The Michael Sars Centre
The Michael Sars Centre was established in 1997 as an independent research centre, and on January 1, 2023, it was incorporated into the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen. As one of the first partners of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in 2003, the Michael Sars Centre serves as a national strategical asset for Norwegian marine life sciences. We aim to establish, strengthen, and leverage local, national, and international networks through specific activities, including collaborative research, joint training, and scientific exchange.
The Centre studies the unique molecular and cellular biology of marine organisms within the broad field of Marine Life Sciences ranging from molecular, cellular, and developmental biology to neuroscience, genomics, systems biology, and evolution. Our scientists deploy diverse and cutting-edge techniques and approaches including custom-made animal cultures, electron and light microscopy, quantitative image analysis, genome editing, and genomics, including from single cells.
In June 2003, the Michael Sars Centre became the first partner of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The partnership facilitates scientific exchange and supports areas of common interest of the two institutes, opening up new directions for research, training and collaboration. EMBL is represented on the Centre's Scientific Advisory Committee and Board and has an active role in advising and evaluating the development and progress of the Michael Sars Centre.
The partnership focuses on several key areas:
- Joint scientific exchange of information on current projects, future collaborations, career development, and personnel exchange.
- Building institutional partnerships to enhance interaction between EMBL and member states.
- Facilitating ambitious joint research projects whose goals can only be accomplished through a coordinated European effort.
- Co-development and access to new integrated experimental services and data resources.
1) Muscle and epithelial formation in the Drosophila embryo. 2) Changing shapes – metamorphosis of a sea anemone. 3) Life in the sea, a plankton cell.
We use CRISPR/Cas9, imaging, single cell genomics and modeling to study multipotent cardiopharyngeal progenitors and cellular behaviors in the ascidian Ciona.
With the new model system Oikopleura, we try to understand how simple animals evolved from more complex ancestors.
We aim to understand the cellular and molecular links between growth, reproduction and food availability using the simple sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.
Our group is studying the evolution and function of the nervous system in urochordates, using modern neurobiological and genetic Toolkits.
Our group utilizes marine organisms to reveal the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the evolutionary origin of synapses and neurons.
Our group studies the biophysical function and evolution of neurotransmitter receptors, using molecular phylogenetics, chemical biology, and electrophysiology.