Through our research we try to gain an understanding of the origins and development of major diseases and disorders, and to contribute to the development of effective treatments.
The research group belongs to the faculty of health sciences
Our overarching research aim is to contribute to the development of novel preventative and treatment strategies. We are an interdisciplinary group consisting of pharmacists and biomedical laboratory scientists collaborating on research into the origins, causes, and treatment of major communicable and non-communicable diseases and disorders.
We apply cutting-edge techniques, including omics- and nanotechnology frameworks informed by machine-learning. Several of our research projects form an integral part of the university’s Intelligent health initiative.
For more information on our current major research themes, see "More about the research group".
Head of research group
More about the research group
This section presents our current major areas of collaborative research, which include one or more PhD fellows, master students and partners at the national and international levels.
Drug delivery and formulation
We are developing in-house nanoparticulate formulations for large drug molecules, such as peptides, for use in the treatment of various diseases and disorders.
The major focus area is infectious diseases: projects include the incorporation into nanoparticles of the recently discovered antibiotic teixobactin for treatment of biofilm-based infections (co-operation with the University of Liverpool) and bacteriocins for treatment of topical infections. The latter project is in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Agribiotix AS.
This collaboration has recently received internal funding from the university’s Intelligent health initiative and the Norwegian research council, where we are partners on the FORNY2020 project 341669. As part of the dry-eye initiative (see the description of our research on ocular microbiota below), we are also developing Nano formulations for the peptide lacritin for improved treatment of dry eye sufferers.
Microbiota in health and disease
With our partners at Akershus university hospital we are studying the tumor microenvironment in patients with colorectal cancer, and evaluating various immunomicrobiological signatures to understand the interactions between cancer, microbiota and immune responses. An overall aim of the research is to contribute to improving early and non-invasive diagnostics in colorectal cancer.
As a part of the ‘dry-eye initiative’ (a collaboration with the Oslo dry eye clinic and Oslo university hospital) we are performing the to-date most comprehensive investigation of the microbiota of dry eye patients and controls, with a view to identifying robust microbiological signatures of the disorder. The research has in 2023 received funding from its partners, the Pasteur legacy and the university’s newly established Intelligent health initiative.
The role of skeletal muscle in non-infectious diseases
With a broad network of national and an international partners (University of Urbino, Italy) we are studying the role of skeletal muscle in particularly obesity and type II diabetes.
Physical activity can help to both prevent and treat obesity and type 2 diabetes, and an overarching aim of the research in the group is to study how energy metabolism in skeletal muscles is regulated and affected by obesity, how insulin resistance develops in skeletal muscles and why physical activity is beneficial. The work has previously received funding from the Norwegian diabetes association.
A complete list of ongoing projects in the groups is provided in the project bank.
Infrastructure and Equipment
The group is well-equipped to support its research ambitions. There are dedicated facilities for microbiology, cell culture and pharmaceutical production. We have in-house most of the equipment required for our work, including a recently purchased Malvern Zetasizer ultra for nanoparticle analysis.
- Smart development of nano-antibiotic formulations for drug-delivery.
- Nanoparticulate drug carriers for delivery of cutting-edge antimicrobials to biofilms.
- Bacteriocin-containing therapeutic formulations for efficient treatment of topical infections.
- Lacritin-incorporated nanoparticles as a new and improved treatment of dry eye disease.
- Application of next generation sequencing and machine learning to decipher the effects of oral antibiotic treatment on dry eye disease.
- Whole genome sequencing of dry eye biomarkers: on the road to developing new evidence-based solutions for the treatment of a debilitating condition.
- Exploring Fusobacterium spp. as non-invasive biomarkers for colorectal cancer screening: Examination of a Norwegian cohort using stool and colonic biopsies.
- CiRCle – Immune profiles in ColoRectal Cancer.
- Electrical stimulation of human myotubes as a model system for physical activity.
- Bacterial components and their effect on energy metabolism in human skeletal muscle cells.
- Characterization of extracellular vesicles from human myotubes.
- Energy metabolism in human myotubes.
- Evaluation of lipid tests relevant for point of care testing analysis in pharmacies.
- Improved compliance with antibiotic treatment through competence and skills transfer in pharmacies.
- Plastic-degrading bacteria in the Norwegian environment: biochemical potential and genetic basis.
- Biocompatibility and safety of dental devices made from base metal alloys and digitally manufactured orthodontic resins.
- Nanoparticulate drug carriers for delivery of cutting-edge antimicrobials (teixobactin) to biofilms. PhD candidate: Ahmed Amer. Supervisors: Sanko Nguyen (main), Colin Charnock (co-supervisor).
- Lacritin-incorporated nanoparticles as a new and improved treatment of dry eye disease. Supervisors: Sanko Nguyen (main), Colin Charnock (project leader).
- Application of next generation sequencing and machine learning to decipher the effects of oral antibiotic treatment on dry eye disease. PhD candidate: Maria Naqvi. Supervisors: Colin Charnock (main).
- Exploring Fusobacterium spp. as non-invasive biomarkers for colorectal cancer screening: Examination of a Norwegian cohort using stool and colonic biopsies. PhD candidate: Thulasika Senthakumaran. Supervisors: Hege Tunsjø (main).
- CiRCle – Immune profiles in ColoRectal Cancer. PhD candidate Thura Akrem Omran. Supervisors: Hege Tunsjø (main).
- Bacterial components and their effect on energy metabolism in human skeletal muscle cells. PhD candidate: Ragna Husby Tingstad. Supervisors: Vigdis Aas (main); Ane Gedde-Dahl (co-supervisor); Colin Charnock (co-supervisor)
- Improved compliance with antibiotic treatment through competence and skills transfer in pharmacies. PhD candidate: Yngvild Bergsholm Rochette. Supervisors: Lene Berge Holm, OsloMet (main – outside of group), Colin Charnock (co-supervisor)
- Biocompatibility and safety of dental devices made from base metal alloys and digitally manufactured orthodontic resins. PhD candidate: Ketil Hegerstrøm Haugli. Supervisors: Jan Tore Samuelsen, NIOM (main – outside of group); Vigdis Aas (co-supervisor).
Recently completed last five years
- The ability of hematology analysers to detect patological cells in blood. Dr Heidi Eilertsen. Supervisors: Tor-Arne Hagve (main – outside of group). 22.04.2021.
- An investigation of the presence of antibiotic resistance determinants and resistant bacteria in the Norwegian environment by examination of water treatment plant sludge. Dr Ingvild Falkum Ullmann. Supervisors: Colin Charnock (main); Hege Tunsjø (co-supervisor). 24.01.2020.
- Exploring the Built Environment Microbiomes of Norwegian Kindergartens and Nursing Homes. Dr Anders Benteson Nygaard. Supervisors: Colin Charnock (main); Hege Tunsjø (co-supervisor). 03.04.2019.
- University of Oslo
- University of Bergen
- Norwegian university of science and technology
- Akershus university hospital
- Oslo university hospital
- Norwegian institute of public health
- Cancer registry of Norway
- Agribiotix AS (Norway)
- Pharmaceutical production laboratory (Ås, Norway)
- State department of the working environment (‘STAMI’, Norway)
- Nordic institute of dental materials (‘NIOM’, Norway)
- GE healthcare
- University of Toledo
- University of Porto
- University of Liverpool