Niels Erik Møllegaard

Niels Erik Møllegaard

Associate Professor

Primary fields of research

Genome structure and organisation. DNA structure and transcription regulation

Current research

  • Analysis of DNA structural codes in genomes: The sequence of genomic DNA contains information on several levels, ranging from simple coding of protein and stable RNA gene products over controlling the temporal and spatial expression of these, to the physical structure and compaction (in nucleosomes and chromatin) of the genome in the cell nucleus. Therefore, the evolutionary constraint on the genome sequence is multidimensional. Almost all genomic bioinformatics analyses focus on primary DNA sequence without taking into account, or being able to interpret, second and third order effects of the DNA sequence composition, such as on DNA helix conformation, electrostatics and flexibility, which is also “encoded” by the DNA and has direct impact on crucial functional parameters such as protein recognition and physical DNA properties. The project is aimed at understanding sequence-derived effects on DNA helix conformation, in particular with regards to genome function and potential malfunction in human diseases, as well as its evolutionary impact. We will by employment of new powerful methods for DNA structure probing, high throughput sequencing of the human genome, and state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools gain a deeper understanding of the functional importance of DNA structures across the genome.


  • Transcription activation by PNA in the human genome: The project aims to study peptide nucleic acids (PNA) and modification of the process of transcription in the human genome. PNA are synthetic nucleic acid analogs that can form highly stable and specific complexes with DNA. The ultimate goal is to develop PNA-based therapeutics that can selectively target and regulate the expression of disease-causing genes, potentially leading to the treatment of various genetic disorders.


More than 25 years experience in teaching of cell biology at bachelor and gene therapy at masters level. Course manager on bachelor and master courses. Organizations of a long series of PhD courses.

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