Cell Biology and Physiology

In the Section for Cell Biology and Physiology, our research is aimed at deciphering the molecular and cellular bases of human diseases and genetic disorders as well as physiological adaptations in response to environmental challenges. Our work reaches from genome research, structure and function of cells, membrane transport, metabolism and cellular signaling networks over physical activity to the development, structural organization and function of tissues and organs.














Martin Werner Berchtold / Calcium Signaling Lab

We are interested in studying calcium-dependent signaling systems regulating cell proliferation, programmed cell death, intracellular trafficking, cancer cell membrane repair and heart muscle function. We focus on the calcium binding proteins calmodulin and ALG-2, playing central roles in a plethora of crucial signaling processes. The recent discovery of calmodulin mutations causing heart arrhythmia led us to study molecular mechanisms possibly disturbed by these mutations with the aim to discover new avenues for diagnostics and treatment of deadly heart diseases. Portrait of Martin Werner Berchtold

Soren Tvorup Christensen / The Cilia Group

We study the molecular mechanisms by which primary cilia assemble, disassemble, and function to coordinate cellular signalling networks during development and tissue homeostasis. Currently our work is focused on how the balanced activation of ciliary signalling is regulated by microtubule-dependent vesicular trafficking to and from cilia, and how defects in these processes are linked to cancer and developmental disorders, including congenital heart and brain diseases. Portrait of Soren Tvorup Christensen

Jacob B. Hansen / Metabolic Regulation Lab

We study the molecular control of differentiation, activation and metabolism of brown adipocytes. Our interest in brown adipose tissue biology derives from the striking ability of brown adipocytes to counteract obesity and insulin resistance in experimental animals and the observation that active brown fat is present in many adult humans. Ongoing projects revolve around metabolic regulation and signal transduction. Our aim is to uncover novel regulatory mechanisms through which brown adipose tissue can be exploited therapeutically. Portrait of Jacob B. Hansen

Karsten Kristiansen / Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Biomedicine

We use a combination of large scale genomics/metagenomics and bioinformatics analyses with state of the art molecular biology, animal models and human studies to unravel how the complex interplay between nutrients, the host genome, the gut microbiome and the immune system influences human health and diseases. The projects are performed in close collaboration with several national as well as international research groups in Europe, USA and China. Portrait of Karsten Kristiansen

Nadja Møbjerg / Møbjerg Lab

Our research activities are within comparative and integrative zoology with current focus on the microscopic tardigrades and cryptobiosis, a state of latent life, where metabolism has come to a reversible standstill. Our research covers investigations into molecular, physiological and anatomical adaptations to extreme environments including studies on the evolution of taxa, organs and molecules. The overall aim is to provide new insight into the underlying mechanisms and evolution of extreme adaptations, such as cryptobiosis. Portrait of Nadja Møbjerg

Ivana Novak / Signaling and Transport in Epithelia

We study the role of purinergic signaling in regulation of ion transport and other cellular processes in pancreas, an organ with vital roles in digestion and whole body metabolism. Our projects focus on ATP release mechanisms, selected purinergic receptors,  ion channels and transporters in exocrine, endocrine and stromal cells. Our aim is to elucidate their roles in pancreatic physiology and pathophysiology, including pancreatic cancer and diabetes. Long-term goal is to exploit purinergic signaling research to provide new therapeutic approaches for pancreatic diseases. Portrait of Ivana Novak

Lotte Bang Pedersen / The Cilia Group

We study the molecular mechanisms by which primary cilia assemble, disassemble, and function to coordinate cellular signalling networks during development and tissue homeostasis. Currently our work is focused on how the balanced activation of ciliary signalling is regulated by microtubule-dependent vesicular trafficking to and from cilia, and how defects in these processes are linked to cancer and developmental disorders, including congenital heart and brain diseases. Portrait of Lotte Bang Pedersen

Per Amstrup Pedersen / Membrane Proteins Group

The focus of our research is membrane proteins in science, medicine and biotechnology. Membrane proteins constitute around 1/3 of all proteins in any kind of cell and are responsible for the controlled transport of matter and information across membranes. Knowledge the structure and function of membrane proteins is therefore fundamental for understanding life. In addition membrane proteins constitute the target for the great majority of presently known drugs and are the most prominent lead in the discovery of new drugs. In addition to this the efficient transport capacity and high degree of specificity of membrane transporters poses a lot of unrealized potential for industrial separation and sensing processes. Portrait of Per Amstrup Pedersen

Stine Falsig Pedersen / The pH group

The overall goal of our research is to understand the structure-function dynamics and physiology/pathophysiology of mammalian pH-regulatory ion transporters, with emphasis on their roles in epithelial cancers. To reach this goal, we focus on a few selected transporters, in particular, the Na+/H+ exchanger NHE1 and the Na+,HCO3- cotransporter NBCn1. We collaborate extensively, allowing us to study these transporters from the gene- and single molecule structure and dynamics level over their cell biology, in complex 3D culture models, and eventually to animal models. Whenever possible, we iterate between transporter structure-function dynamics and cell biological, physiological, and pathophysiological/clinical data to obtain an integrated understanding of transporter regulation and roles. Portrait of Stine Falsig Pedersen

Henriette Pilegaard / Pilegaard Lab

Our research aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of physical activity in preventing lifestyle related metabolic diseases. This involves metabolic regulation in skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue and the liver. Our focus is the impact of 1) the transcriptional coactivator PGC-1α in exercise training-induced adaptations and mitochondrial function in aging and during high fat diet 2) the myokine interleukin-6 in substrate recruitment during metabolic challenges and 3) of pyruvate dehydrogenase in metabolic flexibility. Portrait of Henriette Pilegaard

Lone Rønnov-Jessen / Epithelial-Stromal Interaction Lab

With the aim of understanding development, homeostasis and carcinogenesis in human breast, we study cells from normal and cancerous breast with emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms in epithelial-stromal interaction. Ongoing projects focus on regulation and function of stem cells, female sex hormone receptors, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and epithelial morphogenesis. Portrait of Lone Rønnov-Jessen

Jakob G Knudsen / Knudsen Lab

We study the counter regulatory hormone glucagon. Glucagon plays a vital role for maintaining plasma glucose levels during fasting, but is also implicated in the development of diabetes. Currently, we are interested in the control of glucagon release form pancreatic alpha-cells, and how this regulation is affected by changes in whole body metabolism. Portrait of Jakob G Knudsen

Mirna Perez-Moreno / Epithelial Cell Biology Lab

Using skin as a model system, mouse genetics, and human samples, our research aims to understand how the interactions between epithelial progenitor cells, and also with their surrounding microenvironment, sustain skin homeostasis, regeneration, and when perturbed lead to cancer. This information may provide insights into the future development of regenerative and anti-cancer therapies. Portrait of Mirna Perez-Moreno

Kristian Agmund Haanes / The Sensory Biology Group

We direct our research efforts toward the physiological processes of sensory nerves, placing special emphasis on pain-transmitting neurons associated with the trigeminal ganglion. These neurons utilize common biological pathways for signal transmission, adaptation, and protective mechanisms. Our current research focuses on the pathophysiology of migraine pain and the accompanying sensory disturbances. In addition, we investigate the vasculature innervated by these sensory nerves, aiming to identify approaches that enhance resistance to ischemic injuries, such as those occurring in stroke events. Kristian Agmund Haanes












CBP is engaged in several research centers as well as excellence and synergy programs with focus on interdisciplinary research.

Center for Advanced Bioimaging (CAB) Denmark, UCPH (Ivana Novak)

NOVO Synergy program (Stine Falsig Pedersen)
SYNERGY: Investigating the potential of the protein-membrane co-structural dynamics.

The Advanced National Danish Technology Foundation (Per Amstrup Pedersen)
Industrial Biomimetics in Sensing and Separation (IBISS)

The Innovation Foundation (Per Amstrup Pedersen)
Membrane Energy Technologies (MEMENTO) 

UCPH Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research (Søren Tvorup Christensen and Lotte Bang Pedersen)
Global genes, local concerns: Legal, ethical and scientific challenges in cross-national biobanking exploitation.

Funding from the Danish Research Councils

Advanced Life in extreme Environments (ALIEN) (
Nadja Møbjerg)

Calmodulin mutations causing sudden cardiac death (Martin Werner Berchtold)

Cellular Hubs (Stine Falsig Pedersen)

Ciliopathies and congenital heart disease: the role of novel ciliary proteins in signaling and cardiogenesis (Søren Tvorup Christensen and Lotte Bang Pedersen)

Coordination of PDGFRα and TGFβ signaling at the primary cilium (Søren Tvorup Christensen and Lotte Bang Pedersen)

Extrachromosomal circular DNA - origin and impact on eukaryotic genome stability (Birgitte Regenberg)

Impact of exercise training on hepatic ER stress (Henriette Pilegaard)

Mitochondrial quality control (Henriette Pilegaard)

Small Molecules of Metabolism and ATP responses in living cells (Ivana Novak)



























Cell Biology and Physiology
Universitetsparken 13
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Søren Tvorup Christensen
Email: stchristensen@bio.ku.dk
Phone: +45 3533 0255
Mobile: +45 5132 2997