Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Description of the Entity

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is an agricultural Norwegian University located in Ås, Norway. The university was established in 1859 and it is the 2nd oldest institution of higher education in Norway. Currently, NMBU has around 1700 employees and 5200 students, and research is focused on environmental sciences, veterinary medicine, food science, biotechnology, aquaculture, and business development. Research at NMBU include both basic and applied research providing a foundation for education, research training and research geared towards the private sector. NMBU operates seven faculties and hosts three Research Excellence Centers funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. NMBU has broad experience in conducting R&D projects funded by national and international public agencies and industry. The research team at NMBU belongs to the Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Food Science, which is world-renowned for breakthrough discoveries in enzymatic lignocellulosic biomass degradation by utilization of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases. The team has strong competence in microbiology, multi-omics, biochemistry, and bioprocessing technologies with involvement in both national and international projects: MICROBIOME-INFORMATICS, DENITRO, NAPI, SEACOW, SuPAcow, ImprovAFish, HoloRuminant, 3d’omics, Back2Basics, and the Research Excellence Center “Foods of Norway”, as well as strong collaborations with previous and current ERC Starting/Synergy Grant holders.

Role in the Prodigio Project

NMBU’s solid experience in developing renewable energy technologies will help the project achieve its goals. NMBU is currently exploring sustainable bio-based fuels and energy through the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and organic residues to transportation fuels, added-value chemicals, heat, and power in the Research Excellence Center Bio4Fuels. Through the Research Excellence Center “Foods of Norway”, likewise, the aim is value-creation in aquaculture industries by developing sustainable feed ingredients from natural bioresources not suitable for human consumption, including forestry, agriculture, and marine resources such as microalgae. In both scenarios, microbial consortia within bioreactors, including their enzymes and functional interactions, are of immense importance for understanding and monitoring bioprocesses.

The Team
Magnus Ø. Arntzen

Magnus Ø. Arntzen (PhD) is a researcher at NMBU in Ås, Norway. He has more than 13 years of expertise in omics analysis, specifically using quantitative techniques to retrieve relative expression levels in large datasets from both single species and complex communities. His main interests are in microbial ecology, carbohydrate degradation and microbial denitrification, as well as in integrative omics (combining metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and metaproteomics) in the Galaxy framework to further expand the analytical capabilities of these techniques. He is involved in four projects related to microbiome characterization, carbohydrate utilization and degradation, and omics infrastructure development. He has published 65 scientific papers from high-standard publications, including Nature Communications, ISME journal, and Environmental Microbiology. He has presented in a number of international conferences, given invited keynote lectures and been invited to partake in the prestigious Dagstuhl Seminar.

Live Heldal Hagen

Live Heldal Hagen (Ph.D.) is a researcher and member of the Microbial Ecology and Meta-Omics (MEMO) group at NMBU in Ås, Norway. Her research expertise is in the microbial ecology of anaerobic digestion systems, where she applies meta’omics analysis to explore complex microbiomes. Her main interests are focused on decrypting how microbial communities collaborate to carry out complex tasks, such as the decomposition of plant material in the rumen ecosystem.  She was recently awarded a competitive grant from the Research Council of Norway’s prestigious “Young Research Talents” programme, for a project that involves seaweed’s effect on rumen microbiomes. Her research has been published in journals of high standards, including ISME Journal (first and corresponding author), Nature Communication, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Microbiome, and mSystems, and presented at prominent international conferences, such as the 17th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME) and the International Conference on Biogas Microbiology.

Phillip Byron Pope

Phillip Byron Pope (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor at NMBU in Ås, Norway. He is an ERC Starting Fellow alumnus and Ascending Investigator Fellow with the Novo Nordisk Foundation. He currently leads the Microbial Ecology and Meta-Omics (MEMO: group at NMBU. His key research interests include combining analytical metadata with metabolic reconstructions of population genomes to visualize flow of metabolites in complex microbiomes and uses temporal meta-omics and co-expression network analysis to interpret synergistic interactions between carbohydrate-degrading and methanogenic microbial populations. Through his current projects, he is seeking to expand these approaches to envelop additional “molecular layers” from the animal holobiont (i.e. host transcriptome and proteome), a concept otherwise known as “holo-omics”.

He has published 70+ peer-reviewed articles, which have attracted 3700+ citations, including publications from high impact journals such as Science (1st author), Nature Microbiology (corresp. author) PNAS (1st author), Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications (last author), ISME Journal (last author), Microbiome (last author) and mBio (last author).

Juline Walter

Juline Walter (PhD) is a post-doc at NMBU, Ås, Norway. Her expertise lies in unravelling the microbial ecology of bacterial/archaeal/microeukaryotes isolates, microbiomes, and metagenome-based genomes (MAGs) from different and complex ecosystems (e.g., ocean, lagoons, biofilms, corals, fish gut). Her topics of interest have evolved from evolutionary aspects to more applicable research, with the hope that improved understanding of the yet uncharted genomic capabilities and its flow of metabolites, combined metaOmics approaches, will unlock the microbial potential and its significance for future generations. She has published scientific papers in Frontiers in Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Microbial Ecology, and Trends in Microbiology Review.

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