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Cellular metabolism

The research group Cellular Metabolism is lead by Erik Norberg, Associate Professor of Metabolism at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Cellular metabolic - research group Norberg, description of research
Cellular metabolic - Research group Norberg

Tumor cells display metabolic profiles that are remarkably distinct from their tissue of origin to ensure fulfillment of their higher bioenergetic/biosynthetic needs to support a rapid proliferation. The mechanisms underlying this metabolic reprogramming are divergent among tumors and are often regulated by oncogenes/tumor suppressors.


We are mainly focusing on the following overarching topics:

  • Metabolic Adaptations to Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
  • Metabolic Signal Transduction
  • Pharmacological Approaches to Target Metabolic Circuits
  • Metabolic Control of Epigenetics
  • Regulation and maintenance of metabolic heterogenety

To study these questions we employ a translational approach starting from primary patient material paralleled by studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells, normal cells and cancer mouse models, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel drug targets and prognostic markers.

We are assessing the above mentioned aims by an integrative approach consisting of metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics as well as various genetic, biochemical and molecular biological tools.


We are collaborating with colleagues at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA), several groups at Karolinska Institutet and The Royal Institute of Technology.

Selected publications

PHGDH Defines a Metabolic Subtype in Lung Adenocarcinomas with Poor Prognosis.
Zhang B, Zheng A, Hydbring P, Ambroise G, Ouchida AT, Goiny M, et al
Cell Rep 2017 06;19(11):2289-2303

Characterization of the Role of the Malate Dehydrogenases to Lung Tumor Cell Survival.
Zhang B, Tornmalm J, Widengren J, Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg H, Norberg E. J Cancer 2017; 8(11):2088-2096.

Differential contribution of the mitochondrial translation pathway to the survival of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subsets.
Norberg E, Lako A, Chen PH, Stanley IA, Zhou F, Ficarro SB, et al
Cell Death Differ. 2017 02;24(2):251-262

The role of mitochondria in metabolism and cell death.
Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg H, Ouchida A, Norberg E
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2017 01;482(3):426-431

The role of mitochondria in metabolism and cell death.
Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg H, Ouchida AT, Norberg E
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2017 01;482(3):426-431

Glucose metabolism provide distinct prosurvival benefits to non-small cell lung carcinomas.
Wu R, Galan-Acosta L, Norberg E
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2015 May;460(3):572-7

Degradation of HK2 by chaperone-mediated autophagy promotes metabolic catastrophe and cell death.
Xia HG, Najafov A, Geng J, Galan-Acosta L, Han X, Guo Y, et al
J. Cell Biol. 2015 Aug;210(5):705-16

Changing appetites: the adaptive advantages of fuel choice.
Stanley IA, Ribeiro SM, Giménez-Cassina A, Norberg E, Danial NN
Trends Cell Biol. 2014 Feb;24(2):118-27

Metabolic signatures uncover distinct targets in molecular subsets of diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
Caro P, Kishan AU, Norberg E, Stanley IA, Chapuy B, Ficarro SB, et al
Cancer Cell 2012 Oct;22(4):547-60

Group members

Erik Norberg – Associate Professor, Research group leader

Mathilda Eriksson – Lab manager

Boxi Zhang – Postdoc

André Lima Queiroz – Postdoc


Yiwei Ai, MD, Karolinska Institutet

Wirood Aldjezani, MSc, Uppsala University

Dawn E. Comstock, MD-Ph.D, Harvard Medical School

Dominique Smith, MSc, Uppsala University