Reidunn Birgitta Aalen

Image of Reidunn Birgitta Aalen
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22854437
Mobile phone +47 48218985
Room 4210
Visiting address Blindernveien 31 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1066 Blindern 0316 OSLO

Academic Interests

The research of my group is focused on two topics relevant for development and differentiation of multi-cellular organisms: epigenetics and cell-to-cell communication. We are using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a tool.

Gene regulation is controlled by transcription factors but also by chromatin structure. My lab is interested in the readers and writers of the “histone code” involved in chromatin remodelling. We have identified Arabidopsis counterparts of histone methyltransferases (SET-domain proteins) and Methyl-CpG-Binding Domain (MBD) proteins, as well as novel co-domains. Our aim is to reveal the biological function of selected SET domain and MBD proteins.

An important means of communication between neighbouring cells is secretion of ligands that bind membrane-bound receptors. My lab has identified a peptide ligand–receptor pair controlling the shedding of floral organs, the small peptide ligand INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION (IDA) interacting with the receptor-like kinases HEASA and HEASA-LIKE2. This is one of the few ligand-receptor signalling modules identified to date, although there are several hundreds of Arabidopsis genes encoding receptor-like kinases and secreted putative ligands. The ambition of my group is to match additional ligands and receptors involved in other cell-separation and developmental processes.


  • MBV1010 - cell biology and genetics
  • MBV3020 - molecular genetics and developmental biology
  • MBV4010 - methods in molecular biology and biochemistry I

Higher education and employment history

I have my education from the University in Oslo. After completion of my PhD degree in bacterial genetics, I switched to plant science. I worked as a Research scientist at the Laboratory for Plant Molecular Biology, Agricultural University of Norway, focusing on the identification of tissue-specific transcripts expressed in barley grains. I have had research stays at the at Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungs-forschung, Cologne, Germany, and Center for Plant Molecular Biology, ZMBP, University of Tübingen. I was appointed full Professor at the Department of Biology, Division of General Genetics, University of Oslo in 1998, and is now at Department of Molecular Biosciences. My group is member of the Gene Regulation and Epigenetics Consortium (GREC), a research initiative prioritized from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.


My group is collaborating with

  • Professor Rein Aasland, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Professor Malcolm J. Bennett, Centre for Plant Integrative Biology (CPIB), University of Nottingham, UK
  • Professor Atle M. Bones, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
  • Professor Georg Felix, Center for Plant Molecular Biology, ZMBP, University of Tübingen
  • Associate Professor Sara Patterson, Department of Horticulture, University of Madison, USA


Tags: Life sciences
Published Nov. 4, 2010 2:32 PM - Last modified Feb. 12, 2019 2:25 PM

Research groups