Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

International network and affiliated investigators

In CCBIO, we have extensive and increasing external collaboration. Activities such as international contacts and projects have been well established by all PIs.


Illustration of a doctor and a network of people all over the global map.

International affiliated researchers

In addition to standard project collaboration, CCBIO has organized a panel of 13 international affiliated researchers in the form of adjunct positions at CCBIO, for project support, advisory roles, participation in activities organized by the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies (basic courses, research seminars, annual symposium), and for mentoring inititatives (see short bios of each at the bottom of this page).

The first adjunct researchers recruited in 2015 (Arne Östman, Jean Paul Thiery) have interacted very well with the CCBIO environment with bilateral visits and project participation. Östman has received funding from the Norwegian Cancer Society for a postdoctoral fellow, establishing his own activity at CCBIO. Of the 11 researchers recruited in 2016, most of them have been actively engaged in various projects, primarily with a main link to one of the principal investigators and we expect these formalized international collaborations to yield ample results in the years to come.

International participation in publications

As a measure of the importance of external collaborations for CCBIO, we had international participation in 58% of the papers published in 2016. In comparison, we had national collaborators outside of Bergen in 31% of the papers. Of the international collaborators and co-authors, we have a significant over all participation from North America, EU countries, Australia and Asia.

Collaboration with institutions

Over several years, the PIs and research groups have had close collaborations with teams at top-ranking institutions abroad, such as Harvard Medical School, Stanford University, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, McGill University, and Scandinavian universities such as Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University and Lund University. Also, we have a close collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, through our associate PI at CCBIO, John Cairns.

Collaborations of the individual PI groups

Regarding individual projects, Kalland has for many years collaborated with teams at the University of Seattle (USA) and Zhejiang Iniversity, Hangzhou (China), in the studies of prostate cancer biology. Others include Thorsten Schlomm, Martini-Klinik (Hamburg), and Klaus Pantel, University of Hamburg (Germany). Schlomm and Pantel have been appointed as affiliated researchers at CCBIO. Also, Kalland has collaborated with the Weizman Institute, Rehovot (Israel).

Gullberg has for many years collaborated with B. Eckes, University of Cologne, in studies of the role of integrin a11 in fibrosis. Two other long-term collaborations have been running, one on tumor-stroma interactions in lung cancer with M-S Tsao, University of Toronto, and one on heart fibrosis with C. McCulloch, University of Toronto. More recently, Gullberg has established collaboration with Valerie Weaver at UCSF, and with Ritva Heljasvaara at the University of Oulu. Dr. Heljasvaara has been recruited as an affiliated researcher at CCBIO.

Reed has for a long time been collaborating with the University of California at Davis and with Uppsala University, on the physiology of interstitial fluid pressure and its regulation in tumors and other processes.

Johannessen has been collaborating with teams at the University of London. The group has an ongoing collaboration on biomarker validation in oral cancer with TATA Memorial Hospital and the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Mumbai (India) and the Koirala Memorial Hospital (Nepal). Further, the group has collaboration with the University of Maastricht, University of Khartoum and the eNose Company from the Netherlands, to develop an electronic nose device for detection of specific patterns of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in oral cancer patients.

Lorens has developed active collaboration with many teams worldwide, especially in the US after having worked in the pharma industry in California. In the Axl projects, he has collaborated more recently with Mark LaBarge and Garry Nolan at Standford University, Rolf Brekken at the University of Texas – Southwestern, and with S. Chouaib and J.P. Thiery at the Gustave Roussy in Paris. LaBarge and Brekken have been recruited as affiliated researchers at CCBIO. In addition to project collaboration, Lorens is also coordinating the collaboration between the Bergen-based pharma company BerGenBio and CCBIO, also with respect to international involvement and trial related projects.

Akslen has for many years been collaborating with Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. This collaboration first included the late director, Judah Folkman, followed by Randolph Watnick, Diane Bielenberg, and the current director, Marsha Moses. Projects have been focusing on micro-environmental biology in progressing tumors, especially related to prosaposin and thrombospondin-1 and have resulted in multiple joint papers. Akslen has collaborated for a long time with William Foulkes at McGill University (Canada) on genetic factors and biomarkers in breast cancer subtypes. More recently, collaboration with Arne Östman at the Karolinska Institute has been established, on the peri-vascular niche and related paracrine loops in malignant tumors. Akslen has also been collaborating with Rameen Beroukhim at the Broad Institute (MIT) on genetic factors in cancer. Watnick, Östman and Beroukhim have been recruited to CCBIO as affiliated researchers.

The Bergen Gynecologic Cancer Group (previously led by Salvesen) has been collaborating closely with the Broad Institute (MIT) for many years, especially with Matthew Meyerson and Rameen Beroukhim. Also, the group has collaborated extensively with many translational and clinical networks.

Gjertsen has been collaborating e.g. with FIMM (Finnish Institute of Molecular Medicine – EMBL Node) and with Nordic and international networks studying leukemia.

Straume has been collaborating with Romano Demicheli and Elia Biganzoli (Milano) on the impact and timing of breast surgery related to disease recurrence. Straume also collaborates with Jonathan Irish at Vanderbilt University, Nashville (USA) on CYToF (mass cytometry) analyses of patient derived plasma and tissue collected in clinical trials, and with Miles Miller at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard/ MIT on analyses of soluble Axl as a biomarker in patient derived plasma and tissue collected in clinical trials.

As we see it, CCBIO has an extensive international collaboration and networking to support our aims in individual projects as well as our educational and science culture efforts. In addition to the existing collaborative relations, we expect to benefit strongly form CCBIOs network of adjunct positions in the years to come.

Formalizing a network

Throughout 2016, CCBIO was in the process of formalizing its international network, mainly in the form of employing high ranking researchers within various fields of cancer research in 10% adjunct professor and researcher positions. CCBIO’s rationale with this network is to establish an array of experienced advisors on scientific projects, collaboration, networks, and research strategy, as well as to perform joint research in the forefront and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

Another important aim is to enable CCBIO’s Research School to have researchbased courses on the highest level and to enable co-supervision and exchange of research- and postdoctoral fellows.

By the end of 2015, Professors Arne Östman and Jean Paul Thiery had commenced their positions. During 2016, we have added another 11 highly ranked international affiliated investigators to our network, and have already experienced good results in terms of fruitful collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

Please find below short bios about all our affiliated investigators. 

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