Welcome to the home page of Tor Erik Rusten's group Tumor-Host Biology

Our overarching interest is to understand the mechanisms by which tumor and host cells
mutually engage each other in reciprocal interactions to facilitate carcinogenesis through
cell signaling and transfer of nutrients.

Tumor-host interactions occur both locally in the tumor microenvironment and systemically
causing organ dysfunction such as in cancer cachexia - the metabolic reprogramming and
catastrophic wasting of muscle and adipose tissue. We believe that studying these processes
in the fruit fly animal model system can uncover new ways to intercept carcinogenesis and
systemic effects initiated by tumor presence.

Maren Lie, Petter Holland, Julia Simensen, Rojyar Khezri, Tor Erik Rusten, Viola H. Lobert, Szabolcs Takáts, Caroline Dillard, Riccarda Schimanski, Ashish Jain, Fergal O’Farrell.


 Some of our models

 Model Systems

In order to mechanistically understand how tumor and non-tumor cells and organs
communicate to foster tumor growth and cause cancer cachexia we develop novel genetic
tools in Drosophila. We now have tools in hand to selectively and independently manipulate
tumor and either tumor microenvironment or somatic organs in vivo. We employ a wide array
of techniques and collaborate with experts in cell biology, genetics, imaging, tumor biology,
metabolism, bioinformatics and clinical cancer cachexia in order to survey, measure and
mechanistically understand these complex aspects of cancer biology.
In parallel to in vivo work in flies, we utilize human organoid and spheroid cell culture to
understand cellular mechanisms controlling cell polarity, morphogenesis and cell-cell
communication, the disruption of which is set off by cancer-driving mutations and underlies
early tumor development.

See the awesome videos WHY USE THE FLY? and SMALL FLY BIG IMPACT or read more about the use of Drosophila in science here.

We collaborate with the research groups of:

  • Eyal Gottlieb, TICC, Haifa, Israel
  • Rita Sousa-Nunes, King's College, London, UK
  • Todd schoborg, University of Wyoming, Wyoming, US
  • Christos Samakovlis, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Terje Johansen, University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Heinrich Jasper, Genentech, California, US
  • Harald Stenmark, Institute for Cancer Research, OUH, Oslo, Norway
  • Jorrit Enserink, Institute for Cancer Research, OUH, Oslo, Norway
  • Jørgen Wesche,Institute for Cancer Research, OUH, Oslo, Norway
  • Anne Simonsen, Univeristy of Oslo, Norway

Selected publications

Contact information

Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, Institute for Cancer Research
The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, N-0379 Oslo, Norway
Phone +47 22 78 19 20 (Rusten), Switchboard: +47 22 93 40 00
Email: Tor.Erik.Rusten@rr-research.no

Open positions Positions available

Post Docs and PhD students

We are always looking for talented and motivated Post Docs and PhD students that wants to join the lab.

If you are interested please contact Tor Erik Rusten by email well in advance to be able to secure funding.

Funding opportunities

Post Doctoral fellowship:

PhD fellowships: