Nansen neuroscience network - unlocking mysteries of the mind

The famous Norwegian explorer, humanitarian and diplomat Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) also pioneered routes to the mind and is the inspiration behind the new Nansen Neuroscience Network. One hundred and twenty years ago, Nansen earned the first Norwegian doctorate degree in neuroscience. It presented a revolutionary idea: that the brain consists of individual, separate nerve cells.

The Nansen Neuroscience Network is being spearheaded by the University of Oslo’s Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience (CMBN) and MI Lab in Trondheim with support from Innovation Norway. It can claim particular strengths in brain physiology, in vivo neuroimaging, memory and cognitive functions, biomarkers and preventive medicine.

Understanding the intricate workings of the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) is one of the greatest challenges to modern science and medicine, key to a greater understanding of the human organism and its complex structure. The Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience (CMBN), a Norwegian Centre of Excellence appointed by the Research Council of Norway, is a cooperative effort jointly located at the University of Oslo and the Oslo University Hospital (Rikshospitalet).

The Oslo-based Centre has an international outlook with a clear mission to maintain a leading role to illuminate, characterize and interpret the role of DNA repair and genome maintenance mechanisms in preventing neurological disease, CNS infections and brain ageing. The Centre will develop and apply stem cell technology and targeted repair to broaden the range of therapeutic strategies in neurological disease.

According to Professor Tone Tønjum, Director of CMBN, “Over the past few years there has been an explosive increase in knowledge about the brain and the nervous system structure and function, and about the different diseases, and Norway has played a positive role in this research.” Close cooperation between the Centre´s 11 research groups at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital is an integral element of all activities undertaken. Nearly 200 researchers are involved, including a number of international guest scientists providing a highly dynamic and innovative environment at the CMBN.


Peter Agre, Nobel Prize winner for his discovery of aquaporins and President of the American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS) states, “I’ve interacted closely with the Oslo’s Centre for Excellence in Neuroscience CMBN and they’ve got a dynamite team. Ole Petter Ottersen, the group leader, has now been elected Rector of The University of Oslo, so his younger scientists will have to step up in increasingly prominent leadership roles. Norway should continue to invest and to look for the human consequences of water transport in the brain. And I think they are world leaders in this area.”

Related articles

Latest articles

Ship Energy Efficiency: The Fourth Wave

Shipping has seen three waves of energy efficiency trends since 2007. The latest buzz is the Big Data revolution.

Sustainable Fish Farming Solutions: From Feed to Egg

The challenge of rising fish feed and sea lice costs is stimulating new sustainable technology solutions in Norwegian aquaculture. In the future, producers might raise salmon in egg-shaped offshore farms.

Standardization Key During Low Oil Price

The Norwegian petroleum industry is focusing on standardized solutions, inspired by Formula One and Lego, to help tackle rising field development costs.

Blue Growth for a Green Future

The Norwegian government recently launched its new maritime strategy “Blue Growth for a Green Future” aimed at keeping the country’s second largest export industry competitive and sustainable.

New Development Licenses Spur Ocean Farming

Norway has initiated free development licenses to spur new technology concepts to tackle the aquaculture industry’s acreage and environmental challenges. Many of the applicants are innovative ocean farms.

Bucking the trend: Norwegian Shelf Still Attractive

The Norwegian Continental Shelf continues to be attractive even amidst the low oil price environment. Statoil’s giant Johan Sverdrup oil field development is just the latest example.

British Showing Great Interest in “Frozen at sea”

The British are the world’s largest consumers of cod. 70 percent is used in the “fish and chips” market. Lately several Norwegian owners of trawlers have discovered the British market for the “frozen at sea” concept.

The many reasons to choose Norwegian seafood

There is an ongoing debate regarding the pros and cons of eating wild or farmed fish, or, in fact, eating seafood at all. In this article we look at the arguments for and against wild and farmed fish. Seafood is not just a...

New Ways to Enhance Oil Recovery

Norwegian companies are testing more advanced ways to enhance oil recovery, everything from converting shuttle tankers to stimulate wells and springing titanium needs inside liner holes to open up tight formations.