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Dissertation for Xiaokang Zhang!

28. October, 2020

Friday 30th at 10:15, NORBIS PhD member Xiaokang Zhang is defending his PhD thesis entitled “Biomarker Discovery Using Statistical and Machine Learning Approaches on Gene Expression Data”.

NORBIS congratulates!

To follow his defense, see who have defended their thesis lately and who will be next, please see our Dissertation site.

6th NORBIS Annual Conference

28. October, 2020

The 6th NROBIS Annual Conference will due to the Covid-19 situation be different than normal years. This year we will organize the conference as a hybrid meeting over one and a half days. We plan for the meeting to be streamed online and the different partner institutions that can, arrange a local gathering for those who will/can meet in person.  This depends on local restrictions.

We also want to encourage supervisors and other researchers to join our meeting, both to facilitate discussion across several levels of experience, to inspire our students, and to increase your own national network.

We have student talks, poster sessions and keynote speakers. See program HERE.

Boston University research stay by Snorre Sulheim

22. October, 2020

Last winter I was able to spend 6 months at the Daniel Segrè lab  at Boston University thanks to financial support from NORBIS and SINTEF. I arrived on October 1st 2019, in time to enjoy the fall season with beautiful colors, nice weather and good opportunities to explore Boston.

Because I found it difficult to decide on a long-term housing option prior to my arrival I spent the first 10 days in an AirBnB that was a bit too far from the city center. Due to the extreme number of Universities in Boston housing is very expensive, and it was difficult to find something that was acceptable with respect to price and standard. After nearly being scammed twice in my effort to find an apartment on craigslist, I finally found a reasonable long-term flat through https://junehomes.com/  that I shared with 5 other. This worked surprisingly well.

Figure 1: Watching Boston Bruins beat Vancouver Canucks at TD garden.

Daniel Segrè hosts a moderately sized group (8 PhDs and 2 researchers) that works both experimental and computational aspects of microbes and microbial interactions. The quality of their work was impressive and it was very motivating to collaborate closely with these people. I learnt a lot of microbiology and ecology from the group meetings and journal clubs. Another cool aspect of working at Boston University is the proximity to other top-notch research institutions and therefore easy access a lot of relevant conferences, meetings or other research groups. To get the most out of my research stay I wanted engage in their ongoing projects and I ended up studying the fascinating phototrophic marine bacteria Prochlorococcus (preprint on BioRxiv) using an updated genome-scale metabolic model. To understand how the metabolism of Prochlorococcus is affected by nutrient limitations and diel cycles we simulated growth using COMETS. To facilitate these simulations we developed light absorption and time-dependent light availability as new features in COMETS (read about the recent COMETS release on arXiv).

My research stay ended abruptly with the arrival of covid-19, but I was satisfied with my stay. I can highly recommend a research exchange to Boston. I addition to great science, Boston also offers an active running community and reasonable access to (disappointing) skiing in winter. The public transport is average, the traffic is one of the worst in US, but the city is small enough that you can easily bike anywhere. By a refurbished race bike at https://bikesnotbombs.org/ if you want to get the most out of your stay.

Figure 2: There is also good skiing in North America, but not close to Boston.

New director of NORBIS

16. October, 2020

NORBIS has gotten a new director!



On October 1st, professor Susanna Röblitz took over the position as director of NORBIS. Susanna is a group leader at Computational Biology Unit (CBU) at University of Bergen (UiB). Her research group focuses on the construction, simulation, analysis and optimization of dynamic, mathematical models for biological and biochemical processes on different levels of organization. You can read more about Susanna and her research at CBU and UiB.


We would like to thank our former NORBIS director, professor Inge Jonassen, and we are happy that he will continue to be a part of the NORBIS family as a member of our scientific advisory board (SAB).