University of Gothenburg
Blood vessels endothelial cells.
Photo: Peter Carlsson

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Molecular and cellular biology research studies molecules and cells in order to improve human health and the environment. Our research groups have many fruitful interdisciplinary interactions with chemists, bioinformaticians, clinicians and biomedical companies and are at the heart of life sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Key target areas

  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Glycobiology
  • Infections
  • Metabolic, developmental and neurodegenerative diseases and disorders such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pollution.

Key research areas

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Cytoskeletal dynamics
  • Embryonic development
  • Metal biology
  • Microbial signalling and communities
  • Molecular evolution
  • Protein quality control
  • Regulation of metabolism
  • Stress resistance.

Our researchers combine genetic and molecular tools, such as genetic engineering and screening, with computational approaches to understand yeast, bacterial, worm, mouse and human cells. A particular strength is the use of yeast as an advanced cell model and access to automated high throughput platforms for mega science.

Publications, research grants and collaborations

Our research in Molecular and Cellular Biology is of excellent quality. Our researchers publish scientific papers in top-rated scientific journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. Several of our researchers have been awarded prestigious research grants from the most renowned funding agencies, including the European Research Council (ERC) and the Wallenberg Foundation. Our research groups have also long-term national and international collaborations with leading researchers around the world. Among others, we collaborate with other universities in Nice, Abuja and Toronto.

Research groups

Anders Blomberg, Professor Emeritus of Functional Genomics

Anders Blomberg studies how in particular marine organisms handle stress, drugs and polluting chemicals.

Models: yeast, barnacle.

Daniel Bojar, Associate Senior Lecturer in Bioinformatics

Complex carbohydrates or glycans cover every cellular surface and most proteins. Using machine learning and synthetic biology, we can unravel their functions in biology and leverage them for biomedical interventions.

Models: human cells.

More information about Daniel Bojar

Peter Carlsson, Professor of Genetics

Peter Carlsson studies how a class of regulatory proteins control gene expression in embryonic development, cellular differentiation and disease using mouse genetics and in vitro methods.

Models: mouse, human cells.

More information about Peter Carlsson

Anne Farewell, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology

Anne Farewell studies how antibiotic resistance genes spread between bacteria and aims to develop ways to prevent this. This will extend the usefulness of our antibiotics. Anne also works to improve science teaching.

Models: bacteria.

More information about Anne Farewell

Photo: Johan Wingborg

Julie Grantham, Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology

The molecular chaperone CCT and the cytoskeleton: understanding the interplay between the folding of actin and tubulin by the CCT oligomer and the role of CCT in modulated processes involving assembled microtubules and actin filaments.

Models: human cells.

More information about Julie Grantham

Navigate to video: Julie Grantham, Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology
Video (1:10)
Julie Grantham, Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology

Beidong Liu, Professor of Molecular and Cellular biology

Developing and applying yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) high throughput phenomic screening approaches for deciphering mechanisms underlying how protein aggregates influence cellular ageing and stress response.

Models: yeast.

More information about Beidong Liu

Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist

Anders Lundgren, Researcher in nanobiotechnology

Anders Lundgren studies how cells, bacteria and particles bind to and organize on surfaces. Anders develops methods to measure weak cellular interactions and for the assembly of biofunctional, for example antibacterial, interfaces.

More information about Anders Lundgren

Margit Mahlapuu, Professor of Molecular Genetics

Margit Mahlapuu's main focus is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating lipid partitioning, inflammatory infiltration and insulin sensitivity in the liver, and cross-talk between the liver and other peripheral tissues prone to lipotoxicity.

Models: mouse, human cells.

More information about Margit Mahlapuu

Navigate to video: Meet Margit Mahlapuu, Professor of Molecular Genetics
Video (1:12)
Meet Margit Mahlapuu, Professor of Molecular Genetics

Marc Pilon, Professor of Genetics

Genetic mechanisms that regulate cell membrane composition in response to dietary or environmental challenges.

Models: worm, mouse and human cells.

More information about Marc Pilon

Hiroki Shibuya, Associate Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology

Study of chromosome dynamics during mammalian meiosis using a combination of approaches in genetics, cytology and biochemistry.

Models: mouse, human cells.

More information about Hiroki Shibuya

Åsa Sjöling, Professor of Prokaryotic Microbiology

Åsa Sjöling studies how enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) regulate virulence and survival in response to gastrointestinal- and environmental factors, and how antibiotic resistance genes spread within bacterial populations.

Models: bacterial cells.

More information about Åsa Sjöling

Navigate to video: Åsa Sjöling, Professor in Prokaryotic Microbiology
Video (1:09)
Åsa Sjöling, Professor in Prokaryotic Microbiology

Per Sunnerhagen, Professor of Eukaryotic Molecular Biology

Adaptation to stress changes expression and localization of RNA, and may cause stress granules to form. These in turn affect gene expression and cell signaling. In cancer cells, they may change the response to therapy.
Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria and Plasmodium is a threat to treatment of infectious diseases. Novel antimicrobial molecules with novel mechanisms of action are sought.

Models: yeast, bacteria.

More information about Per Sunnerhagen

Markus Tamas, Professor of Eukaryotic Microbiology

Molecular and cellular biology of metal toxicity and tolerance. Front-line tools in molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology and functional genomics are used to gain insights into metal action and cellular tolerance mechanisms.

Models: yeast.

More information about Markus Tamas

Jonas Warringer, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Evolution

Molecules in tumorous and infectious cells change over time often causing treatments to fail. Understanding and addressing molecular evolution may reduce treatment resistance in cells and improve human health.

Models: yeast, bacteria.

More information about Jonas Warringer

Research for sustainable development

Our research in Molecular and Cellular Biology contributes to sustainable development in many different ways. Among others, we work with

Health and well-Being

Our researchers seek to discover new targets and strategies for addressing

  • Aging 
  • Bacterial infections and antibiotics resistance 
  • Cancer 
  • Developmental diseases
  • Heritable (genetic) diseases
  • Malaria
  • Metabolic diseases, including Diabetes, and fatty liver 
  • Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer.

Clean water and sanitation as well as Sustainable cities and communities

Our researchers develop new strategies for addressing

  • Metal and chemical pollution in land and sea
  • Waste water treatment.