Kirsten Skarstad's research group: DNA Replication and Chromosome Dynamics

Kirsten SkarstadGroup leader
Kirsten Skarstad
Group leader

DNA replication is the process by which an organism's DNA is copied to produce an identical or nearly identical copy of itself. This fundamental biological process is essential for the transmission of genetic information from one generation to the next and for the growth, development, and maintenance of living organisms. However, the intricate machinery responsible for DNA replication is often confronted by various challenges as it navigates the chromosome. These obstacles can lead to stalling or, in severe cases, a complete breakdown of the replication apparatus, resulting in the creation of lethal double-strand breaks that necessitate repair for the cell's survival.

In bacteria, such breakdowns can be triggered by the presence of antibiotics or other genotoxic substances, and some of the ensuing repair processes unfortunately lead to the emergence and acquisition of antibiotic resistance. Our research focuses on proteins involved in bacterial stress responses, DNA replication and repair processes, aiming to unearth new insights into bacterial survival and antimicrobial resistance mechanisms. In a wider perspective the aim of the group is to use this knowledge to combat disease. We seek to identify novel targets and pathways that can be instrumental for the development of antibiotic treatments, thereby contributing to the ongoing battle against antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. 

The Skarstad group collaborates closely with the Bjørås group and the two groups have several inter-linked projects.

Skarstad group and associated members from the Bjørås group.


Research projects:

  • Mechanisms of DNA dynamics and DNA repair through the SOS-response. Project leaders: Kirsten Skarstad, James Booth and Emily Helgesen
  • Novel interaction partners of the bacterial sliding clamp. Project leaders: Kirsten Skarstad and Emily Helgesen
  • Combinatorial antibiotic treatment. Project leaders: Kirsten Skarstad and Jørgen V. Bjørnholt
  • Development of novel antibiotics. Project leaders: Kirsten Skarstad, Emily Helgesen and James Booth

J Bacteriol. 2016 Mar 31;198(8):1305-16. 

Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Mar 11;43(5):2730-43.

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 12;11(1):474

Time-lapse of DNA supercompaction caused by antibiotic treatment


Contact information:
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Sognsvannsveien 20, NO-0372 Oslo, Norway