Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

Staff Profile

Dr Soren Nielsen

Research Associate



I have many years of international experience as a postdoctoral associate. For my Ph.D research I travelled from my native Denmark to Germany. Here I studied fatty acid metabolism in heart and in particular long chain fatty acid transport by a small and abundant intracellular fatty acid binding protein. I acquired valuable skills in protein purification techniques and cell culture as well as protein analysis by one and two-dimensional electrophoresis. I also became fluent in German and wrote my Ph.D thesis in the German language. 

My first postdoctoral position was at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA and I studied a membrane bound fatty acid transport protein in adipocytes. I acquired valuable skills in molecular biology and insight into American culture and worked hard for three years in the laboratory. I worked in a second short-term postdoctoral position at Texas A and M University in College Station, USA. Here I learned to work with baculovirus and express and purify proteins from insect cells. I have been a postdoctoral associate at Newcastle University since 1997 and here I have worked in three research areas. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects 150 million people worldwide of which 5 million are in Europe and 500,000 in the UK. I found that HCV circulates in blood associated with very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). These lipid particles are naturally secreted by the human liver to distribute triglyceride and cholesterol to organs and muscles in the body. HCV hijacks this pathway to produce HCV associated with apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, B, C-I and E. In patients with chronic HCV I also found immunoglobulins IgA, IgG1, IgG3 and IgM associated with the lipoproteins and with the virus. These results were published in the highest impact journals within the field of Virology and to date have received more than 400 citations. At Newcastle University I have also worked with RNA polymerases from yeast. Finally I worked at Newcastle University with humanized monoclonal antibodies. The knowledge I have obtained from working abroad benefits me every day, both when talking to people from different backgrounds and when making decisions and designing experiments in the laboratory.


Ph.D in Biochemistry from University of Munster, Germany, 1993

Masters Degree in Biochemistry from Aarhus University, Denmark, 1988

Masters Degree in Accounting from Business School Aarhus, Denmark, 1987

Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and Physics from Aarhus University, Denmark, 1985

Previous Positions

Postdoctoral associate at Newcastle University, England from 1997 to present (19 years)

Postdoctoral assistant at Texas A & M University, USA in 1996 (1/2 year)

Postdoctoral assistant at University of Minnesota, USA from 1993 to 1995 (3 years)

Ph.D student at Munster University in Germany from 1989 to 1993 (4 years)

Research assistant at Aarhus University in Denmark from 1985 to 1988 (4 years)


Microbiology Society

Royal Society for Biology

Biochemical Society

British Society for Cell Biology

British Association for the Study of the Liver

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Honours and Awards

I became Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) in 2016

I received a Fellowship from HCV UK to attend the International HCV meeting in San Antonio, Texas (2008)

I received the Philip Hague Award from British Association for Study of the Liver (2005)

I received a Career Development Award from the Danish Research Foundation (1992-1993)

I received a Research Fellowship from the Danish Natural Sciences Research Council (1989-1993)

I received a Research Fellowship from the Danish Medical Research Council (1987-1988)

I am Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, FRSB and Chartered Scientist, CSci


In 2017, I have served as Reviewer for the journals Gut, Viral Hepatitis and Hepatology


I speak and write Danish, German and English

Informal Interests

I have run the Great North Run in Newcastle upon Tyne 20 times.

I have run several Marathons, including the Boston 100th anniversary Marathon, Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, Aarhus Marathon, Cologne Marathon, London Marathon (2 times), Edinburgh Marathon (2 times) and Manchester Marathon (2 times).




I have been a postdoctoral associate at Newcastle University for 19 years. During this time I have worked in three different research groups. I have a wide range of experimental knowledge in biochemistry, molecular biology, density gradient ultracentrifugation, cell biology and FPLC techniques. I am experienced in 1-D and 2-D gel electrophoresis and Western blotting. I also have experience in real time PCR and ChIP analysis.

Research on RNA polymerases from S. cerevisiae

Research on Hepatitis C virus (HCV)

I have been a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral associate for 9 years, working on Hepatitis C virus. I purified the virus and characterized HCV C virus from infected human liver. I used my experience of iodixanol density gradient centrifugation and real time PCR to analyse the density profile of Hepatitis C virus from human serum and liver. I found the virus associates with very low density lipoprotein, VLDL. I also used the Electron Microscopy Unit at Newcastle University to obtain pictures of the HCV virus from density fractions and from size fractionated samples (See Figure below). I purified HCV lipo viro-particles from human liver by density gradients and by gel filtration. I found the virus is associated with apolipoproteins A-II, B and E from human blood. These associations with host apolipoproteins and antibodies may explain why Hepatitis C virus infection is chronic in more than 80% of infected people.

Research on humanized monoclonal antibodies

I was a postdoctoral associate in the research group of Dr. Edward Routledge at Newcastle University. The goal was to develop dimers of humanized monoclonal antibodies and test these antibodies in a mouse model of cancer of the blood, leukaemia. I gained knowledge in working with monoclonal antibodies and protein expression. I succeeded in prepared the humanized monoclonal antibodies and I did cross linking studies to improve the efficiency of the antibodies (see Figure below). The dimers of the antibodies were much better in  killing cancer cells than the monomers and these results were published in the prestigious journal Blood.

Research on fatty acid binding protein from heart

I have worked 3 years as a postdoctoral assistant in USA and 4 years in Germany, studying for my Ph.D in Biochemistry. My research area was fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs). These are abundant cytosolic proteins in heart myocytes, mammary gland and adipocytes and they binds to and transport long chain fatty acids within cells. I isolated heart myocytes and could show that FABP is the second most abundant cytosolic protein, after myoglobin (see figure below).

Esteem Indicators

I was invited to give an oral presentation at the annual meeting in British Association for Study of the Liver (BASL) in September 2005. At the meeting at Kings College in London, I received the Philip Hague Award from BASL for the best abstract submitted to the annual meeting in the field of viral hepatitis.
I was invited to give an oral presentation at the annual meeting in BASL in September 2006 in Dublin.
I have been invited to give a 45 minutes seminar in January 2007 at the Institute Pasteur Hellenique in Athens, Greece. This was an honour for me which I am proud of. I gave a talk on my work with Hepatitis C virus and human lipoproteins at the meeting of American Association for Study of the Liver. This meeting was held in San Francisco, California and after the meeting I was invited by the Chairman of my session, Prof. T. Wakita to give a talk at his Institute for Virology in Tokyo, Japan and also spend one week in his group learning new techniques. 

Industrial experience

I have collaborated with a company, Innogenetics in Ghent, Belgium, which provided me with 24 monoclonal antibodies to envelope glycoproteins of HCV. I used the antibodies in Western blotting and immunofluorescence. The characterization of these antibodies was of value to me because it gave me good reagents for use in HCV research and it was of value to the compagny because it improved their knowledge about the monoclonal antibodies.


Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching

I have supervised three research project students. One of these, Daniel Lowther received a Distinction in his Master Degree on negative strand HCV RNA, a research project which I designed and supervised. I enjoy sharing my experience and giving help to students with their experiments.

Postgraduate Supervision

I have co-supervised Ph.D student Caroline Martin in collaboration with Prof. Geoffrey Toms. I have also been a co-supervisor for Ph.D student Siti Ibrahim.