The Marine Bioprospecting research group continually provides education and training to Ph.D. candidates, and M.Sc. students. If you are interested in joining our team consider applying to our Master programme in marine biotechnology and keep an eye on our Vacancies page for other positions.

 Our current M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and their research projects are detailed below.

Jonathan Hira is a PhD candidate in our research group. Jonathan is researching the isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria related to sea urchin disease, and their role in the disease progression. He has developed an in house protein spectral database for bacterial identification using MALDI biotyper system and has used next generation sequencing techniques and bioinformatics to understand the virulence properties of identified pathogens. In addition, Jonathan is also studying sea urchin immune cells and their interaction with pathogenic bacteria and other molecular strategies to understand the infection strategies of pathogenic bacteria. He has used different echinoderm cell culture techniques, flow cytometry/fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and light/fluorescence microscopy to study the sea urchin cells. The applications of these studies include Identification of pathogenic bacteria that are detrimental to mariculture system using novel identification methods, and developing new primary cell culture system for studying echinoderm immune response.
Ida Kristine Østnes Hansen is a PhD candidate in our research group. Her project is focusing on the isolation, purification and characterisation of anti-bacterial peptides from marine invertebrates. The invertebrates which Ida works with have been collected from North Atlantic Ocean within the Arctic Circle. The peptides that she has isolated have complex structures, with multiple disulphide bridges. Ida has used different techniques to help elucidate these structural characteristics, and has worked in collaboration with other groups at UiT and abroad to fully characterise these compounds. These novel bioactive peptides may have potential to be developed into pharmaceutical drugs and help to fight against antibiotic resistance.

Céline Sarah Marine Richard is a PhD candidate in our research group. Her project is focusing on engineering a toolbox of novel bacterial biosensors for deeper discovery by enhancing current screening strategies. She will work first on the optimization of actual biosensor in the research group and then, she will develop new methods and engineer novel biosensors to study mechanisms of action for antimicrobial and bioactive compounds. These biosensors should be usable for future high throughput screening applications for alternatives to today’s antibiotics.

Christoffer Sivertsen is a PhD candidate undertaking a project, which consists of one part of four in the larger interdisciplinary AntifoMar project, which aims to develop biofilm-inhibiting and eradicating compounds for industrial and therapeutic application. Christoffer’s part of the project involves screening extracts of in Arctic and sub-Arctic marine invertebrates for antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity with the goal of identifying novel natural products. Extracts from invertebrates will be tested for relevant activity, and novel compounds will be isolated and their structure elucidated.


Andrea Iselin Elvheim is a PhD candidate in our research group. Her project is focusing on discovering novel biofilm inhibitors from bacteria associated with sessile marine invertebrates. She will sequence the bacteria and search their genomes for gene clusters associated with the production of secondary metabolites. Promising gene products will be further studied and tested for antibiofilm activity. The project is a part of the larger AntifoMar project.


Ataur Rahman is a PhD candidate in our research group. As part of the multidisciplinary AntifoMar project, his PhD project targets to screen substances from unexploited Arctic and sub-Arctic invertebrates for antibiofilm property. He will investigate bioactivity and mechanisms of actions of biofilm-inhibitors and eradicators from marine and synthetic (marine natural product mimics) source to combat both clinical antimicrobial resistance and industrial biofouling.

Hymonti Dey is a PhD candidate in our research group. Her PhD project is a part of the multi-faculty and interdisciplinary research project Lead-to-drug development of amphipathic scaffolds targeting multi-resistant bacteria – LEADScAMR, led by Professor Morten B. Strøm, Dept. of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT. This specific PhD project belongs to Work Package 3 and is a collaboration between partners from the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, and comprises in total three PhD positions. Hymonti Dey will be focusing on bioactivity assays, mode-of-action (MoA) study, and screening for mechanism of resistance development. The overall aim of the research project is to develop antibacterial compounds and formulations to meet the widespread problems of antimicrobial drug resistance in bacteria.

Pål Are Enbusk is a MSc student in our research group. Pål is working on a research project in collaboration with Calanus AS, a biotechnology company that is interested in the development of nutritional products from marine resources. Pål will be working with both our Marine Bioprospecting research group, as well as the Seafood Science research group at UiT. He will be working closely with our Arctic Bioanalytical Platform to characterise the chemical properties of a range of samples from a Calanus production plant.
Alumni: Over many years our research group has had many graduates that have worked on many different, varying, projects. Click here to learn more about our Alumni, their projects, and their achievements.