K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology

Research team


The K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology consists of collaborations between four research groups at NTNU and three international centers at the interface of medicine, epidemiology, applied statistics, bioinformatics and system biology.


Center leader Kristian Hveem, MD, professor in clinical epidemiology and medicine at the Dept. of Public Health. Science: Hveem's recent research involvement includes discoveries on MI, T2D, lipids, BMI, blood pressure, and various cancers, 20 published in Nature Genetics and 5 in Nature. He led the establishment of the state-of-the-art HUNT biobank facility in 2006 where he has been the leader for more than a decade. He has also been instrumental in the design and establishment of the Danish National Biobank at SSI, Copenhagen, acting as its first director in 2010-13, presently as scientific counselor. Kristian Hveem has comprehensive experience in leadership of large research groups and research infrastructures. He was the deputy leader of Biohealth Norway (2002-2012), has been the leader of Biobank Norway since its start in 2010 and the leader of the Nordic Biobank Network since 2014. He is a WP-leader of two major EU-projects on Biobanks, BioSHaRE.eu and BBMRI-LPC, and represents the Ministry of Health (HOD) as the Norwegian representative on the management committee of BBMRI-ERIC, the legal European biobank infrastructure. He has led the research group of Genetic Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine since its start in 2013 and acts as the NTNU-PI on a large national genotyping project, Harvesting Biobanks. Hveem brings scientific expertise in cohorts, registries, biobanks, genotyping, data handling and analysis of new genetic variation.

Bjørn Olav Åsvold, MD, internist and endocrinologist, associate professor in epidemiology at the Dept. of Public Health, is together with Sætrom one of few young researchers at NTNU selected for the Outstanding Academic Fellows Programme. Åsvold brings expertise in epidemiological methodology, in particular the identification of modifiable causes of disease in population and Mendelian randomization approaches.

Pål Sætrom, professor in bioinformatics at the Dept. of Computer and Information Science and Dept. of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, is leader of NTNU’s bioinformatics core facility (BioCore) and an NTNU Outstanding Academic Fellow. Sætrom works towards an improved understanding of gene regulation in human disease, bringing extensive experience in both managing and analyzing high dimensional data and in developing tools for integrating these different data types to discover functional genetic variants, relevant for the bioinformatic prioritization.

Eivind Almaas, professor in systems biology at Dept. of Biotechnology. Almaas works towards an improved understanding of systems-level interplay and design principles of metabolic, gene-regulatory, and protein-interaction networks in cells, bringing extensive experience in both complex network analysis and high performance computing.


International collaborations

The University of Michigan (HUNT-MI collaboration)

The K.G Jebsen center for genetic epidemiology has had close and active collaboration with the Department of Biostatistics' Center for Statistical Genetics at the University of Michigan since 2010 (HUNT-MI collaboration). Here we collaborate with biostatistics Cristen Willer, Goncalo Abecasis and Michael Boehnke who is a team of world-renowned statistical geneticists. Willer is the Michigan PI of HUNT-MI and the group have been interacting through weekly phone calls and annual face-to-face meetings for the last four years. Willer, Abecasis and Boehnke have +44,000 scientific citations and +60 papers published in Nature, Science, Nature Genetics and NEJM over the last 5 years.

University of Bristol, MRC Integrative Epidemiology unit

We have an active collaboration with Professor George Davey Smith, head of the MRC Integrative Epidemiology unit at the University of Bristol. With more than 1000 peer-reviewed academic publications, he has been highly successful in multiple fields of epidemiology, from lifecourse epidemiology and the population health contributions of the new genetics to systematic reviewing of evidence of effectiveness of health care and health policy interventions. He has been highly successful in developing novel causal analysis methods in population-based and clinical health sciences. Of particular relevance to our collaboration, he has pioneered the development of Mendelian Randomization analyses, a novel technique that utilizes genetic variation to examine causal associations in observational studies.

Scientific Advisory Board

We have appointed an external advisory panel with three leading experts in the conduct of high-profile, high-quality studies. This panel provides strategic advice to the management team to ensure the maximum scientific benefit, help resolve any scientific disagreements (in the unlikely event that these occur), and plan for the long term sustainability of the center. The panel meets yearly. Members are: Sekar Kathiresan, MD, the Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Heart Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Eleftheria Zeggini, the leader of the Analytical Genomics of Complex Traits group of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK. Björn Pasternak, MD, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen/Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm an internationally leading pharmaco-epidemiologist utilizing register based sources for phenotypic curation.




Logo K. G. Jebsen Foundation


Logo K. G. Jebsen Foundation