Within the area of neonatology, the research group has several projects relating to development, in utero diagnostics and more. One of the main projects is related to children with birthweight £ 2000 gram where we investigate to what degree will sensitizing parents to infant’s cues during early infancy benefit child’s development?

Children born prematurely are at significant risk of delayed cognitive development and of suffering behavioural, emotional and social problems. Preterm infants present less clarity and consistency of behaviour than their fullterm counterparts.  This can increase parenting stress and disturb the development of optimal transactions between parents and infants (goodness-of-fit). 

High levels of stress, depression and anxiety are common in families of premature children. Research on ways of preventing an adverse developmental course in these children and minimising adjustment problems in their familiesis therefore increasing. In particular, the concept of a critical period of rapid neuropsychological growth, as well as the possible irreversible effects of impaired neurological development during the first three years of life has been important in promoting early intervention.

The most effective interventions are those that enhance parental sensitivity, using a reasonable number of sessions and a clear focus on behaviour. However, our knowledge of long term effects beyond three years of age, remains sparse, and only one study has documented favourable effects of early intervention on cognitive and behavioural development up to the age of nine.

The study has two primary objectives:  First, to examine the degree to which a parent-sensitizing intervention during the first three months of life can minimise delays in cognitive development and behavioural, emotional and social problems at several points up to the age of 12.

Second, to examine the degree to which a parent-sensitizing intervention also produces positive effects on the caring environment in terms of reduced family stress, positive parental perceptions of the child, child and family general health and the family’s experience of quality of life.

As a secondary objective the long-term effects will also be modelled prospectively on data gathered since birth, and the interactions between child data and data related to the caring environment  will be analysed. The last endeavour is important for a better  understanding of what variables the intervention influences , and how these are related to various child outcomes 


Our research focus at the moment is to get a better understanding of how miRNAs affect tumorigenicity and differentiation in MYCN–amplified (MNA) neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a group of highly malignant childhood tumours arising from the sympathoadrenal lineage of migrating neural crest cells. It accounts for 7-10 percent of all childhood cancers but causes 15 percent of all childhood cancer deaths.

One of the strongest biological predictors of poor outcome is genomic amplification of the MYCN oncogene which is found in up to 40 percent of high-risk neuroblastomas. Despite the high mortality rate for this cancer, neuroblastoma is also known to show the highest rate of spontaneous regression among malignant tumours. Tumour maturation via neuronal differentiation has recently been proposed as a plausible candidate mechanism to explain neuroblastoma regression.

Therefore, the study of neuroblastoma as a model system for tumour differentiation is important to reveal the secrets of both tumour maturation and spontaneous regression. Various agents and growth factors have previously been shown to induce neuronal differentiation in many neuroblastoma cell lines. Furthermore, specific suppression of MYCN expression using traditional antisense techniques or small interfering RNA molecules (siRNA) have also been shown to promote neuronal differentiation in several MYCN-amplified (MNA) neuroblastoma cell lines.

Our research group have recently described a neuroblastoma model system where MYCN expression can be knocked down conditionally by retrovirus-delivered short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs). In our model system, the proliferation rate decreases and the highly malignant neuroblastoma cells differentiate to neuron-like cells upon induction of MYCN knockdown.


Our research focus is on mechanisms for biofilm production in Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and host microbe interactions in biofilm-associated infections.  We primarily do basal laboratory research with molecular and immunological tools. We have also developed an ex vivo whole blood sepsis model where we analyse inflammatory response in response to biofilm and biofilm producing bacteria.

Biofilm associated infections are today among the most prevalent hospital acquired infections. These infections are associated with huge costs and patient suffering. Thus, our research is of high clinical relevance. The effect of traditional antibiotics on bacteria embedded in biofilms is limited. Our research on new synthetic antimicrobial peptidomimetics (SAMPs) may contribute with knowledge on these interesting novel therapeutic compounds. The SAMPs used in our research are developed by the innovative pharmaceutical company Lytix Biopharma in Tromsø.


In this study, the focus on how children with rheumatic diseases experience their health, how their disease progresses and with a particular focus on uveitis. The study is a part of the prospective population based multicenter study ”BART Nordisk barneledgiktsstudie” which includes 5000 children under 16 years of age in the nordic area.

Child rheumatoid arthritis is hte most common cronic rheumatic disease in children and twice as many girls as boys get this disease. Follow up of patientcohorts with juvinile idiopathic arthritis is essential to obtain knowledge about how the disease progresses and prognosis, to obtain information needed to be able to give rational treatment.

Child and adolescent psychiatry

BUP Nord, which was initiated in 2006 at The Department of Child and Adolescent psychiatry, UNN covers several research domains as health service, outcome measurements, quality and performance improvement, and psychometric and methodological assessment of the CAMHS service delivered. The aims of the study are to investigate the characteristics of today’s users of the health service, the assessment and therapeutic methods and the outcome of the services delivered to improve the future CAMHS. The project group are interdisciplinary with members from different research groups at the Faculty of Health Sciences