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University of Bergen: Institute of Internal Medicine

The Institute, located at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, is involved in Lipgene through the Lipid Research Group. Rolf K. Berge is professor (PhD) at the Section of medical biochemistry, and head of the Lipid Research Group involved in basic and clinical research.

A close collaboration exists between basic researchers and clinical investigators facilitating translational research within different areas. The main research areas are in nutrition, life-style related disorders and effects of biologically active agents such as modified fatty acids on metabolic disorders.

Modified sulfur containing fatty acids like tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA), have been studied in detail for more than 15 years, exploring their beneficial effects on lipid disorders. The research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of modified fatty acids compared to natural fatty acids and which physiological parameters that are affected. Of major importance is the modification of mitochondrial function, in addition to cell specific changes in proliferation and apoptosis.
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Additionally, the Lipid Research Group is involved in dietary intervention studies exploring the health effects of fish consumption and the importance of their fatty acid composition in relation to cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases.

The Lipid Research Group has facilities for a range of advanced analytical methods including determination of a vast number of lipid metabolites and modified fatty acids using HPLC and gas chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The research group has extensive experience in determining a large number of anti-oxidants and markers of oxidative stress including isoprostanes.

A special focus is placed on analysis of mitochondrial function and mitochondrial uncoupling employing high resolution respirometry. An OROBOROS® Oxygraph facilitates sensitive measurements of oxygen consumption in biopsies, cells and mitochondrial fractions and requires little biological material.

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Microarray analysis is performed in collaboration with the Norwegian Microarray consortium located at the University Hospital of Bergen, which offer support for microarray experiments, data processing and bioinformatics analysis. Studies on functional genomics are conducted in collaboration with the Proteomic Unit (PROBE) at the University of Bergen.

Prof. Berge is the coordinator of a Marie-Curie Training site in "Bioactive fatty acids in health and disease". Prof Berge has further been a member of the EC COST-918 action: Body weight and energy expenditure.

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