Immunology Unit


Foto: Simen Nørstebø. F.v. bak: L.H.Teige, G.M.Johansen, H.Arnesen, A.F.Bakke, J.E.Innacymuthu, B.Sun, I.Olstad. F.v.foran: P.Boysen, H.Lund, I.Mo

Foto: Simen Nørstebø. F.v. bak: L.H.Teige, G.M.Johansen, H.Arnesen, A.F.Bakke, J.E.Innacymuthu, B.Sun, I.Olstad. F.v.foran: P.Boysen, H.Lund, I.Mo

Simen Nørstebø


For the Veterinary Medicine students we teach under VET306 (General Principles of Disease), where Preben Boysen is block leader. We also contribute to other courses earlier as well as later in the study programme. For Veterinary Nursing students we mainly teach under DYR204 (Infection biology and pharmaceutics), and DYR214 (Laboratory Diagnostics). We also contribute to other teaching in immunology, including MVI392 (Gastrointestinal Anatomy and Physiology) at the Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science.

Research methods

Our group has long experience with flow cytometry, with instruments covering most needs, including an advanced cell sorter (following moving to Campus Ås). We have also built up extensive experience with Luminex®-based (xMap) multiplex assays for the detection of analytes as well as serological assays for specific and polyreactive antibodies. We establish customized bead-based tests on this platform. In addition, we frequently run other immunological and molecular methods like PCR, ELISA, Western Blot, various cellular techniques like cytotoxicity, proliferation, cytokine responses, phagocytosis, protein cloning, expression and purification. We have hands-on experience with a range of animal models, from fish to mice to farm animals.

Focus areas in our research:

  1. The immune response of Atlantic salmon in infections and stress

    Foto: Knut Werner Alsén (NBVU-001941)

    Foto: Knut Werner Alsén (NBVU-001941)

    Knut Werner Alsén

IMCOM: Development of tools for assessment of the immune competence of Atlantic salmon.

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN/NFR) Havbruk 2, 2017-2020
  • Lead by NOFIMA att./Aleksei Krasnov.
  • Aim: Establish markers and tools to document the immune status in Atlantic salmon through different stages of the production cycle, and in the context of vaccination and infections.
  • Contact persons: Preben Boysen and Hege Lund

Salm-Plex: Establishment of multiplex immunoassays for the detection of biomarkers for health and welfare in Atlantic salmon.

  • Financed by Fiskeri- og havbruksnæringens forskningsfinansiering (FHF), 2018-2021
  • Aim: To identify biomarkers and establish analysis methods for early detection of inflammation, infection and stress in blood and other body fluids of salmonids.
  • Contact person: Hege Lund.

ViVaFish: NFR-financed consortium 2014-18, lead by the NMBU Vet Virology Unit. (Recently completed project.)

  • Sub-project entitled: Detection of antibodies in Atlantic salmon using a bead-based multiplex immunoassay.
  • Collaboration with The National veterinary Institute, att./Maria Dahle.
  • Contact person: Preben Boysen.


  1. IgM+ and IgT+ B cell traffic to the Heart during SAV Infection in Atlantic Salmon. Bakke et al. 2020, Vaccines (Basel)
  2. A time-course study of gene expression and antibody repertoire at early time post vaccination of Atlantic salmon. Lund, H. et al. 2019, Molecular Immunology2
  3. Consequences of Haemorrhagic Smolt Syndrome (HSS) for the Immune Status of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) (Case Study). Krasnov, A. et al. 2020, Biology (Basel)
  4. Detection of Salmonid IgM Specific to the Piscine Orthoreovirus Outer Capsid Spike Protein Sigma 1 Using Lipid-Modified Antigens in a Bead-Based Antibody Detection Assay. Teige, LH. et al. 2019, Frontiers in Immunology
  5. A bead based multiplex immunoassay detects Piscine orthoreovirus specific antibodies in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Teige, LH. et al. 2017, Fish and Shellfish Immunology.
  1. Immune and microbiota training in mice living in a natural environment

    Foto: Preben Boysen (IMG_6407.JPG)

    Foto: Preben Boysen (IMG_6407.JPG)

    Preben Boysen

Development of a unique housing system offering natural living conditions for lab mice and feral (wild) mice.

  • Financed internally and through external contribution from the Fridtjof Nansen's fund for the advancement of science.
  • We have developed an original mouse model where mice live in large pens, containing soil, natural hiding places and fecal content from domestic animal species. This recreates a natural habitat for house mice, significantly different from the ultra-hygienic conditions in which lab mice are normally raised.
  • The aim is to assess the effect of such an environment on the immune system, bacterial flora (microbiota) and various diseases.
  • One PhD and three research track students are linked to this project.
  • We have also compared the immune system in wild-caught and lab mice.
  • Contact person: Preben Boysen.


  1. A model system for feralizing laboratory mice in large farmyard-like pens. Arnesen et al. 2020, Frontiers in Microbiology
  2.   Evidence of functional Cd94 polymorphism in a free-living house mouse population. Knutsen, LE. et al. 2018, Immunogenetics
  3. The composition of the gut microbiota shapes the colon mucus barrier. Jakobsson, HE. et al. 2015, EMBO Reports
  4. Diversification of memory B cells drives the continuous adaptation of secretory antibodies to gut microbiota. Lindner, C. et al. 2015, Nature Immunology
  5. Induction of gut IgA production through T cell-dependent and T cell-independent pathways. Bemark, M. et al. 2012, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  6. Natural killer cells in free-living Mus musculus have a primed phenotype. Boysen, P. et al. 2011, Molecular Ecology
  1. Immune mechanisms in domestic animal health

    Foto: Håkon Sparre, (_MG_5156.tif)

    Foto: Håkon Sparre, (_MG_5156.tif)

    Håkon Sparre

Characterization of natural killer cells (NK-cells) in various domestic animal species.

  • Our group has lead and contributed to the characterization of NK cells in cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs, and established methods to study these cells.
  • An ongoing research track project aims at characterizing NK cells in the goat.
  • Contact person: Preben Boysen.

Immune cells in goat milk

  • Pre-project financed by Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri (FFL/JA), 2020-21, in collaboration with KBM Faculty and Tine.
  • Norwegian milk goats have significantly improved their health recently, through targeted health programmes. Nevertheless, the goat milk still contains a high number of somatic cells, affecting animal health as well as the milk products (cheese, etc.). The aim of the project is to characterize these cells.
  • Contact person: Preben Boysen.

Metastases from osteosarcoma in dogs

  • The project is lead by Professor Lars Moe at SportFaMed, in collaboration with The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, UK and with Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo.
  • The aim is to study immune mechanisms in micrometastases of osteosarcoma in dogs, of translational relevance also for similar conditions in humans.
  • Contact person: Preben Boysen


  1. B7H6 is a functional ligand for NKp30 in rat and cattle and determines NKp30 reactivity toward human cancer cell lines. Bjørnsen, EG. et al. 2019, European Journal of Immunology
  2. NCR1 is an activating receptor expressed on a subset of canine NK cells. Grøndahl-Rosado, C. et al. 2016, Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
  3. NCR1+ cells in dogs show phenotypic characteristics of natural killer cells. Grøndahl, C. et al. 2014, Veterinary research communications
  4. NKp46+CD3+ Cells: A Novel Nonconventional T Cell Subset in Cattle Exhibiting Both NK Cell and T Cell Features. Connolley, TK. et al. 2014, Journal of Immunology
  5. Natural killer cells in afferent lymph express an activated phenotype and readily produce IFN-γ. Lund, H. et al. 2013, Frontiers in Immunology
  6. Characterization of NCR1+ cells residing in lymphoid tissues in the gut of lambs indicates that the majority are NK cells. Olsen, L. et al. 2013, Veterinary research
  7. NKp46 expression discriminates porcine NK cells with different functional properties. Mair, KH. et al. 2012, European Journal of Immunology
  8. Bovine neonate natural killer cells are fully functional and highly responsive to interleukin-15 and to NKp46 receptor stimulation. Elhmouzi-Younes, J. et al. 2009, Veterinary research
  9. Bovine natural killer cells. Boysen, P; Storset, AK. 2009, Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
  10. NKp46 defines a subset of bovine leukocytes with natural killer cell characteristics. Storset, AK. et al. 2004, European Journal of Immunology


Preben Boysen, Associate Professor

Hege Lund, Associate Professor

Baojian Sun, Researcher

Grethe Johansen, Head engineer

Ingrid Mo, Engineer

John Edward Innacymuthu, Laboratory technician

Anne Flore Bakke, PhD student

Henriette Arnesen, PhD student

Published 25. juni 2020 - 12:02 - Updated 24. mars 2021 - 14:21