About the speakers
About the speakers at 1st Open MoBa Research Forum.
Dr. Camilla Stoltenberg (born 1958) is the Director-General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She is a medical doctor and epidemiologist, and an adjunct professor at the University of Bergen. Stoltenberg has had and currently holds several positions in national and international boards and networks, mainly on research and public health. More specifically she has focused on developing research infrastructures such as biobanks, population cohorts, and health registries. Main topics in her research have been autism, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental conditions. In 2017-2019 she chaired a governmental commission on the gender gap in education. Stoltenberg has had a key national role in the Norwegian response to the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020. She has been particularly engaged in mobilizing and using research as an essential tool in crisis management, and in developing the communication about science, uncertainties, and disagreements during a pandemic.
Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen
Dr. Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen is a senior researcher in child development and epidemiology at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and since 2021 the scientific director of MoBa. She has extensive experience with longitudinal studies on child development using MoBa data and she was head of the MoBaYoung data collection.
Her research focuses on understanding the impact of early risk and protective factors both prenatally and during the formative childhood and adolescent years for neurodevelopment, cognition, and mental health. Her research profile is interdisciplinary with collaborations spanning pharmacoepidemiology to early education research. She is actively involved in several ongoing MoBa-projects such as the Language and Learning Study, MoBaKinder, MoBaEarlyEd and C-Me.
Dr. Per Magnus finished medical school in 1976 and subsequently specialized in medical genetics before joining the NIPH in 1985. Since then he has worked as a general epidemiologist and as head of/participant in various research groups. He has been preoccupied with MoBa since the early planning of the cohort in 1993 and was the scientific director of MoBa for more than 20 years.
Per Magnus is currently a scientific director at NIPH and the PI of several research projects in MoBa including a Covid-19 study.
George Davey Smith
George Davey Smith was a member of the noise-terrorism outfit Scum Auxiliary in the early 1980s. Since artistic and commercial success eluded them, he has had to earn his living working as an epidemiologist in the provinces.
Dr. George Davey Smith is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Director of the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol. He is also the former Scientific Director of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and their Children (ALSPAC) and Scientific Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Bristol.
Davey Smith has focused on methods for improving causal inference in studies of disease aetiology and disease prevention. His work has involved early implementation of ‘negative controls’ in epidemiological studies, the use of cross-context comparisons, sensitivity analyses, unobtrusive data collection methods and randomized trials in thought-to-be difficult situations. He pioneered the use of germline genetic variants for investigating modifiable causes of disease (‘Mendelian randomization’), developed several extensions of the basic method, and contributed to its application in many settings. He is an advocate of the pre-specified application of a range of methods, with different structures of potential biases, to the same question (‘triangulation’), as the key approach to strengthening causal inference.
Ole A. Andreassen
Dr. Ole Andreassen is Professor in psychiatry at the University of Oslo, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and attending psychiatrist, Oslo University Hospital (OUH), Oslo, Norway. After a PhD at University of Bergen and post doc position at Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Medical School he finished his psychiatry residency at OUH and is now the Director of Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT), one of the largest mental health research groups in Scandinavia. His research focuses on causes, disease mechanisms and outcome prediction of severe mental disorders, building on the Nordic advantages, such as public health care system, biobanks, health registries, and he runs a biostatistical research program to improve analysis and develop precision medicine tools.
Dr. Bo Jacobsson (MD, PhD) is the head of Perinatal Research Laboratory and Professor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden and Senior researcher at Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway. He is a clinical scientist specialized in obstetrics, gynecology, and maternal/fetal medicine.
He is a leading expert on the mechanisms and epidemiology of preterm birth.
Professor Jacobsson is the FIGO Division Director of Maternal and Neonatal Health 2021-2023 and has led the FIGO Working Group of Preterm Birth during 2019-2021. Professor Jacobsson is also part of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Knowledge and Evidence Working Group.
He is also on the Board of Directors of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine (EAPM) and chairs the EAPM Special Interest Group of Preterm Birth. Prof Jacobsson has more than 20 years been involved in the work of different international organizations around maternal and neonatal health like PREBIC and PREGENIA. He is presently leading the European Branch of PREBIC. He is a steering group member of Genomic Medicine Sweden and is chairing the Genomic Medicine Sweden complex diseases group. He is also a Swedish representative in the Nordic Society of Precision Medicine.
Dr. Stefan Johansson is a Professor at the Centre for Diabetes Research, University of Bergen and the Department of Medical Genetics (MGM), Haukeland University Hospital. His research interests relate to the identification and characterization of genetic variation influencing human traits. His work has led to the identification and publication of novel Mendelian disease genes in diabetes and brain related disorders, and the early establishment of next generation sequencing in the clinical diagnostics at the MGM.
He has also vast experience with genome wide association analyses across a wide range of disorders and traits. Stefan and his team were involved in the establishment, funding and QC-work of the first large-scale array genotyping efforts in MoBa that forms the basis of MoBaGenetics v1 release.
His research in MoBa aims at increasing our understanding of the mechanisms underlying our growth during the first years of life and how it relates to later health and disease.
Siri E. Håberg
Dr. Siri Håberg (MD PhD) is the Director of the Centre for Fertility and Health, a Centre of Excellence at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She has extensive experience with combining data from national registries, cohort studies, and biobanks.
Her research focuses on perinatal epidemiology, and she has a special interest in how prenatal exposures can influence child health.
Birgitte Freiesleben de Blasio
Dr. Birgitte Freiesleben de Blasio (PhD) heads the Department of Methods Development and Analytics at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She has a background in physics and works with infectious disease modelling and social network analysis related to the spread of infections. She heads the FHI COVID-19 modelling team, a collaboration with UiO, Norwegian Computing Center and Telenor.
Birgitte is professor II at Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oslo.
Dr. Gloria Traina (PhD) is advisor at the Ministry of Health and Care Services, where she works on policies related to bringing innovation into the specialist healthcare services. She is currently leading the revision of the National Strategy for Personalized Medicine at the MoH. She has a background as a researcher in health policy at the Department of Health Management and Health Economics (UiO).
Dr. Johan Øvrevik is Research Director at the Division of Climate and Environmental Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), and Professor II in human toxicology at the University of Oslo. Climate and health is and has been partners in several international projects utilizing MoBa data to explore the impact of environmental factors on health and development, including the EU flagship Exposome projects HELIX and ATHLETE. His own research has focused on air pollution and particle toxicology, and he is coordinating the EU H2020 project ULTRHAS on ultrafine particulate matter. He has recently also coordinated initiatives to expand NIPHs activities within the field of nature and green space effects on human health and wellbeing.
Jennifer R. Harris
Dr. Harris is a director for research in the Centre for Fertility and Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). She has interdisciplinary training in life-span development and genetics. In 1992 she founded the twin cohort panel and program of research at NIPH, which helped lay the groundwork for establishing the Norwegian Twin Registry. She is the past-President of the International Society for Twin Studies and a recipient of the James Shields Award for outstanding research in behavioral genetics using the twin method. She also has extensive experience in international projects on the harmonization of large-scale biobanks in epidemiology. She led the European Union project Promoting Harmonization of Epidemiological Biobanks in Europe (PHOEBE), has led the Norwegian participation in several EU projects including GenomEutwin, ENGAGE, BioShare-EU, and the MoBa participation in the LifeCycle-EU project. Through capacity building activities and projects such as Biobank Norway, she has helped develop the scientific vision and infrastructure for MoBa data.
Dr. Laurie Hannigan is a researcher based at the Nic Waals Institute, Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital in Oslo, Norway, also working with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol. He obtained his PhD in Behavior Genetics from King’s in 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Thalia Eley and Dr. Tom McAdams. After a short postdoctoral position at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing in 2018, he moved to Oslo to focus on genetic epidemiological work with the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort study (MoBa). His research interests include studying within-family transmission of risk for psychiatric disorders, the aetiology and development of emotional and behavioural problems, factors influencing the emergence of neurodevelopmental conditions, patterns and consequences of comorbidity and multimorbidity, and methodological issues in the application of developmental genetic epidemiological approaches to birth cohort and population registry data sources.
Kristine Beate Walhovd
Dr. Kristine Beate Walhovd is a Professor at the Center for Lifespan Changes in Brain and Cognition (LCBC), UiO.
Together with colleagues, Walhovd is trying to uncover markers and mechanisms underlying differences and changes in brain and cognitive function throughout the lifespan. In this effort, they are studying persons ranging in age from 0-100 yrs, using brain scans and cognitive standardized and experimental tests, as well as training interventions. She is interested in the timing of influences, and believe there is a need to focus on what can be, and is, influenced when. Early life – including in utero- factors may have an impact on individual function at all ages, and we need to understand these also to understand what residual variance can be influenced at older ages.
Johanne Hagen Pettersen
Johanne Hagen Pettersen is a PhD candidate in the Covid-19 and impact on mental health: a longitudinal, multi-national study (C-Me). Hagen Pettersen's PhD project will be conducted in close collaboration with the PsychGen research group at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).
In her project she will use large datasets and molecular genetic methods to examine how genetic and environmental factors contributes to the development of mental health problems and disorders in childhood, adolescence and families related to the pandemic.
Torkild Hovde Lyngstad
Dr. Torkild Hovde Lyngstad is a demographer and sociologist and a professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the UiO. He is currently leading the ERC Consolidator project OPENFLUX, which seeks to understand social change, the life course and intergenerational transmission by combining genetic and social science perspectives.
Dr. Marte-Helene Bjørk is the leader of Bergen Epilepsy Research Groups that have published 18 papers from MoBa focusing on women with epilepsy. Recently the group extended their analytical approach to genetic epidemiology and epigenetics.
Bjørk is associated professor at the University of Bergen and senior consultant neurologist at Haukeland University Hospital.