In addition to the 85 billion neurons in the brain, we find at least as many glial cells. The research focus of GliaLab is to discover physiological roles of a subtype of glial cells called astrocytes, in the awake-behaving and sleeping brain as well as identifying roles of astrocytes in brain disorders.
Astrocytes serve a wide array of functions in the brain. On the one hand, they are caretakers of the brain by controlling the composition of the extracellular fluids. In particular they are key for removing excess neurotransmitter and K+ in relation to neuronal activity. Moreover, they display a rich repertoire of cellular signaling, that likely enable them to more direcly interact with neurons.
Our main research interests are as follows:
What are the roles of astrocytic Ca2+ signals in sleep and brain state changes?
Since the discovery that astrocytes can react with and communicate by local or spreading Ca2+ elevations, a range of different mechanisms have been linked to these signals. For instance,
such signals have been proposed to influence neuronal network activity by release of transmitter substances in, or close by, synapses. Similarly, astrocytic Ca2+ signals have been proposed to influence vascular tone.
Currently, we're trying to outline the role of astroglial Ca2+ signals in brain/sleep state changes and in memory encoding and consolidation.
How does the extracellular fluid circulate in the brain parenchyma?
In 2013 a seminal paper described extracellular fluid may circulate from the perivascular spaces of artieries, through the parenchyma, before exiting the brain, taking waste products with it. This circulation system, or 'brain washing' system, was coined the 'glymphatic system', and was proposed to play a role in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology.
To answer these questions we work with advanced imaging techniques. Most importantly, two-photon microscopy in awake head-fixed mice, in combination with electrophysiology and molecular strategies.
What are the astrocytic mechanisms involved in cortical spreading depression (CSD) and epilepsy?
CSD is the phenomenon underlying the perceptual disturbances of the migraine aura, and although first discovered over 70 years ago, key aspects of these events are still unknown. We are currently trying to identify the roles of astrocytes in CSD. We are also investigating putative roles of astrocytes in seizure propagation and in epileptogenesis.
Rune Enger , MD, PhD
Associate Professor in Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo
cand.med. 2011, University of Oslo
PhD 2016, Oslo University Hospital/University of Oslo
Postdoc 2016-2019 Oslo University Hospital
Laura Bojarskaite, PhD
BSc in Biochemistry, Vilnius University
MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
PhD 2020, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo
Luca Bordoni, PhD
PhD 2019, Aarhus University
2020-2021: Postdoc Aarhus University, Laboratory of Renal Cell Remodelling
Didrik B. Dukefoss, MD, PhD
cand.med., University of Oslo
PhD 2022, University of Oslo
Aree Witoelar, PhD
PhD 2010, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Postdoc 2010-2014, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Trondheim, Norway
Postdoc 2014-2018, University of Oslo
Researcher, 2018-current, University of Oslo
Cecilie G. Nome, MD
Bachelor degree in nutrition 2012, University of Oslo
cand.med. 2018, University of Oslo
Vegard Broen, MD
Cecilie B. Bakketun, MD
cand.med. 2016, University of Oslo
Alexander Brana Rosic, MD
cand.med., University of Oslo
Lena Roth, PhD
PhD 2013, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg
2013-2014: Postdoc, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg
2016-2019: Postdoc, University of Oslo
Lab Engineer (affiliated)
Vidar Jensen, PhD
MSc 1992, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo
PhD (Dr.Philos) 1999, University of Oslo
1999-2002: Postdoc, University of Oslo
2002-2022: Researcher, University of Oslo
2022-present: Senior Engineer, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Oslo
We are always interested in meeting dedicated people, so please contact if you would like to learn more about the research and life in GliaLab. We will be hiring a PhD student soon, please contact for information.