Three CIGENE colleagues accepted in NMBU’s talent program

“Research Talents for Sustainability” is a two-year scheme for 20 scientific employees at NMBU. The program aims to provide academic staff with increased opportunities to develop as researchers, supervisors and innovators. The program has a clear sustainability profile, which is an excellent fit with the research activities at CIGENE. For the Research Talent Program of 2021 / 2022, three candidates from CIGENE applied, of which all three were accepted. Below each of them describes their motivation and aims for the program.


Guro Katrine Sandvik, Associate professor, CIGENE

I have been working in an Associate professor tenure track position in Functional Genomics here at CIGENE for almost one year now. I am especially interested in studying the function of different genes, and work to set up new methods for CRISPR genome editing in fish. I am very happy to be accepted for the talent program and think it will help me on the way to a successful tenure track period. I look forward to the courses and gatherings planned in the talent program, and especially to meet with the other participants of the program. I hope to meet new and fun colleagues that can inspire me and work together with me to improve the way we do teaching, supervising and research. I also hope to get tips and training so that I can reach my goal of leading a happy group that do great science. I plan to use the financial support to take courses in leadership, arrange seminars with internationally recognized invited speakers, go to international conferences and visit international labs to make new connections for future collaboration. I think this program is a great opportunity for us unexperienced scientists to broaden our network and to become better scientists and lecturers.


Sabina Leanti La Rosa, Researcher, CIGENE

I am trained as a microbiologist and biochemist and I have been working as a Researcher at IHA/CIGENE since August 2020. I am broadly interested in understanding the functional interconnection between feed/food, the gut microbiome and the host in Atlantic salmon aquaculture production and in humans. I am excited to be part of the “Research Talents for Sustainability” program as it fits perfectly with my research line, with the main objective being to extend the knowledge for efficient and environmentally sustainable practices to provide long-term, safe food security and healthy lives. I look forward to meeting the other program participants working in sustainability as this will give me access to resources and inspirations, possibly resulting in the development of new multi-disciplinary projects. I really appreciate the mentoring scheme and financial support provided by the Talent program as it will allow me to establish a collaboration with Prof. Matthew Sullivan, an internationally recognized expert in viral ecology, at the Ohio State University and to build new knowledge about the contribution of viruses in gut ecosystems. I plan to use the funding to have research stays at the Ohio State University and attend international conferences to create new networks with experts in the fields of human and fish gut microbiome. In addition, I plan to take courses in pedagogy, leadership and research management as well as organize seminars, with national and international speakers, to inspire students and contribute to expand competences for my research environment at NMBU. I am very happy to be part of the Talent program as it provides an invaluable possibility to build on competences to develop professionally as a scientist and as a research leader!

Marie Saitou, Postdoc tenure-track, CIGENE

Hi, I am an evolutionary biologist and just started my tenure-track position at CIGENE in November 2020. The genomics research projects at CIGENE are all exciting; especially, here I can fully use my expertise on genomic structural variants which considerably impacted the evolution and diversity of Atlantic salmons, but have been technically difficult to analyze. As a Talent Fellow, I am excited about building a strong network with motivated colleagues from various research fields.

Experiences as a trainee in Japan and the US led me to believe that encouraging diversity in academic settings is essential to maintain intellectual breadth and dynamism. I was surprised when I entered the University of Tokyo as an undergraduate student, where I found only 10% of STEM-major students are female. I realized that it is important to improve gender equality to encourage talented women to pursue science. I moved to the US after I finished my Ph.D. and was exposed to people with diverse backgrounds (non-binary gender, origin, culture, and disability) there. In the US, however, I also witnessed a lot of people who do not “believe” global warming and the effect of vaccines. I realized that it is necessary to edify a wide range of people in society, not only raising future scientists. Building upon these experiences, the next phase of my career at NMBU will establish me as an international female PI, both a researcher and a teacher through the Talent program. As an international woman junior PI, I will promote intellectual diversity and interdisciplinary collaborations with excellent colleagues at NMBU.


For more information on the Research Talents for Sustainability, please visit the NMBU website.

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