Camilla Björkegren

Camilla Björkegren

Telephone: +46852482928
Visiting address: Solnavägen 9, 17165 Stockholm
Postal address: C5 Cell- och molekylärbiologi, C5 CMB Björkegren, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • Professor of Cell and Tumour Biology.

    1999-2001 Postdoctoral fellow, Prof. Kim Nasmyth’s group, Institute of Molecular Pahtology (IMP), Vienna, Austria.

    1997 PhD in Natural Sciences, Department of Cell Biology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden

    1990 Master degree in Natural Sciences, Department of Cell Biology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden

    Academic honours

    2022 Visiting Professor, The University of Tokyo

    2017 Center for Innovative Medicine, CIMED, Senior Investigator

    2014 Nicholson lecturer at Rockefeller University, NY, USA

    2013 Member of Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Class of Medical Sciences

    2008 Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

    2008 European Ressearch council (ERC) starting grant

    2008 Fernströms prize to young researchers

    2007 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow in Medical sciences

    Institutional responsibilties

    2005-present Vice chairman, Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Insitutet


  • Chromosome dynamics and genome stability

    The molecular mechanisms that control chromosome dynamics and maintain genome stability are essential for life and prevent accumulation of disease-promoting chromosomal aberrations. With the aim to decipher these mechanisms, our projects focus on the evolutionary conserved family of SMC protein complexes (SMC: Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes) which we investigate using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae model organism, and biochemical and structural in vitro analysis.

    Considered as an entity, the eukaryotic complexes cohesin, condensin and the Smc5/6 complex control most chromosome-based processes, including replication, segregation, repair and transcription. While it has become increasingly clear that SMC complexes act by structurally organizing chromosomes, their exact modes of action remain unclear. This is especially true for the Smc5/6 complex, which is the main object of investigation in our team.

    The Smc5/6 complex has mainly been functionally connected with DNA repair and recombination, and we have analyzed this function in both mitotic and meiotic cells. We have also shown that Smc5/6 has a non-repair function, and accumulates on replicated chromosomes in unchallenged cells. Intriguingly, this enrichment increases in linear correlation with the length of the chromosomes, and our investigations show that this is due to a functional connection between the Smc5/6 complex and DNA supercoiling. Supercoiling is the under- or over-twisting of the DNA double helix, and arises when the replication or transcription machineries pry the helix apart. If enzymes called topoisomerases do not remove the supercoils, they inhibit replication and transcription, and increase the risk of genomic instability. Our ongoing investigations aim to understand how transcription- and replication-induced supercoiling influences the function of SMC complexes, chromosome dynamics and genome stability.

Selected publications


All other publications


  • Swedish Research Council
    1 January 2024 - 31 December 2027
  • The DNA double helix in health and disease. Analysis of how supercoiling affects chromosome folding and stability.
    Swedish Cancer Fondation
    1 January 2023 - 31 December 2025

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