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About me

Professor in cell and tumour biology.

Faculty representative, Board of research, Karolinska Institute.

As faculty representative I consider that one of my central missions is to work towards the development distinct and transparent processes for recruitment, career development and distribution of faculty funds. All with the overall aim to promote high quality research at Karolinska Institutet.


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

Research description

The molecular mechanisms which maintain genome stability are essential for life and prevent accumulation of disease-promoting chromosomal aberrations. With the aim to decipher these mechanisms, our project focuses on the evolutionary conserved family of SMC protein complexes (SMC: Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes).

There are three eukaryotic complexes: cohesin, condensin and the Smc5/6 complex. The majority of our ongoing investigations aim to disclose the function of the Smc5/6 complex, which is the least well understood. We do this using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as model organism.

The Smc5/6 complex has mainly been functionally connected with DNA repair and we have found that it is recruited to DNA breaks where it activates cohesin. We have also shown that Smc5/6 binds to chromosomes as a consequence of DNA replication. Intriguingly, the frequency of Smc5/6 binding sites increases in linear correlation with the length of chromosomes, and we have unraveled a function for Smc5/6 in the resolution of replication-induced topological tension. This tension arises when the replication machinery pries apart the parental double-helix into single DNA strands. If the tension is not removed, it will lead to replication fork blockage which increases the risk of genomic rearrangements. Our more recent results suggest that topological tension also could have a positive role in the organization of chromosomes, executed via the SMC complexes.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2014   Nicholson lecturer at Rockefeller University, NY, USA                   

2008   European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant                 

2008   Fernströms prize to young researchers                     

2007   Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow in Medical sciences     

2002   Junior research position grant, Swedish Research Council                 

1998   Postdoctoral fellowship by The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and    Higher Education (STINT)


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Institutional responsibilties

2012-present Faculty representative at the Karolinska Institutet’s Board of Research                    

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

2008-2011 Board member, Swedish society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SFBBM)


Commissions of trust

2009-2014  Member of Swedish Cancer Foundation project grant evaluation panel, panel vice chair 2011-2012, chair 2013-2014.

2009-2012  Member of starting grant evaluation panel, European Research Council, panel vice chair 2011-2012.

2008  Member of evaluation panel, Swedish Research Council. Project grant applications.  

2002-present Evaluator of candidates for EMBO fellowships, two professorships at University of Copenhagen, and two Wellcome Trust grant applications. Guest Editor for Experimental Cell Research, special issue on DNA repair, Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Science, EMBO reports, EMBO Journal, Molecular Cell, Current Biology, Genes and Development, Nucleic Acid Research, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and more