The research group was established in autumn 2009 by integrating three separate pre-existing groups led by Pål Øian, Kjell Bertheussen and Ganesh Acharya into a single larger group.
The former groups have been working in the area of women’s health and perinatology for several years with good productivity as documented by their scientific activity and publications. Each of them had well established research collaboration locally, nationally and internationally. Integration has created a research environment that facilitates the use of a variety of research methodologies, e.g. ultrasound related techniques (fetal ultrasound, Doppler echocardiography, impedance cardiography), epidemiological methods, laboratory animal model-based methods (study of cardiovascular function using ultrasound biomicroscopy, pressure-volume catheters in vivo and ex-vivo) as well as molecular & cell biology based methods (cell culture, microarrays, arrayCGH, PCR, electron microscopy, Western blot, immunohistochemistry, HPLC, spectrophotometry etc.) to test hypotheses.
Our research is driven with the hope of improving the health of women and children. Our strategy is to try to publish our research in the most popular and widely read scientific journals in the related specialties. We also try to popularize our research by holding courses, seminars, providing training to researchers and clinicians from other institutions/countries, and using local media.
Our research group has a clinical research laboratory located at the University Hospital of Northern Norway site equipped with an ultrasound system (Vivid 7 Dimension), impedance cardiograph and facility for collecting and storing blood and tissue samples. We have a molecular research laboratory at the University site (MH-bygget). This laboratory has facilities for cell culture, immuno-histochemistry, RT-PCR, array-CGH etc. Additionally, we share some equipments and facilities available at the cytogenetics laboratory of the Department of Medical Genetics.
We also utilize common facilities (e.g. electron microscopy) available at the University of Tromsø and purchase certain services (biochemical analysis, microarray analysis etc.). We work with experimental animal models in the Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Tromsø, and are in the process of establishing a well functioning laboratory for research in perinatology using small animal models. Furthermore, since 2002, we have also been using the animal research laboratory at the University of Oulu, Finland regularly for experimental work in fetal sheep.
Our research group focuses on a combination of basic science (translational) and clinical research which is well suited to the institutional strategy of the University Hospital of Northern Norway as well as the University of Tromsø. Our main research areas are:
- Maternal and fetal cardiovascular physiology
- Experimental feto-maternal medicine using animal models
- Genetics of feto-maternal diseases
- Epidemiologial studies related to obstetrics & gynecology and Register-based studies
- Cesarean section rates, indications and complications
- Psycho-social problems related to obstetrics including fear of labor
- Preeclampsia, its pathophysiology and long-term consequences
- Fetal-neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia
- Anal sphincter injuries related to birth trauma and their prevention and management
- Birth injuries and medico-legal issues in Obstetrics
- Antenatal care and birth planning based on selection criteria
- Female urinary incontinence
- Development and refinement of embryo and cell culture media
- Reproductive endocrinology, pre-implantation biology, and clinical assisted reproduction
The beneficiaries of our research are women, pregnant mothers, unborn and newborn babies who have a long productive life ahead of them. Although this kind of research may not provide big immediate economic benefit, it helps the long term wellbeing of the society.
Our research group has well established collaboration with research groups and academic institutions locally, nationally and internationally, which is well documented in our publications. The collaboration has allowed us to exchange researchers, learn new methodologies, and use appropriate expertise as required. We share laboratory space and equipment with several groups at the Institute of Medical Biology and Department of Medical Genetics at UNN.
We have common projects and ongoing international collaboration with Children’s Research Institute, University of South Florida, and All Children’s Hospital, St. Petersburg, USA, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford UK. We have a long-standing co-operation with the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Oulu, Finland.
Prof. Ganesh Acharya has strong scientific link with the Korolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and holds a position as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Clinial Sciences, Intervention and Technology.
Prof. Pål Øian supervises many researchers working in several health regions of Norway. Some of his research is funded by The Norwegian System of Compensation to Patients (“Norsk Pasientskadeerstatning”) and European Research Council. He has a strong research links with Universities of Oslo, Copenhagen, and Lund.
Prof. Purusotam Basnet has been collaborating with researchers at the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Tromsø locally. Internationally he has been collaboratng with several research groups in India and Germany.