Brain Tumor Biology - Junior Group

The junior group Brain Tumor Biology was established in 2013 and is headed by Petra Hamerlik

Research focus

Despite concerted world-wide efforts and numerous drugs entering clinical trials for glioblastoma (GBM) every year, patient prognosis remains dismal with median survival rates of approximately 15 months.

GBM is notoriously known for its rampant genomic instability, invasive growth and therapeutic resistance. Regardless of recent advances in our understanding of this deadly disease, molecular mechanisms underpinning high recurrence rates and treatment resistance are poorly understood.

A number of pre-clinical models has shown promising results using molecularly targeted drugs, however, the same drugs used later as as single agents failed to provide survival benefit when tested in clinical trials. It is believed that the cellular and molecular heterogeneity of GBM tumors is playing important role in resistance and therefore simultaneous inhibition of a number of therapeutic targets is necessary.

Brain Tumor Biology - Junior Group

The Team - The Beginning

Our previous studies have shown exceptionally high levels of baseline DNA damage in GBM tumors and constitutive activation of DNA damage responses (DDR).

We and others have shown that successful targeting of these responses impairs the survival and tumorigenic potential of GBM cells in pre-clinical models. Since ionizing radiation (IR) represents standard of care and resistance to IR depends on DDR proficiency, we hypothesized that targeting DDR components will result in radio-sensitization and so more efficient eradication of aggressive and genetically instable GBM cells.

In order to better understand the mechanisms underpinning radio-resistance and aggressive growth of GBM tumors, we use unique models (primary and slice cultures, orthotopic mouse xenografts developed in our laboratory) and the state-of-art technologies including high-throughput microscopy screening, DNA- and RNA- sequencing and proteomics (MS).

Our ultimate goal is the identification of novel druggable targets with prognostic and/or predictive significance and their implementation into clinic via collaboration with local clinicians.

Brain Tumor Biology - Junior Group
Brain Tumor Biology - Junior Group
Lab members ‘ The Glio-fighters’

Laboratory head:

Petra Hamerlik, PhD

Lab manager/Research assistant:

Kamilla E. Jensen

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Rikke D. Rasmussen

PhD students:

Elisabeth A. Obara
Signe R. Michaelsen
Mikkel Staberg

Medical research year students:

Christopher Meulengracht
Tahmina Khwajazada
Ali Toma


Raphael Al-Najaar
Aleena Azam
Madhavsai K. Gajjar
Julie L. Karottki
Marina Cihova

Additional information

Scientific Publications