Marie Curie Fellowship Opportunities at the University of Bergen

Here you will find the suggested topics and available supervisors in regard to the Call for applicants for Bergen MSCA-IF Master Class 2018. The deadline is 2nd February 2018.

We are looking for highly qualified candidates who meet the eligibility criteria of the Horizon 2020 MSCA-IF programme and with project ideas within the wide range of research areas/topics offered at UiB. 

Research themes and topics offered at UiB

Faculty of Medicine

Medical microbiology/Immunology-influenza vaccinology - Supervisor Rebecca Jane Cox                

The Influenza Centre is a leading international centre in preclinical and clinical development of influenza vaccines. It receives core funding from the Ministry of Health and Care Services and it is also supported through grants from the European Union and the Research Council of Norway. The centre is an integral part of the Department of Clinical Science, the University of Bergen and the Haukeland University Hospital. The Influenza Centre’s vision is to reduce the global burden of influenza illness through being an international leader in development of new and improved influenza vaccines.

The vision will be achieved through our main activities:

  • Evaluation of novel adjuvants and vaccine formulations
  • Preclinical research and development of promising vaccine candidates
  • Human clinical phase I-IV trials of new influenza vaccines under good clinical practice (GCP)
  • Education and prevention of influenza in the general population, health care workers, patients

The key competence of the Influenza Centre is clinical trials of influenza vaccines focusing on immunology with a with a focus on B- and T-cells. Our current research is focusing on understanding the local and systemic immune responses after live attenuated or inactivated influenza vaccines and infection in children and adults. The knowledge generated through these activities will improve understanding of immunological mechanisms of protection and develop a knowledge platform for immunological correlates.

More about Rebecca Jane Cox
The Influenza Centre

Drug discovery and design - Supervisor Ruth Brenk

Structure-based drug discovery, computer-aided drug design 

The overall research goal of the Brenk group is to improve methods for structure-based drug design and to apply these methods to design inhibitors for enzymes with biological relevance. A key point in our research is the interplay of theoretical and experimental methods.

One particular problem in structure-based design is how to derive selective inhibitors for proteins with conserved binding sites. To investigate this topic, we are using a model system of two well-investigated enzymes. Previously, we used a combination of molecular dynamic simulations, isothermal titration calorimetry, enzyme inhibition assay, site-directed mutagenesis, and X-ray crystallography to analyse protein dynamics, water network formation and their changes upon ligand binding. Using this approach, we could narrow down that differences in eight amino acids between the two model enzymes are responsible for switching selectivity.

The aims of the future studies will be to investigate, if also a subset of these differences is sufficient to alter the selectivity pattern. Further, we want to elucidate, what the molecular reasons for the change in selectivity is. For that purpose, we want to extend our studies to measure order parameters using NMR to obtain a more detailed picture about changes in molecular dynamics. The ultimate goal of these studies is to get a better knowledge about selectivity determining features of proteins with conserved binding sites to speed up hit discovery and optimization.

More about Ruth Brenk

Genetics and epigenetics in mental health - Supervisor Stephanie Le Hellard

In the last decade, genetic studies of psychiatric disorders have identified numerous genomic regions that harbor genetic variants which are associated with increased risk to develop a psychiatric disorder. One of the main challenges for understanding the effect of these variants is to first determine which of the genetic variants or the genes in those regions that have a functional effect. In addition environmental factors are also implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders.

Our aim is to identify the genetic variants with potential functional effects and ot investigate how they interact with the environmental risk factors.

We particularly focus on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. For the environment effects, we are focusing first on the effect of cannabis. We use biostatistics and bioinformatics tools for the analysis of datasets. We integrate different level of information in patients: Genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomics and environment data.

Example of research projects

  • Identifying allelic heterogeneity at the gene level across mental disorders.
  • Cognition and imaging genetics: we participate in several large consortium efforts and have also a few in house projects.
  • Epigenetic investigation of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Molecular mechanisms of cannabis exposure risk in patients with psychosis.
  • DNA methylation from birth to adulthood in mental disorders.

More about Stephanie Le Hellard
Epigenetics and Functional Genomics

Molecular Biology/Cancer Biology - Supervisor Thomas Arnesen

Based on a biobank investigation, a novel gene, NAA15 (NATH), was found to be upregulated in thyroid tumour tissues as compared to non-tumour tissues, in particular in aggressive and undifferentiated tumours (Fluge Ø et al., Oncogene, 2002). The Naa15-Naa10 (NatA) protein complex, where Naa10 is the catalytic subunit, acetylates proteins at their N-terminal end (Arnesen T et al., Biochem J, 2005).

NatA is the first of several N-terminal acetyltransferases (NATs) identified in human cells (Aksnes H et al., TiBS, 2016). Depletion of NatA from cancer cells induces apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and sensitizes cells for chemotherapy (Arnesen T et al., Oncogene 2006; Gromyko D et al., Int J Cancer, 2010). A number of independent studies support a role for Naa10/NatA in cancer progression and indicate a central role for this protein in signaling pathways of cancer cells (Kalvik T and Arnesen T, Oncogene, 2013). Thus, Naa10 and NatA may be potential anti-cancer drug targets.

The overall aim of this project is to develop specific NAT-inhibitors for the potential use in cancer treatment. We have already made potent and selective NatA-bisubstrate inhibitors and further steps may include i) testing selected NAT-inhibitors in cancer cells and non-cancer cells to define impact on cancer cell proliferation and survival, ii) defining the impact of NAT-inhibitors on cancer cell signaling pathways, and iii) development of additional NAT-inhibitors in collaboration with chemists at UiB.

More about Thomas Arnesen
Research Group Web Page

Diagnostics/Radiography/digital technique - Supervisor XieQi Shi

Ultra low dose CBCT in examination of alveolar bone defect in cleft lip and palate

Cleft lip and palate disorder are among the most common birth defects; with the reported incidence of 1.7/1000 live births in Scandinavia. The malformation can involve the lip, the alveolar process and the palate. When the alveolar process is involved a Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) may be indicated to assess the local anatomy prior to and after bone augmentation. Patient radiation dose is an important concern when prescribing CBCT especially for children since the estimated risk for cancer formation or hereditable effects is approximately 3 times higher than for an adult. Therefore, the developments of low dose protocols within CBCT techniques are progressing rapidly. By applying more sensitive detector and a sophisticated image-processing algorithm, the effective patient dose may be reduced by up to 76%. A consequence of dramatically reduced exposure is the decreased signal-noise ratio, in other words reduced image quality, which results in increased diagnostic uncertainty of detailed structures. Since the accepted diagnostic image quality is highly associated with diagnostic tasks, clinical studies on evaluation new diagnostic feature are important.

The hypothesis of the planned project is that ProMax 3D Mid CBCT with ultra-low dose protocol would provide adequate diagnostic information for assessment of necessary clinical questions in the region of the maxillary alveolar cleft.

More about XieQi Shi

Diagnostics/Radiology/digital technique - Supervisor XieQi Shi

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder, affects 2-4% of the population and results increased cardiovascular morbidity, neurocognitive impairment, and overall mortality. Mandibular advancement device (MAD) is the most commonly performed non-continuous positive airway pressure therapy that has been proven to significantly improve sleep quality. However, 36% of OSA do not show a clinical respond to MAD. The goal of this study is to assess possible pathogenesis factors in OSA and predictors for MAD treatment outcome. Our hypothesis is that the race, the morphology of upper airway and the advancement degree of MAD are important predictors to the success of MAD therapy.

3D imaging of upper airway will be acquired for patients with OSA. The respiratory function may be evaluated by a method called Computational fluid dynamics (CFD).  CFD is a computer program that simulates the internal flow dynamics of a given airway path and subsequently estimate the respiratory function in terms of air resistance. Furthermore, the airway function in relation to advancement degree in MAD will be analysed. Thus the most suitable MAD design, correlated to airway function, may be possible for each individual patient.  The outcome of this project has significant implication in management of OSA by correct targeting the group of patients in which MAD is beneficial for their therapeutic outcome and eventually enhancing the cost-effectiveness for the society.

More about XieQi Shi

Developmental biology, dentistry, neurobiology – Supervisor Päivi Johanna Kettunen

Each human organ consists of a series of main tissues joined with vascular and nervous system, which together sustain an organ specific function. Tooth organ, which serves mastication and also in our modern society esthetics, has a specific rich and intricate vascular and neural network, which is of importance to secure delivery of nutrients and oxygen and perceive noxious stimuli to ensure function of the tooth.

Although dentists encounter compromised teeth with irreversible loss of circulation and innervation due to infection and injury, current management options are not biological. To develop clinical biological treatment options we must fill the gap of lacking information regarding molecular regulation of development of neurovascular bundle in tooth.

Our group was the first to show that semaphorin 3A is necessary to early tooth innervation and regulates patterning of dental axons (Kettunen et al., 2005; Development). The aim of the project is unravel molecular regulation of neurovascular bundle development in tooth germ. In addition, plasticity of blood vessels and neurons supporting function of tooth specific odontoblast cells responsible for dentin hard tissue formation is investigated. As the goal is to research in vivo functions of the molecules of interest, transgenic mice are employed in the project. Moreover, molecular, cell, protein and developmental biology as well as imaging techniques are used. The project is executed in local and international collaboration.

More about Päivi Johanna Kettunen

Cancer Research – Supervisor Nils Halberg

It is currently estimated that 15-20% of all tumor-related deaths are linked to obesity.

The overall aim of the laboratory is to describe and understand both the cell-autonomous (genetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulations) and non-cell-autonomous (altered composition and functionality of stromal components including immune cells, fibroblast, and the extracellular matrix) machinery that drives this process.

To tackle this, we employ a number of in-vivo based systems biology tools to characterize mouse models of the obesity-cancer connection. These include high-throughput negative selection screening platforms (shRNA and CRISPRi), single-cell mass cytometry and DNA barcoding.

More about Nils Halberg
The Halberg Lab

Biomaterials / Nanomaterials – Supervisor Mihaela Roxana Cimpan

Biomaterials / Nanomaterials - Biological effects (Nanomedicine & Nanotoxicology)

Development of a microfluidic platform to assess the biological effects of nanomaterials
Nanomaterials (NM) of increased complexity are produced at a rapid pace, therefore instruments and methods that assess their biological effects in high-throughput in a reliable and biomimetic manner are urgently needed. NM interfere in many cases with traditional measurement systems, leading to false positive/false negative results. Moreover, traditional in vitro methods are performed in static exposure conditions where NM aggregation and sedimentation occur. To overcome these problems, we are developing a micro/nano-fluidic platform (lab-on-a-chip) to test NMs’ effects on single cells, co-cultures, and organs-on-a-chip. This technology will mimic in vivo conditions and provide a high-degree of fluid and NM dispersion flow control. The work will be integrated in our current projects and will further develop and scale-up the microfluidic devices. We have produced microfluidic chips with various designs using photolithography, soft lithography and e-beam vapor deposition in collaboration with the Nanophysics group at UiB. We are using, besides advanced live microscopy, label-free electric impedance-based measurements. The results from this project are expected to be comparable to in vivo conditions and offer several important advantages with regard to bio-nano interaction assessment.

More about Mihaela Roxana Cimpan

Neuroscience – Supervisor Margaret Lin Veruki

Neuroscience /  Sensory systems / Molecular and cellular neurophysiology

The basic goal of neuroscience research is to understand how the activity of individual neurons, the primary functional units of the nervous system, leads to behavior. This requires a detailed characterization of the functional organization of neurons on a cellular and molecular level. Generally, communication between neurons occurs at morphologically specialized junctions called synapses, at which the concerted interaction of a series of molecular machines, made up of ion channels, receptor proteins, scaffolding proteins and down-stream effector systems, systematically encode, transfer and decode information.

In parallel to the transfer of information at synapses, an exchange of information also occurs outside of morphologically defined synapses following, for example, spillover of neurotransmitter. Thus, to understand the information processing that occurs in the central nervous system we investigate the dynamics and functional properties of the molecular elements both at and beyond the synapse to. Using the mammalian retina as a model system, my laboratory uses an ensemble of complementary methods including multi-electrode patch-clamp recording in intact tissue preparations, multi-photon microscopy for structural and functional imaging, as well as confocal and super-resolution microscopy. Our goal is to investigate signaling in neural microcircuits at the nanoscale level to decipher the molecular computations that occur in microcircuits of the mammalian nervous system.
More about Margareth Lin Veruki
The Retinal Microcircuits Laboratory

Chronic Kidney Disease – Supervisor Hans-Peter Marti

The Renal Research Group (UiB/Helse Bergen) is an open forum for clinical and translational kidney research in Bergen, which was founded by Prof. Bjarne M. Iversen and is now directed by Prof. Hans-Peter Marti since 2013. 

We have a core group under the direction of Hans-Peter Marti, as the principle investigator (PI). Postdoctoral fellow: Jana Babickova, PhD; PhD students: Øystein Eikrem, MD, Lea Landolt, MD, & Hassan Elsaid, MSc; technicians (former postdocs): Tarig Osman, PhD, & Jessica Furriol, PhD, and forskerlinje students: Philipp Strauss, Even Koch, and Sigrid Nakken.Miroslav Sekulic, PhD, Pathology, Harvard University, Boston, USA, had joined our group during the first half of 2017 with a Fulbright scholarship. 

Methodologies: Clinical epidemiology, statistics & bioinformatics, investigation of renal histology by stereology & automated image analyses, laser capture microdissection of nephron compartments of renal biopsies, next generation sequencing of mRNA & miRNA, proteomics, CRISPR/Cas9 technology, cell culturing and interventional animal studies.

Research Projects of the Core Group: 
a) Novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in Fabry nephropathy and in membranous nephropathy
b) Therapy of experimental renal fibrosis with Axl receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors
c) Prognostic markers and therapy of human and experimental clear cell renal cell carcinoma

More about Hans-Peter Marti
The Renal Research Group

Neuroscience – Supervisor Clive Bramham

Synaptic plasticity shapes behavior and mediates memory formation. Our overriding goal is to elucidate the molecular control of long-term synaptic plasticity, and dysregulation of these mechanisms in cognitive disorders. The main lines of research are:
Arc protein as a master regulator of long-term synaptic plasticity: How does the Arc protein work? We aim to connect the biochemical and structural properties of Arc to synaptic plasticity and harness this knowledge to address the broader question of how synaptic plasticity mediates information storage in neural networks.
Translational control of synaptic plasticity: How are specific forms of translation orchestrated to mediate structural and functional modification of synapses? Previous works has uncovered a role for BDNF as a trigger for transcription and translation-dependent synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. We are particularly interested in BDNF-TrkB coupling to translation.
Non-coding RNAs: This line of work explores the expression and function of microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs in the context of long-term synaptic plasticity.

More about Clive Bramham

Cancer Drug Development, Preclinical Drug Development – Supervisor Emmet McCormack

Our understanding of leukaemogenic disease pathogenesis has to a large extent been derived from several decades of research on human subjects. However, experimental insight into the preliminary events of the leukaemogenic process before they become clinically perceptible is unfeasible in human subjects. Thus, the use of animal models of haematological neoplasia serves the function of making the disease accessible to experimentation impossible in human patients, with the objective of the experimental approach to extend the knowledge of disease pathogenesis and development of new therapeutic regimes.

While a plethora of different models exist for acute myeloid and lymphoid leukaemia’s (AML and MCL), and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), genetic models are particularly vogue.

However, while these models are useful in determining the multi-step evolution of leukaemia, their contribution to the translational development of therapeutics has been limited. Application of patient derived xenografts in immunodeficient hosts has borne more fruitful clinical translation, however, these models do not reconstitute the clonal heterogeneities observed in relapsed patients and do not permit preclinical evaluation of immunotherapeutics. We propose that the development of “fully humanized” primary patient xenografts of leukaemia, generated through application of bone marrow mimetics and human immunity, may give greater insight into the molecular basis, clonal evolution and therapeutic resistance.

More about Emmet McCormack
Contact Emmet McCormack

Neuroscience – Supervisor Espen Hartveit

Neuroscience / Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience / Computational Neuroscience / Sensory Systems

Given the enormous structural complexity of the CNS, neuroscientists often resort to simpler model systems in order to address fundamental mechanisms of signal processing. Recently, the mammalian retina has become the system of choice for “deep connectomics”, with spectacular success. The retina is an easily accessible CNS structure, consisting of a thin sheet of neural tissue with clearly defined inputs and outputs. Ganglion cell axons transmit patterns of action potentials that encode multiple, parallel representations of features extracted from the visual world.

In this construction of parallel pathways, an important role is played by inhibitory interneurons that modify and sculpt the response properties of the excitatory neurons, similar to the role of inhibitory interneurons in other regions of the CNS. To obtain a mechanistic understanding of neural dynamics and signal processing in these interneurons, we need detailed information about expression and subcellular localization of ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels, as well as their functional properties such as kinetics and desensitization. Using techniques that include structural and functional two-photon imaging combined with patch-clamp electrophysiology, my laboratory aims to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic integration in the interneurons of the retina to enhance our understanding of the molecular and biophysical basis for the computational power of neural networks in the retina.

More about Espen Hartveit
The Retinal Microcircuits Laboratory

Faculty of Psychology

Grief, trauma and disasters – Supervisor Atle Dyregrov

The proposed project aims at improving our knowledge of bereaved children in schools, from the child and the teacher’s perspective. This to establish knowledge that can help children prevent the loss of educational attainment. It will combine quantitative and qualitative methods.

Over the past decades, research has documented profound consequences of losing a parent in childhood with an increased risk of psychological, physical, and social sequelae in life. This comprises increases in both morbidity and mortality. However, the research on educational consequences of such losses are sparse. In a large register study from Denmark that I am co-authoring (under review), we document substantial impact on educational attainment. Men who lost a parent in childhood have a 26 % reduced rate of attaining a bachelor or professional qualification. 

Studies from our own research group have documented that bereaved students struggle in both primary and secondary school, and that teachers have problems with finding the right balance between their role as “carers” and their responsibility for teaching the curriculum. 

We plan three related foci for the project: a) A systematic review of the school consequences of bereavement for children, B) A qualitative interview study of bereaved children, and C) A survey of children in secondary school based on the results of the two first foci.

More about Atle Dyregrov
www.krisepsyk.no, www.kriser.no 

Work and organizational psychology – Supervisor Jarle Eid

Safety and loss prevention in the maritime Industry

The operational psychology research group has worked closely with the maritime, oil and gas industries to investigate how psychological and organizational factors influence leadership, teamwork and performance in safety focused organizations.

Following several major accidents at sea in the early 1990s, the International Maritime Organization developed regulations that account for human factors, such as the STCW code. In a series of studies we have identified leadership behaviour associated with a safety focused organizational culture, and how positive work motivation and situation awareness affects safety outcomes in the oil and gas industry. The research group has worked closely with the maritime industry to examine safety critical aspects of passenger safety in the cruise industry.

In several studies, the research group has also examined antecedents and outcomes of maritime crew resource training and learning outcomes of simulator training.

The prospective candidate for a Marie Curie grant will take part in our new research agenda aimed at examining how psychological and organizational factors influence independent safety outcomes and safety performance over time. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with our maritime industry partners. The prospective candidate should have a PhD degree in psychology or related fields with an excellent command of the English language and an interest in applied research.

More about Jarle Eid
Operational Psychologi Research Group

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Technology involving and modelling of transport phenomena in multiphase systems – Supervisor Alex Christian Hoffmann

Transport of momentum (flow phenomena), heat and mass in technologically relevant systems involving more thant one phase. Modelling, computer simulation and experimentation studying such systems.

More about Alex Christian Hoffmann
Multiphase Systems 

Paleoclimate - isotope geochemistry - Supervisor Anna Nele Meckler

In our group we are reconstructing ocean and land temperature changes in the past, covering the whole Cenozoic (the last 65 million years). We are using a novel geochemical technique, called "carbonate clumped isotope thermometry". The advantage of this method is its independence from assumptions that often limit temperature reconstructions, particularly far back in time.

We have a state-of-the-art laboratory housing two clumped isotope mass spectrometers of the newest generation, and are following an approach that needs much less sample material compared to the setup in most laboratories. This allows us to use the method for applications where material is limited, such as foraminifera from marine sediments. The method is fully set up and we have improved the calibration for foraminifera, as well as assessed the effect of alteration of these shells after deposition, making the method now ready for applications.

MSCA projects could focus on reconstructing surface or deep ocean temperatures across climatic events in the Cenozoic with foraminifera or other types of carbonates, or applications to terrestrial systems (lakes, speleothems,...). The method is particularly valuable where other proxies are limited by other, uncertain environmental factors. Our team currently consists of two Postdocs and two PhD candidates, and we welcome new group members that want to expand their expertise in the cutting-edge geochemical methods and take advantage of this exciting new technique.

More about Anna Nele Meckler

Environmental toxicology - Supervisor Anders Goksøyr

Interests in environmental toxicology, endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), ocean and human health (OHH) issues, applied biotechnology and biomarker development, especially on the cytochrome P450 system, nuclear receptor regulation and reproductive toxicology of aquatic species (fish, marine mammals); recently focusing on toxicogenomics and environmental genomics, incl. proteomics, mechanism-oriented studies, and systems toxicology.

More about Anders Goksøyr

Marine technology - Supervisor Bodil Holst

The target of this research topic will be to develop "intelligent" nanostructured surfaces for marine application, a particular target will be the development of self-cleaning windows for a range of underwater, ocean-based sensors.

The group has a state of the art nanostrutured laboratory equipped with electron beam and photo lithograpy and reactive ion etching. Testing of windows in realistic conditions will be done in cooperations with other partners, including industry partners.

More about Bodil Holst

Geochemistry/ Astrobiology/ Hydrothermal Processes - Supervisor Eoghan Reeves

My research aims to understand how high temperature-pressure fluids in the earth's crust acquire their chemical compositions, specifically through interactions with the lithosphere and biosphere. In particular, a strong research theme is organic-inorganic interactions involving the element carbon in crustal fluids (deep sea hot springs, petroleum systems etc.).

I work within the UiB Department of Earth Science and the K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research (successor to the SFF Centre of Excellence in Geobiology) on such topics such as:

  • geochemical processes controlling the formation and evolution of seafloor hot spring fluids and their chemistry
  • the geochemistry of organic compounds and carbon-sulfur interactions in hydrothermal settings and petroleum systems
  • exploration and sampling of new types of hydrothermal systems in the deep ocean
  • biogeochemistry of hydrothermal fluids and vent structures (e.g. black smoker chimneys, crustal aquifer fluids)My lab is well-equipped to conduct simulations of hydrothermal fluid-rock-organic reactions (experiments in flexible cell reactors) to develop and test hypotheses.

In addition, our Centre for Deep Sea Research has funded expeditions to the Arctic Mid Ocean Ridges for sample collection.

A broad suite of organic and inorganic analysis of fluids, either experimental or natural samples, is possible through my lab or within our Centre group, as well as thermodynamic and fluid flow modelling possibilities.

More about Eoghan Reeves

Marine microbial ecology - Supervisor Gunnar Bratbak

Marine microbial communities are by far the most abundant and genetically diverse group of organisms in marine pelagic ecosystems. Understanding how biodiversity is regulated and the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning remain among the most challenging aspects of contemporary microbial ecology.

Biodiversity is of pivotal importance because it represents the complete repertoire of all realised and potential properties, processes, pathways and interactions that makes the ecosystem function and respond the way it does. Understanding the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning will help us understand the consequences of human activity and climate change for the marine ecosystem services we all rely on.

In our research we investigate how trophic interactions and viral activity work together to control biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem function of the marine microbial food web. We welcome projects / candidates that focus on aspects of carbon and nutrient flow through the marine microbial food web and trophic interactions, including microzooplankton grazing, predation processes and viral infections.

More about Gunnar Bratbak 

Biotechnology/ sustainable aquaculture / environmental research - Supervisor Hans Torstein Kleivdal

Microalgae can grow autotrophically, with light energy and carbon dioxide as energy and carbon source, but also heterotrophically where an organic carbon source is required. Heterotrophic cultivation is an established process in industrial biotechnology, while the technology for autotrophic microalgae production is still in development.

The disadvantage of heterotrophic cultivation is that a sugar source is required, while for phototrophic production carbon and energy is used from CO2 and (sun)light making it more sustainable. There are a number of heterotrophic microalgal strains that produce the omega 3 fatty acid DHA which is commercialized in high value applications. Lately its application in aquaculture as a source of DHA is being considered. Fish oil, which is used in fish feed has both DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. Autotrophic algae can produce both DHA and EPA.  The biomass composition will be different from the algae grown heterotrophically, specially on carotenoids and pigments, which will be higher in autotrophic grown microalgae. In addition, the lipid class to which the fatty acids are bond to (neutral of polar lipids) can be different. This can lead to different properties and functionalities when used in aquafeed.

In this project we want to compare the properties and functionality of the products coming from autotrophic and heterotrophic microalgae as well as the production technology, for application in the aquaculture sector.

More about Hans Torstein Kleivdal
National Algae Pilot Mongstad

Fluid mechanics, Wave energy, Applied Mathematics - Supervisor Henrik Kalisch

CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels may have adverse effects on the climate on Earth. The migration to zero-emission power production from renewable energy sources is a key component in reaching the goal of stabilizing the CO2 level in the atmosphere and oceans. While lagging wind and solar power, extraction of energy from surface waves in the near-shore zone has great potential as a renewable energy source. In order to understand the wave response of different energy extraction devices a detailed knowledge of the wave properties is necessary.

Moreover, in determining appropriate locations for the placement of wave energy devices one important factor is the safety of the devices during extreme wave conditions.We investigate how the wave and wind climate affects the possible location of  extraction devices especially from a point of view of equipment safety.

Wave energy converters depend on waves being in a certain waveheight-frequency regime in order to operate efficiently. These ’money-making’ waves are generally found behind the breaker line, i.e. shoreward of the first instance of wave breaking as oceanic waves approach the shore. This breaker line also acts as a natural barrier, keeping waves of large waveheight from reaching the wave extraction devices.We will use depth-integrated Boussinesq systems coupled with high-order spectral projections and precise wave breaking criteria to identify locations for placement of wave-energy converters.

More about Henrik Kalisch

Applied Mathematics - Supervisor Jan Martin Nordbotten

Flow and deformation of fractured porous media is of increasing importance in applications.

We currently have a significant research interest in all mathematical aspects of this problem, including:

  • Rigorous derivation of mathematical models for coupled flow, deformation and fracture, including non-linear contact mechanics.
  • Mathematical analysis of mixed-dimensional partial differential equations
  • Discretization methods for complex domains with high-aspect-ratio inclusions
  • Efficient linear and non-linear solvers

We are interested in candidates with a strong background in mathematics who are interested in joining our research group and further this work.

More about Jan Martin Nordbotten

High-energy physics - Supervisor Jörn Kersten

My research interests are located at the interface of particle physics, astroparticle physics, and cosmology, focussing on the phenomenology of physics beyond the standard models of particle physics and cosmology.  I am particularly fascinated by the mystery of darkmatter, so far the clearest evidence for such new physics.  My goal is to gain insight into its nature by combining information from direct and indirect dark matter searches, collider searches for new particles, as well as cosmological probes.

Given the absence of an observation of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), I concentrate on scenarios beyond the WIMP paradigm.  These include both the case of very weak and unexpectedly strong dark matter interactions. For example, unusually weak interactions tend to result in late decays of heavier particles, which are constrained by measurements of the primordial abundances of light elements.  In addition, unusual signals may be observable at the Large Hadron Collider.  If dark matter interacts more strongly than WIMPs, this could help to solve shortcomings of the standard cold dark matter scenario at small scales.

Projects for the MSCA application could include, but are not limited to

  • Constraints from big bang nucleosynthesis on late decays and extra radiation,
  • LHC phenomenology of SUSY scenarios with gravitino dark matter,
  • Model building with self-interacting dark matter.

More about Jörn Kersten

Climate Dynamics - Supervisor Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu

The Earth is in a period of warming, manifested in a net loss of land-based ice, a warming of the ocean, and an overall trend of decreasing Arctic sea-ice extent. The Arctic climate is changing twice as fast as the global mean. The polar ice sheets are major contributors to sea level rise, and non-linear ice loss from marine-based ice sheets is one of the key uncertainties in sea level projections (IPCC, 2013).

Future ice sheet changes thus pose a severe risk that must be accounted for in mitigation and adaptation strategies for policy makers and stakeholders of populous coastlines worldwide. Predicting the future warming trend as well as its consequences for the climate system is a major challenge in climate research.

Arctic climate and the cryosphere are particularly sensitive to change, and might act as wildcards in the climate system with amplified trends and unidentified thresholds possibly triggering irreversible changes. Understanding the dynamics and interactions of the high latitude ocean, sea ice, atmosphere, glaciers and ice sheets is therefore crucial.

The goal of this project is to transform our knowledge of high latitude climate dynamics and the interaction between the climate and the cryosphere in the Arctic.

More about Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu

Polar Oceanography - Supervisor Lars Henrik Smedsrud 

In March 2000 Smedsrud accomplised his PhD on frazil ice formation and sediment entrainment in polar waters, and has worked with projects related to sea ice formation in the Arctic and melting of ice-shelves in Antarctica since then.

Smedsrud has extensive field experience, has been cruise leader during the International Polar Year, participated in several international laboratory experiments, and worked with a number of numerical models.

Modelling activity includes vertical column modelling of the Arctic Ocean and sea ice cover, sub ice shelf circulation under the Fimbul Ice Shelf in Antarctica, polynya dynamics on Svalbard, and melting and export of sea ice in Global Earth System Models.

More about Lars Henrik Smedsrud

Biotechnology, microalgal biotechnology, aquaculture, sustainable feedstocks - Supervisor Maria Gante de Vasconcelos Barbosa 

Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for sustainable production of food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels. Microalgae have the potential to replace unsustainable feedstocks such as fish oil, fish meal, palm oil, fossil oil in many different industrial sectors. Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms which use a short direct route to convert solar energy to functional molecules.  In addition, they can be grown in seawater, leading to a low water footprint and they can be grown in places that are not suitable for agriculture. The efficiency at which energy is converted into chemicals depends on the rate at which light is absorbed and the metabolic rate at which it is converted into products.

One of the biggest challenges in the field is the development of robust strains and production systems with high photosynthetic efficiency under low energy/cost operational conditions. We want to address this challenge by working on the improvement of microalgae strains for the production of specific oils with importance for the aquaculture, food and feed sectors. The algae naturally produce these oils but we need to increase the production efficiency in order to reduce production costs and be competitive.

We want to develop strains that can cope with the conditions of light and temperature in the bioreactor while maintaining a high lipid productivity. For this we will use methods in breeding, screening, sorting and laboratory evolution.

More about Maria Barbosa
National Algae Pilot Mongstad

Bioinformatics - Supervisor Nathalie Reuter

Biological membranes compartmentalize cells and organelles and are the site of a myriad of processes essential to life. Unlike transmembrane proteins, peripheral proteins bind at the surface of membranes transiently and include for example membrane targeting domains or lipid-processing enzymes. They exist in both a soluble and a membrane-bound form.

The current textbook model of peripheral membrane binding sites involves a combination of basic and hydrophobic amino acids. We and others have shown that it has many limitations and needs to be updated. Unlike protein-protein or protein-DNA interfaces, interfacial binding sites of peripheral proteins are surprisingly poorly characterized and this hampers a number of progresses in the Life Sciences.

The project aims at developing bioinformatics resources relevant to the identification of peripheral membrane proteins and their interaction sites. The first step will be to further develop a statistical framework from the group and use it to perform a bioinformatics survey of datasets of a scale and scope that has not been attempted yet. With these results in hand we will be in a position to update the current text-book model for peripheral membrane binding.

The Reuter group has a long-standing experience in working with peripheral proteins, as well as with bioinformatics and molecular simulations.

More about Nathalie Reuter

Geology - Supervisor Robert L. Gawthorpe

The aim of this project is to investigate the role of structural inheritance in the structural and stratigraphic evolution of rifted continental margins.

We will use case studies from carefully chosen non-volcanic margins where we have the best imaging of the pre-existing structure and pre-breakup history, together with 3D numerical modelling to:

  1. better understand the role of structural inheritance in the pre-break-up history of these margins, and
  2. synthesise our results into updated models of rifted margin evolution.

More about Robert L. Gawthorpe

Speleology, carbonate dissolution, geochronology - Supervisor Stein-Erik Lauritzen

Study of the dissolutrion rate of calcite in water and CO2 at various temperatures and pressures, up to 200 bar.

The purpose of the project is to investigate the potential for subglacial karst processes, corresponding to 2000 m ice cover. This is a central and very important aspect of the glacial geomorphology of carbonate terrain. It is critical to know whether the process is accelerated or retarded when karst is covered under 2000 m wet-based ice.

I need a candidate that has skills in experimental, chemistry lab work, and preferably (but not necessarily) with a background in Earth Sciences. This is an excercise in chemical dissoultion kinetics.

More about Stein-Erik Lauritzen

Geophysics/Seismic imaging - Supervisor Stéphane Rondenay

Research topic: Seismic characterization of solid earth structure and processes

My research is concerned with solid earth structure and dynamics. I use high-quality seismic data and state-of-the-art seismic imaging techniques to characterize subsurface structure at a range of scales (local to global), and interpret these images in conjunction with constraints from other fields of the geosciences to understand the processes that have shaped our planet. My current research interests include subduction zone dynamics, global seismic imaging of upper-mantle discontinuities, and cratonic assembly and evolution.

More about Stephane Rondenay

Global change, plant ecology, biodiversty, functional ecology - Supervisor Vigdis Vandvik

I am a community ecologist interested in how natural and human drivers affect populations, communities and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. My research fall into three broad categories;

  • How do dispersal and niche processes interact to shape the patterns in diversity that we observe in nature?
  • How does environmental change affect various aspects of vegetation, and how do these effects scale across levels of organization from physiology via populations to communities and ecosystems?
  • What are the effects of human land-use regimes, past and present, on terrestrial ecosystems?

I study these topics by a combination of of laboratory experiments, field experiments, and field observations. Through my own research projects and collaborations in Norway, Europe, the US, Uganda, Nepal and China I get the opportunity to explore these questions in different regions, study systems, and by using different methods.

I can offer opportunities to develop new rsearch opportunities most of my research projects.I have also worked with nature management and conservation authorities locally an internationally, for example with the UNESCO-recognised Heathland Centre at Lygra and as aa author of the upcoming IPBES report on the state and trends in biodiversity and ecosystems in Europe and Central Asia, to explore the ecological effect – conservation implication links of my research.

More about Vigdis Vandvik

Energy - Sedimentology - Supervisor William Helland-Hansen

My research interests include clastic sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy and time-stratigraphy, basin analysis, source-to-sink, the Mesozoic succession in the North Sea and Barents Sea and the Paleogene of the Arctic.

My research is partly theoretical, developing new methods and concepts in sedimentology and basin analysis, and partly practical, mapping and describing sedimentary rocks in outcrops and in the subsurface.

I have been leading many major projects. Currently this includes among others a educational and research focused cooperation with Makerere University, Uganda; a Norwegian Research Council funded project on the Triassic of the Barents Sea, a Statoil funded project on global source-to-sink systems.

More about William Helland-Hansen


Faculty of Social Sciences

Media studies, media use – Supervisor Hallvard Moe

Images of Media Users in the Age of Big Data

This project will analyze how media audiences and users are imagined by the media. The overflow of information and statistics, often based on real-time data, is key to understand the transformations of day-to-day journalism amid click-based metrics, and the strategic reliance on audience profiles and niche market targeting that forms the basis for long term changes across genres and content forms. While sporadic quantitative survey data, rating measurement or qualitative interview studies used to form the basis of audience images, the menu has expanded dramatically in terms of available ways to draw images of those who use different media. But how are the media users imagined by the different kinds of actors? How does these images differ between public service broadcasters, commercial television companies, print-based journalists, media technology innovators, and those who educate future journalists? How does new big data analysis matter, and how is implicit notions and norms integrated or changing in the ways media providers imagine their users? And, what are the potential impact of such ideas of the users – in terms of media’s democratic roles as and the future of journalism?

The project will exploit a unique opportunity for field work in Bergen, where the recently opened Media City Bergen houses regional newspapers, a commercial broadcaster, a public service broadcaster, media tech companies and journalism educators.

More about Hallvard Moe
Research Group for Media Use and Audience Studies

International Migration - Refugees in Europe – Supervisor Susanne Bygnes

The Department of Sociology is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to contribute to the IMEX project group. We are looking for a researcher with experience in the following themes: migration and integration of refugees in Europe.

The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to design and carry out a research project that focuses on the interfaces between refugees and majority populations by focusing on for example neighborhood relations or mobilization efforts in for example Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Italy or Greece.

We welcome innovative proposals that add one or several such case studies that match the objectives of the IMEX-project. The successful candidate will be included into the IMEX research group at the Department of Sociology, the migration research unit IMER Bergen and the Diversity, extremism and human rights research group at the Digital Social Science Core Facility.

More about Susanne Bygnes
Imagining and Experiencing the 'Refugee Crisis' (IMEX)

Faculty of Humanities

Philosophy – Supervisor Alois Pichler 

Wittgenstein; Writing research - Wittgenstein; Digital Humanities - Text encoding, Editorial philology, Ontologies, Text theory

Philosophy - Wittgenstein:
- Wittgenstein's philosophical Nachlass
- Wittgenstein's philosophy
- The importance of the form of writing for Wittgenstein's philosophy

Writing research – Wittgenstein:
- Writing processes and strategies in Wittgenstein's philosophical Nachlass
- Text and thought genesis in Wittgenstein's philosophical Nachlass

Digital Humanities - Text encoding, Editorial philology, Ontologies, Text theory
- Text encoding / markup of large and complex modern manuscript corpora (XML, TEI)
- Digital scholarly primitives
- Online scholarly editions of modern manuscripts
- Digital research platforms
- Ontologies and Semantic Web in the Humanities
- Text theory and document ontologies
- Open access

More about Alois Pichler
The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen 

Ancient history, global history – Supervisor Eivind Heldaas Seland

Red sea and Indian Ocean in the pre-islamic period


The Roman Near East

Dynamics of trade, ideology/religion, and political power in the ancient world

Historical and archaeological network analysis

Climate as an agent of historical change

More about Eivind Heldaas Seland

Middle Ages – Old Norse Studies – Supervisor Jens Eike Schnall

In the field of Old Norse Studies, overarching research interests are: courtly literature, learned literature, mythology, saga literature, medieval German and Latin literature, medievalism.

More specifically, my research interests include a.o. medieval encyclopedic literature and orders of knowledge; literature, science & technology; mapping and cartography; learned networks and media; medieval and early modern food cultures; and transformations of the heroic.

More about Jens Eike Schnall

Environmental risks – controversy – Supervisor Jeroen P. van der Sluijs

My research seeks to increase our understanding of the phenomenon and dynamics of scientific controversy on contemporary old, new and emerging environmental and health risks.

I work or have worked on contested science in the fields of climate change, pollinator decline, fish stock assessments, endocrine disruptors, electromagnetic fields, nanoparticles, underground storage of CO2, risk migration in sustainable technologies.

More about Jeroen P. van der Sluijs

Indicators for cohesion and social convergence policies – Testing norms and approaches – Supervisor Jeroen P. van der Sluijs

Composite indicators have grown in use as well as in impact, and are increasingly used at face value by a plurality of actors. A composite indicator is usually built to ‘tell a story’. It is thus ideally suited to identify and bring attention to a possibly latent phenomenon. For this it is appreciated by so called “value entrepreneurs”.

In the context of policy analysis and negotiation the unidirectionality of composite indicators is less desirable as different options as well as different ‘end in sight’ are relevant. Ideally different stakeholders could confront one another armed with different measures and indicators. Could the concept of composite indicator be stretched as to accommodate these settings? Could we force it to tell ‘more than one story’?

The present project aims to give this concept a try, to explore whether a composite indicator can be built as to support plural narratives, and to test this against measures used in convergence analysis in the field of cohesion policies. We consider that cohesion policy and convergence studies, with their dense web of interconnected interests, policies and outcomes, offer an idea arena for such an experiment.

Our experiments will involve e.g. maintaining fixed the structure of the indicators while changing its scale, fixing its scale while changing the composition of its pillars, building the indicator in a framework of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, and so on. The experiments will be tailored to different constituencies and stakeholders who in principle agree on the use of evidence and of statistical information while differing on the interpretation of what is relevant and important. Policy users for this project will be EUROFOUND, the EU Agency for the improvement of living and working conditions, which already plans testing composite indicators based on the variables identified by the European Commission and the European Council.

This project will involve standard and spatial statistical methodologies as well as uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, sensitivity auditing, and quantitative storytelling. Particular attention will be given to the characterization of the uncertainty and to the use of pedigree for the quality of numerical information. The existence of social convergence will be tested using spatial dynamic panel data models.

More about Jeroen P. van der Sluijs

Digital Culture – Supervisor Jill Walker Rettberg

Digital Culture research at the University of Bergen focuses on digital media aesthetics. Our biggest current project is the ERC-funded project "Machine Vision in Everyday Life: Playful Interactions with Visual Technologies in Digital Art, Games, Narratives and Social Media" (2018-23).

We would welcome projects that connect to this research, or that widen it, for instance using critical algorithm studies to examine ethics and bias in algorithmic images, or using an aesthetic or ethnographic approaches to analyse selfie filters or surveillance systems, or doing ethnographic research with designers of computer vision systems. A summary of the project is available online.

Jill Walker Rettberg is also interested in supervising projects looking at narrative in social media and self-representation online.

More about Jill Walker Rettberg
The Research Group for Digital Culture

Food ethics; ethics and integrity of science; philosophy of science; risk and precaution – Supervisor Matthias Kaiser

His main work and areas of expertise are in the fields of philosophy of science, ethics of science, food ethics, and technology assessment. His areas of competence include social studies of science and technology, history of science, ethics, logic, and history of philosophy.

For many years Kaiser's research activities have taken place in a multi- and inter-disciplinary environment. Due to his previous position at NENT he is familiar with matters of science and technology policy, and he has built up competence in the field of scientific integrity. Through detailed case studies he has furthermore considerable insights in diverse fields of science, such as the history of plate tectonics, aquaculture, and biotechnology.

Another topic of detailed study is the Precautionary Principle. His leading role in the conduct of three Norwegian consensus conferences has led to a special interest in participatory methods, among others publishing on the use of the ethical matrix.

More about Matthias Kaiser

Religion – Supervisor Michael Stausberg

Theories of religion, religion and tourism, Zoroastrianism, religion in ancient Iran, magic, religion and globalization, urban religion, religious freedom, religious minorities.

More about Michael Stausberg

Logic, Philosophy of Logic, Rationality – Supervisor Ole Thomassen Hjortland

Ole Hjortland works in formal logic (e.g. proof theory) and the philosophy of logic. He is particularly interested in logical pluralism, nonclassical logics, the normativity of logic, and the connection between rationality and logic. He currently runs a four-year project entitled `Anti-Exceptionalism About Logic', funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The project looks at analogies between logical theories and theories of the special sciences.

More about Ole Thomassen Hjortland

Electronic Literature, Digital Media Aesthetics – Supervisor Scott Rettberg

Scott Rettberg leads the Electronic Literature Research Group. We have a strong emphasis on digital poetics and narrative, with frequent international guests and a strong digital humanities profile.

The ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base is the foremost database in electronic literature, and we have had numerous projects using digital methods to explore electronic literature. In addition, there is an emphasis on creative and practice-based research in electronic literature and the digital arts.

More about Scott Rettberg

Archeology, dating – Supervisor Simon Armitage

Towards non-destructive excavation: Constructing high-resolution digital archives of key early Homo sapiens sites in southern Africa.

Archaeological excavation is inherently destructive, making it critical to maximise the quantity and quality of information recorded, facilitating future analysis. Advances in spatial referencing and site imaging have minimised the information lost during excavation, but to be useful these data sources need to be integrated both with each other and legacy data from the site.

Consequently we seek to attract a researcher who will propose a strategy for recording, integrating and preserving excavation data from key Homo sapiens sites being excavated as part of the SapienCE Centre of Excellence (Blombos, Klasies, Klipdrift). These sites, located in the Southern Cape of South Africa, record key advances in human cognitive, technological and social development between 100,000–50,000 years age.

By integrating high-resolution 3D data collection with traditional taphonomic approaches and digitized legacy data, an interactive database linking spatial and taphonomic variables can be created. This approach will unlock the potential of our data, facilitating novel spatial, temporal, geological and palaeoenvironmental analyses. By implementing a strategy for ensuring permanent preservation of data as a high-resolution digital archive, we make a step towards excavations in which no information about the past is lost: non-destructive excavation.

More about Simon Armitage

Gender, migration, anthropology – Supervisor Christine Margrethe Jacobsen

Christine M. Jacobsen is Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Women's and Gender Research at the University of Bergen. Jacobsen specializes in the areas of migration, religion and gender. Her publications include the monograph Islamic Traditions and Muslim Youth in Norway (Brill, 2011) and a co-edited special issue of Feminist Review on "Islam and Gender in Europe: Subjectivities, Politics & Piety". Her post-doctoral research was on “The Politics of Religious Freedom and secularism in France” and a part of the RCN-funded project "Regulating Religion: Religious freedom and law in (secular) European welfare regimes."

Jacobsen works ethnographically in Norway and Southern France, and publishes on topics such as feminism and multiculturalism, identity politics and political involvement among immigrant youth, migration and sex work, religion and secularism, and irregular migration. Her latest book is Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet (Exceptional Welfare: Irregular migrants in the Norwegian welfare state, Gyldendal 2015, co-edited with Bendixsen and Søvig). Jacobsen recently received RCN-funding for a new 3-year research project “Waiting for an uncertain future: The temporalities of irregular migration”.

More about Christine M. Jacobsen

Faculty of Law

Legal history, legal culture rule of law, courts, climate – Supervisor Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde

I am the founder and have been head of the Research Group for Legal Culture at the Faculty of Law in Bergen since 2010. We arrange every year several seminars and workshops, have several guest researchers, and published in 2017 a book on “Comparative Legal Cultures”. 

I am the founder and head of the Code of 1274-project since 2014, exploring medieval legislation in Norway and elsewhere in Europe. The project conducted research, have made an exhibition which is on the road 2016-2024, arrange two workshops every year, and are publishing the first book in 2018.

I am co-founder and co-head of the Rule of Law Project since 2016. We arrange every year several seminars and workshops, have several guest researchers, and co-founder and –head Prof. Aarlie and I have taught the ERASMUS course on ‘Courts and Society in Transission’ in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany and Belgium.

Next to this I am head of research at the Museum the Barony Rosendal since 2015, I was also professor at the Centre for Medieval Studies in Bergen 2008-2010, I have published three books between 2005 and 2015 and edited six books between 2006 and 2017, I have published over 100 book chapters, articles and essays, and appear in Norwegian media frequently.

More about Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde


You should have an excellent research track record and be academically ambitious and curious and open towards the diversity of research approaches.

To apply for the Masterclass, applicants should have an interest in one or more of the wide range of research areas/topics offered at UiB. 

The application should include the following documents:

  • Short motivation letter of the candidate explaining his/her potential for an MSCA-IF, including training/secondment (where relevant) goals and plans (max 1 page)
  • Short summary of the proposed project (max 1 page)
  • CV of the candidate, including contact information (max 3 pages)

The deadline to submit the application is the 2nd February 2018. 
UiB will notify selected candidates by email by mid-February 2018.