Sofie Mohlin

Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology, Researcher

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Our research group is intrigued by how we can utilize the setting of normal embryonic development to understand tumor initiation. We have a highly transdisciplinary approach, merging the worlds of developmental and cancer biology. 

Albeit rare, children and even newborns suffer from cancer. We focus on the childhood tumor form neuroblastoma, originating from cells of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) in turn derived from the transient neural crest stem cell population. We however do not know why, how and where these tumors develop during embryogenesis.

Our main model organism is the chick embryo, ideal for functional and translational studies on neural crest development. Chick embryos are easily accessible, and their nervous system development is similar to that of human embryos at comparable stages. To complement the in vivo system of chick embryos, we also employ human cell cultures, chick neural crest derived in vitro crestospheres and in vivo mice models.

Shortly, our overall aim is to understand the function of SNS related proteins in cancer and vice versa, i.e. the function of cancer related proteins in SNS development. Our current projects focus on; 1) elucidating the role of neuroblastoma associated protein HIF-2a in neural crest development and its potential role in tumor onset, 2) how trunk neural crest specific genes can function as tumor suppressor genes in neuroblastoma, and 3) develop inducible tumor models using chick embryos.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

UKÄ subject classification

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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