Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology | EMBRC

Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology


The Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology was established in 1997 by the University of Bergen, and co-funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Ministry of Education and Research. The Sars Centre is located in the city centre in the Bergen High Technology Centre – "Marineholmen", together with University’s Faculty of Science departments and other research units.

Mission and research: 

The research at Sars Centre is dedicated to study basic biological processes in marine organisms using functional and comparative molecular methods. The major focus of current research is to understand developmental mechanisms and their evolution. Sars Centre research currently involves studies on a variety of marine invertebrates.

Marine facilities

Access to the University’s marine station at Espegrend (15 km outside Bergen), in- and off-shore marine vessels and a ROV unit operated under co-ownership between the University and the Institute for Marine Research. The Sars Centre currently has seven advanced aquatic/marine facilities at the Marineholmen premises, provided with different water qualities and other infrastructure needed for culturing its model species.


15 lab units for molecular biology, and multiple specialized technical rooms, including for microscopy/imaging, microinjection, and cell culture.


Microscopy/imaging; molecular imaging centre, microarray and proteomics platforms; bioinformatics support groups;

Main marine models:

Appendicularian Oikopleura dioica, sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, ascidian Ciona intestinalis, acoels Convolutriloba macropyga and Isodiametra pulchra, rotifer Adineta vaga, annelids Platynereis dumerilii and Capitella teleta, sponge Sycon ciliatum. The Sars Centre research also focuses on developing new model systems and experiments on optimising the culturing of those.

Special partnerships

The Sars Centre coordinates the Norwegian EMBRC node.

Partner to the European Molecular Biology Laboratories.

Research topics: 

Comparative molecular biology of marine animals; Marine model organisms