Behrendt Group

​​Behrendt Group is focused on cellular invasion and matrix degradation through extracellular and endocytic mechanisms, with particular emphasis to collagen matrices.

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The group is part of the Cancer Invasion section at the Finsen Laboratory.

Research focus

The work includes multidisciplinary studies on the protein structure, cellular function and pathophysiological role of collagen receptors and collagenolytic proteases with importance for cancer invasion. The proteins particularly in focus are uPARAP/Endo180 and other endocytic receptors for extracellular matrix proteins, as well as membrane type matrix metalloproteases (MT-MMPs). In addition to clarifying biological function, our work aims at developing model therapeutics against these proteins and using those in mouse cancer model systems. Furthermore, we explore the possibility to utilize endocytic processes for killing or inactivation of cells that possess specific surface receptors.

Key results​

Our key findings have been the discovery of the endocytic collagen receptor uPARAP/Endo180 and the demonstration of the importance of this receptor in matrix and tissue turnover during several normal physiological and pathological events.

Group leader: Niels Behrendt

With an educational background in protein chemistry, Niels Behrendt has performed extensive studies on the structure, molecular function and pathophysiological role of a number of matrix degrading enzymes and cellular receptors. Currently, the studies comprise several levels from basic protein chemistry and molecular biology to animal cancer models.

Research projects

  • ​Interfering with matrix degradation in vivo using model therapeutics in mouse cancer models. Postdoc, PhD Maria C. Melander
  • ​Utilization of endocytic receptors for drug delivery and uptake of gene expression modifiers. Postdoc, PhD Christoffer Nielsen
  • Elucidation of the composite action of proteolysis and endocytic matrix breakdown with particular emphasis on tissue remodeling and cancer invasion
  • Guest researcher Isabelle Bourgot 
  • Novel roles of endocytic collagen receptors 
  • Master student Kirstine Sandal
  • The collagen receptor, uPARAP/Endo180 and related receptors 
  • This is a common denominator in the projects of all group members

Research grants

  • ​​3-year grant from the Danish Medical Research Council, granted for 2014-2017, d.kr. 2,568.960.
  • 1-year grant from the Danish Cancer Society, granted for 2015, d.kr. 300,000
  • 2-year grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, granted for 2013-2014, d.kr. 800,000
  • 2-year grant from the Lundbeck Foundation, granted for 2013-2014, d.kr. 634,600
  • Grant from the “Fonden til Fremme af Eksperimentel cancerforskning”, 2013, d​.kr. 210,000
  • 1-year grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, granted for 2012, d.kr. 500,000
  • 3-year grant from the Danish Cancer Society, granted for 2009-2011, d.kr. 1,650,000
  • 3-year grant from the Danish Medical Research Council, granted for 2008-2010, d.kr. 1,082,550
  • 1-year grant from the Danish Cancer Society, granted for 2008, d.kr. 500,000


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