Meet Jørn Sagen, VP Northern Region

Meet Jørn Sagen, VP Northern Region

Great to meet you, Dr Sagen, and welcome to the EASO Executive Committee where you have recently taken on the role of VP of the Northern Region.

Thank you. It is an honour to become a member the EASO Executive Comittee.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a 48 year old guy originally from Eastern Norway and now living in Bergen. In terms of my background, I am a specialist in laboratory medicine (clinical chemistry), and undertook my training at the Hormone Laboratory at Haukeland University Hospital, where I am the leader today!

My Ph.D. was undertaken in the Department of Paediatrics, and was related to genetic and clinical studies on monogenic diabetes, specifically MODY. My four year stint as a postdoc was in Bergen and Odense, Denmark, and also included two years at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas.

At that time, my primary research focus was aimed at transcriptional coregulators and their role in metabolism. When I returned to Bergen in 2010, I continued that work, but developed an increasing interest in obesity in addition to diabetes.

You appear to be a prolific research scientist. Can you tell us a bit about your recent publications?

In one of our recent publications we found that the mice with an absence of the homeobox factor Irx5 were protected against obesity during high-fat feeding, and these animals showed reduced amount of adipose tissue. We also found that Pgc-1a and Ucp1 was upregulated, followed by increased mitochondrial respiration in adipocytes. This suggests that Irx5 may have a role in the regulation of «browning» of white adipocytes.

What are your current research interests?

My main research focus at present is aimed at studying brown adipocyte biology and how these cells affect obesity and glucose homeostasis. Our group is also interested in white adipose tissue biology and its role in insulin resistance. Moreover, I am also studying clinical aspects of monogenic diabetes. 

EASO sees obesity as a complex chronic disease and a gateway to other non-communicable diseases.  Does your research support this view?

Both our clinical research on bariatric patients as well as studies on animals clearly shows that obesity is a complex disease, and is indeed associated with other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and dyslipidaemia.


Jørn V. Sagen, M.D., Ph.D., is Head of department at the Hormone Laboratory, Haukeland University Hospital, and Professor at the Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen. He is a specialist in laboratory medicine (medical biochemistry). Dr. Sagen is also a chair member of the Norwegian Association for the Study of Obesity.

His current research interests include molecular mechanisms resulting in the development of obesity and diabetes mellitus. More specifically, he has focused on the development of brown adipocytes from mesenchymal stem cells, and the role of brown fat in regulating metabolism.

Professor Jørn V. Sagen, M.D., Ph.D.
Head of Department
Hormone Laboratory
Haukeland University Hospital
N5021 Bergen

Phone: +47 55974396