Dr. Maria is a researcher in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen funded by the ERC through EvoConBiO, exploring how organelle genomes have evolved over time, and how modern-day cells control these populations to survive. Her background is cancer research and genetics from university of Oslo. She did her research at The Francis Crick institute in London and later worked as core facility leader at the cancer institute in London, United Kingdom. Before that she did her research at the Norwegian cancer hospital in Oslo and had academic positions in between. On her last position she worked in an academic position at Northern Virginia community college at the faculty of health and sciences, Virginia, Unites States.
Currently, she is applying for financial support for her new project title of "Ethnicity and Cancer Screening in Norway, Integrating the Genetics of Race and Ethnicity into Cancer Research" which addresses the expansion of cancer screening in Norway, and specifically investigates the influence of the "mixed-race" group of ethnic Norwegian citizens and genetic factors on cancer incidence and screening results. By integrating the genetics of race and ethnicity in research framework, Dr. Maria believe that this will aim to provide insights that contribute to more personalized and advanced cancer screening strategies. The method and idea are ground-breaking and new.
Dr Maria was in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute in the United states studying the variations in cancer burden associated with racial/ethnic identity. These studies are well documented in the United States showing that certain population racial groups suffer more from cancer and its effects. This is known as cancer disparities or cancer health disparities. Cancer disparities happen when there are higher rates of new cancer diagnoses and/or cancer deaths between population groups of according to race and heredity factors. These can include different racial/ethnic, sex, age, and socioeconomic groups.
Dr Maria's previous studies from the cancer institute in UK were focused on inherited faulty gene within population of different ethnicity. The studies showed that there is usually a pattern of specific types of cancer running in family trees and pedigree. Her visions has bee focusing on the strength of family history depends on who in the family has had cancer, the types of cancer they have had, how old they were at diagnosis, and how closely related the relatives with cancer are to each other. The more relatives who have had the same or related types of cancer, and the younger they were at diagnosis, the stronger someone’s family history is. This means that it is more likely that the cancers are being caused by an inherited faulty gene.
Her interest outside work hours is painting, art and she is certified free glacier diver and active
Dr Maria Johansen is currently giving advice and guidance to cancer patients at Vardesenteret, Haukeland University Hospital funded by the Norwegian Cancer society.
- (2016). Inter- and intraspecific variation in body- and genome size in calanoid copepods from temperate and arctic waters. Ecology and Evolution. 5585-5595.
- (2015). Temperature and developmental responses of body and cell size in Drosophila; effects of polyploidy and genome configuration. Journal of Thermal Biology. 1-14.
- (2015). New distinct compartments in the G2 phase of the cell cycle defined by the levels of γH2AX. Cell Cycle. 3261-3269.
- (2014). Multigenerational genomic responses to dietary phosphorus and temperature in Daphnia. Genome. 439-448.
- (2013). Large Daphnia at lower temperature: a role for cell size and genome configuration? Genome. 511-519.
- (2012). DNA condensation, genome size, and nuclear volume of Daphnia.
- Leinaas, H. P., Johansen, M., Gabrielsen, T. M., & Hessen, D. O. (2016). Inter‐and intraspecific variation in bodyand genome size in calanoid copepods from temperate and arctic waters. Ecology and Evolution, 6(16), 5585-5595.
- Rein, I. D., Stokke, C., Jalal, M., Myklebust, J. H., Patzke, S., & Stokke, T. (2015). New distinct compartments in the G2 phase of the cell cycle defined by the levels of γH2AX. Cell Cycle 14.20 (2015): 3261-3269.
- Filby, A., Begum, J., Johansen, M., & Day, W. (2015). Appraising the suitability of succinimidyl and lipophilic fluorescent dyes to track proliferation in non-quiescent cells by dye dilution. Methods. (2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.02.016
- Johansen, M., Andersen, T., & Hessen, D. O. (2015). Temperature and developmental responses of body and cell size in Drosophila; effects of polyploidy and genome configuration. Journal of Thermal Biology, 51, 114.
- Johansen, M., Shala, N., Wojewodzic, M.W., Andersen, T., and Hessen, D.O. “Multigenerational genomic responses to dietary phosphorous and temperature in Daphnia”. Genome, Published on the web 15 October 2014, 10.1139/gen-2014-0047
- Johansen, M., Wojewodzic, M.W., Laane, C.M.M., and Hessen, D.O. “Larger Daphnia at lower temperature; A role for cell size and genome configuration?” Genome, 56(9): 511-9, 2013.
- Johansen, M. Genome and cell size responses to temperature in ectotherms. PhD thesis. www.duo.uio.no, 2013, http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-40492, URN: NBN:no-40492.
- Henriksen, J., Stabell, M., Meza-Zepeda, L. A., et al. “Identification of target genes for wild type and truncated HMGA2 in mesenchymal stem-like cells”. BMC cancer, 10(1): 329, 2010.
- Müller C.R., Paulsen E.B., Noordhuis P., et al. “Potential treatment of liposarcomas with the MDM2 antagonist Nutlin 3A”. International journal of cancer 121: 199-205, 2007. o
- Čunderlíková, B., Wahlqvist, R., Berner, A., et al. “Detection of urinary bladder cancer with flow cytometry and hexaminolevulinate in urine samples”. Blackwell Synergy, Cytopathology, 18 (2): 87- 95, 2007.
- Edin, N.J., Olsen, D.R., Stokke, T., Pettersen, E.O. “Recovery of low-dose hyper-radiosensitivity following a small priming dose depends on priming dose-rate”. International Journal of Low Radiation, 4(1), 2007.
- Patzke, S., Stokke, T., Aasheim, H.C. “CSPP and CSPP-L associate with centrosomes and microtubules and differently affect microtubule organization”. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 209(1): 199–210, 2006.
- Johansen, M. Cell cycle dependent phosphorylation and focus-formation of histone H2AX in X-irradiated malignant B-lymphocyte cell lines: detection and repair of ionizing radiation induced DNA double strand breaks. Master thesis. www.duo.uio.no, 2005. http://urn.nb.no/URN: NBN: no-10990. BIBSYS: 051552884
Project Acronym: ECSN
Title: Ethnicity and Cancer Screening in Norway,
Integrating the Genetics of Race and Ethnicity into Cancer Research
Keywords: Cancer, ethnicity, genetics, race, cancer screening, population dynamics, mixed-race, Norway
The demographic landscape of Norway, like many other nations around the world, has undergone a profound transformation in recent decades, driven by an accelerating trend that is reshaping the very fabric of society: the remarkable increase in the mixed-race population. Norway, traditionally known for its rich cultural heritage and relatively homogeneous population, has been experiencing a surge in the number of individuals who proudly represent a blend of multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds. This demographic shift reflects a broader global phenomenon, where increased mobility, globalization, and shifting social norms have given rise to a truly diverse and dynamic Norwegian society. This shift in the racial and ethnic composition of Norway's population is emblematic of the profound changes occurring across the globe in the 21st century. What was once a predominantly homogenous nation is now witnessing the emergence of a vibrant mixed-race population, challenging conventional notions of identity, heritage, and culture. As these individuals navigate the intersections of their diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, their experiences become a microcosm of the broader societal transformation that Norway is undergoing. In this era of globalization and increased international migration, Norway's mixed-race population is a testament to the interconnectedness of our world. As the children of diverse unions grow up in Norway, they contribute to the rich tapestry of this society, bringing with them a multitude of traditions, languages, and worldviews. This shift is a testament to Norway's ability to adapt and embrace change, as well as its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The emergence of a burgeoning mixed-race population in Norway presents a range of complex and multifaceted questions, touching on issues of identity, belonging, and cultural diversity. It is a phenomenon that has the potential to reshape social dynamics, challenge stereotypes, and redefine traditional notions of race and ethnicity. The experiences of mixed-race individuals in Norway are emblematic of the global conversation on identity and offer a unique perspective on the evolving nature of contemporary societies. The intersection of ethnicity, genetics, and cancer screening is an increasingly intricate and compelling realm of inquiry within the field of contemporary medical research. In the Norwegian context, a nation celebrated for its progressive healthcare infrastructure and a population characterized by its diverse ethnic composition, this convergence represents a compelling frontier in the quest to unravel the complex interplay of genetic diversity, sociocultural factors, and healthcare disparities in the realm of cancer prevention and care. Cancer, as a disease, is known to be influenced by a multitude of genetic and environmental factors. When viewed through the lens of ethnicity, it reveals a compelling tapestry of disparities and opportunities. This research seeks to leverage the wealth of genetic data, epidemiological resources, and sociocultural insights to venture deeper into the heart of the intricate relationship between ethnicity, genetics, and cancer screening in Norway.
At the core of this research paradigm is a multidisciplinary approach that bridges the realms of genetics, epidemiology, and sociocultural determinants. It endeavors to uncover genetic markers that may be distinct within various ethnic groups present in the Norwegian population, shedding light on potential genetic predispositions that may underlie disparities in cancer risk and outcomes. Simultaneously, it delves into the complex sociocultural landscape, exploring the impact of cultural beliefs, healthcare access, language barriers, and socio-economic factors on cancer screening behaviors and health outcomes. Furthermore, this research will examine the role of healthcare policies and guidelines in shaping cancer screening practices among individuals from diverse mixed ethnic backgrounds in Norway. It underscores the intricate dynamics between genetics, sociocultural factors, and healthcare policies, and how they collectively influence the equitable delivery of cancer prevention and management strategies.
The integration of genetic data with sociocultural determinants positions this research at the cutting edge of healthcare innovation, offering the potential for more personalized and equitable cancer screening strategies. This interdisciplinary exploration serves as a catalyst for broader discussions within the field of medical research, emphasizing the pivotal role of genetics and sociocultural dynamics in shaping the landscape of cancer prevention and care. It calls upon the global medical community to recognize the significance of these intricate relationships in the pursuit of improved healthcare and cancer outcomes, transcending boundaries and advancing the frontiers of scientific understanding.
Variations in cancer burden associated with racial/ethnic identity are well documented in the United States; of these, increased cancer mortality rates among African American individuals are arguably the most alarming. Research from the United States has shown that certain population groups suffer more from cancer and its effects. This is known as cancer disparities or cancer health disparities. Cancer disparities happen when there are higher rates of new cancer diagnoses and/or cancer deaths between population groups. These can include different racial/ethnic, sex, age, and socioeconomic groups.