Søren Falch Junior Award
Marte-Helene Bjørk – Department of Clinical Medicine
Marte Helene Bjørk has received Falch’s Prize for Young Researchers for 2020. She received the prize for her excellent research in neurology, especially on epilepsy.
Bjørk is 39 years old. She is associated professor at the University of Bergen and senior consultant at Haukeland University Hospital. She was educated as cand. med. at NTNU in 2007 and obtained her PhD at the same institution in 2011. Bjørk is authorized as a specialist in neurology. She is the leader of Bergen Epilepsy Research Group.
Bjørk’s research aims to assess to which degree mother’s epilepsy and epilepsy treatment influence the risk for pregnancy complications and harm to the baby. She has determined the amount of such complications, and also identified risk factors. Her results have influenced recent guidelines and recommendations for treatment of epilepsy in young females. In her research, Bjørk has used national health registries and large, well-characterized cohorts. She is the leader of a Nordic consortium where health registry information from all five Nordic countries is combined. This makes it possible to examine rare complications and effects of rarely used epilepsy medications. The research methods developed by Bjørk will now be used also for other neurological disorders. Bjørk combines health registry information with biomarker results from genetic, vitamin and pharmacological studies. She is doing active research in the field of headache as well, concentrated on new treatments and neurophysiological studies.
Bjørk has published 33 scientific articles in leading international journals. She is the supervisor for several PhD-candidates. Bjørk has received national and international prizes for her research.