NMBU MSCA PF masterclass - potential supervisors topics

Associate Professor Phil B. Pope

Microbial Ecology and Meta-Omics Group, Faculty for Biosciences

Keywords: Microbial ecology and Meta-omics: Metagenomics, Metatranscriptomics, Metaproteomics, Bioinformatics, Host-microbiome interactions

Potential topics/projects: My expertise is with multi-omic tools to deconvolute the intimate genetic and physiological relationship between the host animal and its microbiome. My track record comprises publications in journals of high standard including as Science, Nature Microbiology PNAS, Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications, ISME Journal, Microbiome and mBio. Key research to date has focused on combining analytical metadata with metabolic reconstructions of population genomes to visualize flow of metabolites in complex microbiomes and have used temporal meta-omics and co-expression network analysis to interpret synergistic interactions between fiber-degrading and methanogenic microbial populations. We now seek to expand these approaches to envelop additional “molecular layers” from the animal holobiont (i.e. host transcriptome and proteome), a concept otherwise known as “holo-omics”.

I collaborate with world leaders in metagenomics (Kelly Wrighton), bioinformatics (Alice McHardy, Torgeir Hvidsten), eukaryotic genomics (Tom Gilbert, Simen Sandve), metabolic modelling (Ines Thiele), gastrointestinal microbiology (Eric Martens), viral ecology (Matthew Sullivan) and enzymology (Vincent Eijsink).  An important achievement of my career has been the acquisition of competitive grants, which comprise a total of more than 9M EUR. Awarded grants include from the European Research Council (StG), European Commission (Marie Curie IF, H2020), ERA-NET, and the Research Council of Norway.



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Professor Sigbjørn Lien

Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT)

Keywords:  genomics, genome evolution and understanding the genetic architecture of complex traits.

Potential topics/projects: I am currently leading, or co-leading, five large projects on salmon genomics and genome biology (together adding up to more than 120 MNOK). I have over time demonstrated extensive leadership experience in science while serving as both Director of CIGENE (www.cigene.no) and leader of the Genome Biology research group at Faculty of Biosciences, currently including more than 40 people. Under my guidance, CIGENE has grown from a small core facility to a major high-profile research lab being internationally leading within salmonid genomics research. I have also shown international leadership in multiple genome sequencing projects and is currently coordinating the EU-project AQUA-FAANG generating genome-wide functional annotation maps for the most important fish species within European aquaculture.

Over the last 15 years I have devoted much of my time to the development of Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE, www.cigene.no), which has grown from a small molecular biology lab to Norway's foremost SNP genotyping facility and an internationally important genomics research lab devoted to understanding mechanisms and genetic architecture underlying important phenotypes.

Together with our extensive national and international collaborative network, my lab has pioneered the development of high-throughput genotyping tools for several agriculture and aquaculture species and taken important roles in high-profile genome sequencing projects. I was a National coordinator in the “Bovine Genome Sequencing and Analysis Consortium” and “The Bovine HapMap Consortium”, resulting in two publications in Science (2009). I also played an active role in “The Cod Genome Sequencing Project” (published in Nature 2011) and “The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium” (published in Science in 2014). In the period 2009-2016, I played a leading role in “The International Collaboration to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (ICSASG)”, a collaborative effort between Norway, Canada and Chile. This work resulted in release of a high-quality genome assembly for Atlantic salmon (published in Nature, 2016).

Our work on salmonid genomic research has flourished and I am currently leading, or co-leading, five large projects on salmon genomics and genome biology (together totalling to more than 120 MNOK). Key among these is the NRC/NMBU-ToppForsk project “TRANSPOSE: Transposable elements as agents of genome evolution and adaptation following a recent whole genome duplication”, where we exploit the advantages of state of the art long-read sequencing technology to upgrade the salmonid genome resources with >20 new chromosome-level assemblies, generated across the eleven main phylogenetic lineages of salmonids. These highly improved genome resources have enabled us to position and taxonomically categorize TE-families in the whole group of salmonid fishes and develop pangenomes incorporating SNPs and SVs in genome-graphs to portray biodiversity and explore adaptive divergence across phylogenetic groups and populations.

Moreover, to advance our understanding of how variation in the blueprint of the salmonid genomes may lead to phenotypic variation I initiated the international collaboration on “Functional Annotation of All Salmonid Genomes – FAASG” (http://www.faasg.org/). My engagement in annotation of fish genomes has expanded as coordinator of the EU/RIA-H2020 project “AQUA-FAANG: Advancing European Aquaculture by Genome Functional Annotation”, developing  comprehensive maps of functional elements and epigenetic marks for the six commercially most important fish species within European aquaculture (among these Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout).



Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE, www.cigene.no)



Associate Professor Simen Rød Sandve

Section for Genome Biology, Faculty for Bioscience

Keywords:  Genetics and evolutionary biology: Genome regulatory evolution, Host-microbiome interactions, Consequences of whole genome duplication, Salmonid genetics and biology

Potential topics/projects: My key contribution to science lay within the fields of evolutionary biology and genetics, specifically my work on genome sequencing and understanding of genome evolution in complex plant and animal genomes.

My early career achievements came out of my work on gene duplications and polyploid genome evolution during my PhD and postdoc (2006-2014). In 2014 I transitioned to working on fish at the Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences at NMBU where I later (in 2017) became an associate professor and continued the work within genome research.

My work within salmonid genome biology research is published in top tier specialized journals (Nature Genetics, Genome Biology, and Microbiome) as well as high-profile general journals such as Nature and Nature Communication. In this work we have applied a range of different genetics and genomics approaches to study effects of domestication on salmon metabolism and gene regulation, evolutionary consequences of whole genome duplications, environmental regulation of developmental programming, as well as the impact of salmon microbiome on salmon physiology.




Professor Siv Skeie and Associate Professor Davide Porcellato

Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Sciences

Keywords:  Food science, technology, microbiome, food systems.

Potential topics/projects: Increasing sustainability along the food value chain is among the most important priorities of international goals for the future of humanity. Our group focused the last years on the deep study of the food microbiomes along the value chain with focus on food raw materials and of these during food processing. We have now at our disposal an enormous amount of data from different -omics techniques that we would like to explore further in our research journey. To do so, we are strategically strengthening our bioinformatics potential in order to help us to harness the value of the available data. We recently secured funding from different research projects that will be able to generate new exciting data which can be exploited outside the scope of these projects.

We are happy to collaborate with fellows interested in food science and bioinformatics with interest in the analysis of -omics data. We are a multidisciplinary group with integrated competences in several fields of the food science area and we are continuously working toward international excellence within our area of expertise.






Professor Hilde-Gunn Opsahl Sorteberg

Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences

Keywords: Developmental biology, molecular genetics,  macroalgae, sea ecology, meristem and stem cell organization

Potential topics/projects: Developmental biology describing and explaining cell division and identity during early seed development and currently early sporophyte development of macro algae poorly understood. This will include novel gene expression analyses by RNAseq, while still waiting for the full genome seq publication. Meristem characterization is my prime interest and the UC-Berkeley collaborator too only on land plants, especially exciting for us all in a non-landplant with similarities to animal cell division characteristics.


Professor Peer Berg

Institute of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences,  Faculty for Biosciences

Keywords:  development of theory and methods used for genetic improvement, sustainable animal production.

Potential topics/projects: The aim of my scientific work is to contribute to the development of theory and methods used for genetic improvement, in particular to contribute to developments of a profitable and sustainable animal production, which takes the welfare and health of farm animals and consumer demands into account. More specifically it is the aim to

  • contribute to the understanding of genetic variation in traits of importance for an efficient and profitable production of farm animals, as well as traits of importance for the welfare and health of the animals
  • contribute to theory on optimal structures and decision rules used in breeding schemes.
  • contribute to the implementation of optimal breeding schemes in the breeding industries by education of students and through cooperation internationally, nationally and with the relevant industries.

The aim of my contribution as a research manager (group leader) is to contribute to the development of a research group of the highest international standard, being a major contributor to scientific development and a preferred collaboration partner for industry and other research groups by

  • attracting highly qualified researchers
  • develop individual research competences and collaborative skills
  • develop ambitious research strategies
  • creation of an open, innovative working environment

Current activities include

  • Genetic variation in recombination rate and its applications.
  • Use of genomic data in management of genetic diversity
  • Develop and compare sustainable and socially acceptable breeding programs and management practices that would result in future generations of animals that are efficient and resilient to climate changes while maintaining genetic diversity (Rumigen).




Associate Professor Kristian Berland

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology Management, Faculty of Science and Technology 

Keywords: Material theory and informatics

Potential topics/projects: The material theory and informatics research group is a young and dynamic research group, which collaborate closely with a cluster of material scientists at the University of Oslo and the SINTEF research institute, as well as several strong international groups worldwide.

We study properties of advanced materials based on density functional theory calculations. Projects can involve high-throughput calculations and  machine learning, as well as method development. 

Thermoelectric material screening and discovery

Thermoelectricity can play a vital role in harnessing some of enormous waste heat generated in various industries, but more efficient materials are required to make it economically viable. We use novel approaches to discover, asses, and optimize thermoelectric materials within a high-throughput approach. 

Functional properties of molecular crystals is an often overlooked topic, despite molecular crystals’ enormous potential as smart flexible materials. We use computer-driven approaches to design and explore novel switchable organic molecular crystals, including ferroelectrics.

van der Waals density functional theory is one of the most popular and versatile methods and can be used to study biding of both hard and soft matter, but a number of potential extensions has not been fully developed yet. We take part in this development within a strong international network.




Published 11. januar 2021 - 18:41 - Updated 16. mars 2021 - 16:39