Monica Nistér's Group

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The group led by Monica Nistér focuses on brain tumor research, especially the involvement of growth factor signaling in tumor development, mechanisms of tumor cell heterogeneity and the functional significance of cancer stem cells. The experimental studies are to a large part performed in vivo with cells in their proper context, using animal models of brain tumors. The group studies human brain tumors, both in adults and children.

Mouse models of glioma

A long-term commitment of the group is to create mouse models of glioma. Based on previous knowledge identifying different subgroups of human glioblastomas and their molecular genetic aberrations, we mimic secondary glioblastomas in mice. These tumors are characterized by increased expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor alpha and loss of the tumor suppressor p53. Therefore, we have created transgenic mice with localized forced expression of PDGF in the mouse brain. The GFAP promoter is used to direct expression to astrocytic cells of the brain and the transgenic mice are bred into a p53 null background.

Human brain tumors

We study brain tumors in children and adults, focusing on genomic aberrations and cancer stem cell features. We address the importance of growth factor signaling in human glioma, analyzing growth factor receptors and other parameters determining responsiveness to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Tumor cell heterogeneity

In order to understand mechanisms of tumor cell heterogeneity, we have defined differences among glioma cell subpopulations. Differentially expressed genes are studied by sequence analysis, bioinformatics, cDNA cloning and expression in cells for functional studies.


Tong Liu
Characterization of mitochondrial membrane proteins as novel components in mitochondrial dynamics
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Salah Eldin Gadalla
Studies of stem cell and adhesion proteins in breast cancer
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Xiaobing He
Stem cell signatures in glioma
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Inga Nazarenko
Modeling PDGF-driven gliomagenesis in the mouse
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Sanna-Maria Hede
PDGFB and P53 in brain tumorigenesis
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Tamador Elsir
Transcription factors PROX1 and p53 in cancer development
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Rona Strawbridge
Analysis of functional genetic polymorphisms in prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes : Mucin 1 and growth hormone receptor.
Main supervisor Chunde Li, co-supervisor Monica Nistér

Ulrica Westermark
DNA repair by HDR in Experimental Tumorigenesis.
Main supervisor Monica Nistér

Group members

Monica Nistér, MD, PhD, Professor
Ann-Britt Spåre, Secretary
Jian Zhao, PhD
Daniel Hägerstrand, PhD

Anna Hedrén, PhD, Research Engineer
Rong Yu, PhD student
Min Guo, PhD student
Marjolein van Vliet, MSc student

Elisa Basmaci, BMS, BSc
Alia Shamikh, post doc
Gabriela Prochazka, coordinator

Prostate Cancer

Chunde Li, MD, PhD
Zhuo-Chun Peng, PhD student
Yuanjun Ma, PhD student