The Biostatistics group at KBM conducts research in the exciting and rapidly evolving scientific borderland between bioinformatics and applied statistics. Main research activities include:


Research activity and projects

Statistical methods in forensic genetics (headed by Thore Egeland). We develop methods and software for forensic genetics. The main objective is to understand the genetic kinship of two or more DNA samples. Examples include paternity cases and disaster victim identification. Available software include Familias, FamLink and FamLinkX.


  • Familias software. This software is the most widely used internationally  to solve genetic kinship problems. Examples include paternity cases, disaster victim identification and family reunion as exemplified in the project “Missing Grandchildren of Argentina”. The  book “Relationship Inference with Familias and R”, by the developers Egeland, Kling (currently responsible for new versions) and Mostad describes the methods.  
  • EU project: Euroforgen-NoE (European Forensic Genetics Network of Excellence). NMBU was one of 16 partners from 9 countries. A main objective was to develop a network including leading groups in European forensic genetic research.The project is finished, but the cooperation within the network continues and expands.

Network-based genomics (headed by Torgeir R. Hvidsten). We develop network-based methods for comparative regulomics, systems genetics and analysis of host-microbiota interactions - with a focus on plants and teleost fish.  Several online tools have been development e.g.


  • Tools for comparative network analysis in trees (collaboration with Nat Street, Umeå University, Sweden): PlantGenIE

  • Gene network conservation analysis to identify genes controlling growth in plants (collaboration with Nat Street, Umeå University, Sweden and Klaas Vandepoele, VIB, Belgium and industry): VIB/UPSC

  • Regulation after whole genome duplication in salmonids (collaboration with Simen Sandve, Jon Olav Vik and others at NMBU): DigiSalGenoSysFat

  • Understanding host-microbiota interactions in salmon (collaboration with Phil Pope, NMBU)

  • Evolution of cold tolerance in grasses (Tverforsk prosject with Simen Sandve and Siri Fjellheim, NMBU)

Microbial comparative genomics (headed by Lars Snipen). We are developing bioinformatics and statistical methods for the comparison and classification of microbes based on genomic sequence data. Current focus is on the mapping of the salmon gut microbiota and the use of microbiomes in forensics.


  • Mapping the salmon gut microbiome and microbial pan-genome, as part of the DigSal project (many collaborators)

  • Reduced Metagenome Sequencing - a new methodology for systematic studies of microbial communities (Knut Rudi, NMBU, Torbjørn Rognes, UiO)

  • The use of microbiota in forensic sciences (Eirik Nataas Hansen, UiO, Cordula Haas, Zürich)

Meta-cognition and teaching statistics (headed by Hilde Vinje, Trygve Almøy and Solve Sæbø). We focus on how various cognitive factors, like brain physiology and personality theory, influence students’ learning capabilities in statistics and other subjects. The aim is to develop theory and to implement teaching that  is adapted to varying cognitive styles.


  • Meta-cognition: renews courses and divide them to better fit today's students. By combining data from many different sources and by use of advanced statistical methods we will try to estimate the effect on the interaction between teaching methods and students way of learning (collaboration with The National Centre for Science Recruitment in Trondheim).

The group also teaches courses in statistics and bioinformatics at the university, and aims to introducing R in courses at all levels of education at the university. See

The Biostatistics group, May 2018:

Torgeir Rhoden Hvidsten, Professor, group leader
Thore Egeland, Professor
Trygve Almøy, Associate Professor
Lars Snipen, Associate Professor
Kristian Hovde Liland, Associate Professor II
Ellen Sandberg, Assistant Professor
Torstein Tengs, Post doc
John Christian Gaby, Post doc
Hilde Vinje, Post doc
Raju Rimal, PhD student
Gareth Gillard, PhD student
Francesco Delogu, PhD student
Hilde Kjelgaard BrustadPhD student

Like Biostatistics at NMBU on Facebook

Published 20. February 2012 - 10:00 - Updated 28. May 2018 - 14:28

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Contact us

Contact info

Click above to find
specific contact info.

Visit us