Leader of this group:

PhD MD Mariann Bentsen


During the last decade, numerous animal studies have explored the reparative and regenerative effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to prevent and treat neonatal complications caused by prematurity and birth asphyxia. Positive preclinical data has recently led to the first phase I clinical studies on bronchopulmonary dysplasia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.


Our research group works on isolation and characterization of MSCs found in perinatal tissues; amniotic fluid, umbilical cord tissue and umbilical cord blood of babies born extremely preterm, moderately preterm and at term. 

The aim is to elucidate the properties and function of these perinatal stem cells during fetal development, and to examine how the cells and their secretome are affected by various pregnancy complications and reflect the intrauterine environment.


Correlation of MSC secretome analyses with results from the “BabyPEP”-project, exploring inflammatory markers in the blood and urine of extremely preterm-born neonates, have the potential to identify biomarkers for prediction of complications of extremely preterm birth, and lay the foundation for personalized cellular therapy.

The research group works in close collaboration with the “Tissue Engineering ResearchGroup” at UiB and the “Research Group for Pregnancy, Fetal Development and Birth”