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Dr Birgitta Olofsson

Dr Birgitta Olofsson

Visiting scientist, Senior Investigator Scientist MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Associate Lecturer Newnham College

Room S22/S25
LMB 2S439

Office Phone: 01223 (3)36602 or 267562

Research Interests

My work aims to dissect the molecular and neural mechanisms by which food provides post-ingestive feedback to modulate neural properties and subsequent foraging.

To thrive animals need to modify foraging and food choice behavior according to the perceived nutrient value of a food source. For example, as a patch of food is depleted, animals must decide when it is advantageous to leave that patch and seek better feeding opportunities. Similarly, if a food source is deficient in specific nutrients, or causes sickness, animals can switch their response to the food from attraction to avoidance. Such decision-making requires feedback systems that modify behavior by combining assessments of food quality and abundance with information on the animal’s internal nutritional state. I seek to understand the molecular and neuronal links between the physiology of an animal and the plasticity of its responses to food. Because of the complexity of these decision-making processes, I am using C. elegans as a model.

Key Publications

Busch, K.E. and Olofsson, B. (2012) Should I stay or should I go? Worm 1 (3) Invited Review

Milward, K., Busch, K.E., Murphy,  J. R., de Bono, M. and Olofsson, B. (2011) Neuronal and molecular substrates for optimal foraging in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108(51): 20672-20677.

 Vázquez-Manrique, R.P., Legg, J.C., Olofsson, B., Ly, S., and Baylis, H.A. (2010). Improved gene targeting in C. elegans using counter-selection and Flp-mediated marker excision. Genomics. 95:37-46

 Cohen, M., Reale, V., Olofsson,B.,  Andrew Knights,A., Evans, P.and de Bono, M.(2009) Coordinated regulation of foraging and metabolism in C. elegans by RFamide neuropeptide signalling. Cell Metabolism 9, 375-385


Other Publications

Olofsson, B. and de Bono, M. (2008). Dozy worms and sleepy flies. Curr. Biol. 18(5): R204-R206. Review

Page, D. and Olofsson, B. (2008). Multiple roles for apoptosis facilitating condensation of the Drosophila ventral nerve cord. Genesis. 46(2):61-68

Olofsson, B. and Page, D. (2005). Condensation of the central nervous system in embryonic Drosophila is inhibited by blocking hemocyte migration or neural activity. Dev. Biol. 279:233-243

Ober, E.A., Olofsson, B., Makinen, T., Jin, S.W., Shoji, W., Koh, G.Y., Alitalo, K., and Stainier, D.Y. (2004). Vegfc is required for vascular development and endoderm morphogenesis in zebrafish. EMBO Rep. 5(1):78-84.

Aase, K., von Euler, G., Li, X., Ponten, A., Thoren, P., Cao,R., Cao, Y., Olofsson, B., Gebre-Medhin, S., Pekny, M., Alitalo, K., Betsholtz, C., and Eriksson, U. (2001) Vascular endothelial growth factor-B-deficient mice display an atrial conduction defect. Circulation. 104(3):358-64.

Olofsson, B., Jeltsch, M., Eriksson, U., and Alitalo, K. (1999) Current Biology of VEGF-B and VEGF-C. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 10:528-536. Review

Lymboussaki, A., Olofsson, B., Eriksson, U., and Alitalo, K. (1999) Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF-C show overlapping binding sites in embryonic endothelia and distinct sites in differentiated adult endothelia. Circ. Res. 85:992-9.

Makinen, M., Olofsson, B., Karpanen, T., Hellman,U., Soker, S., Klagsbrun, M., Eriksson, U., and Alitalo, K.(1999). Differential binding of Vascular endothelial growth factor B splice and proteolytic isoforms to neuropilin-1. J. Biol. Chem. 274:21217-21222.

Aase, K., Lymboussaki, A., Kaipainen, A., Olofsson, B., Alitalo, K., and Eriksson, U. (1999). Localization of VEGF-B in the mouse embryo suggests a paracrine role of the growth factor in the developing vasculature. Dev. Dyn. 215:12-25.

Lymboussaki,A., Partanen,T.A., Olofsson, B., Thomas-Crusells, J., Fletcher, C.D.M., M.W. de Waal, R., Kaipainen, A., and Alitalo, K. (1998). Expression of the Vascular endothelial growth factor C receptor VEGFR-3 in lymphatic endothelium of the skin and in vascular tumours. Am. J. Pathol. 153:395-403.

Olofsson, B., Korpelainen, E., Pepper, M. S., Mandiota, S. J., Aase, K., Kumar,V., Gunji,Y., Jeltsch M. M., Shibuya, M., Alitalo, K. and Eriksson, U. (1998). Vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B) binds to VEGF receptor-1 and regulates plasminogen activator activity in endothelial cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA .95:11709-11714.

Enholm, B., Paavonen, K., Ristimäki, A., Kumar, V., Gunji, Y., Klefstrom, J., Kivinen, L., Laiho, M., Olofsson, B., Joukov, V., Eriksson, U., Alitalo, K. (1997). Comparison of VEGF, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and Ang-1 mRNA regulation by serum, growth factors, oncoproteins and hypoxia. Oncogene. 14(20):2475-83.

Olofsson, B., Pajusola, K., von Euler, G., Chilov, D., Alitalo, K. and Eriksson, U. (1996). Genomic organization of the mouse. and human genes for vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B) and characterization of a second splice isoform. J Biol. Chem. 271:19310-19317.

Paavonen K, Horelli-Kuitunen N, Chilov D, Kukk E, Pennanen S, Kallioniemi OP, Pajusola K, Olofsson B, Eriksson U, Joukov V, Palotie A, Alitalo K. (1996) Novel human vascular endothelial growth factor genes VEGF-B and VEGF-C localize to chromosomes 11q13 and 4q34, respectively. Circulation. 93(6):1079-82.

Olofsson, B., Pajusola, K., Kaipainen, A., von Euler,G., Joukov,V., Saksela, O., Orpana, A., Pettersson, R.F., Alitalo, K., and Eriksson, U. (1996). Vascular endothelial growth factor B, a novel growth factor for endothelial cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:2576-2581.

Donovan, M., Olofsson, B., Gustafson, A.L., Dencker, L., Eriksson, U. (1995). The cellular retinoic acid binding proteins. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 53(1-6):459-65. Review