying small molecule inhibitors for Protein methyltransferases and Protein-Protein Interactions of novel protein targets in cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Now she serves as a scientist to help other researchers to develop high throughput screening assays. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking and traveling.


Stefina Milanova joined the CRISPR Functional Genomics (CFG) facility as a staff scientist. She obtained her PhD in Molecular biology at KI, studying the mechanisms behind genome stability and Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) complexes. At CFG, Stefina and her colleagues use their expertise in CRISPR/Cas9 to perform high throughput functional genomic screens. When not in the lab, Stefina likes to travel, train her dog and try exotic cuisines.


This is a newsletter to staff and affiliates at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.

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