Huge investment in young talent

Publisert:9. februar 2007Oppdatert:2. oktober 2013, 09:12

Four young researchers will receive a total of NOK 60 million over a four-year period to establish research groups at UiB. Almost half of the funds will come from the Mohn Fund.

This year, thirty nine researchers applied to Bergen Research Foundation’s recruitment programme, which was established following a donation from Trond Mohn in 2004. The four who managed to squeeze through the eye of the needle are:

Jóhanna Barðdal (Department of Linguistics and Literature, UiB)
Boris Lenhard, (Computational Biology Unit, UiB).
Mikko Heino (Norwegian Institute of Marine Research/Department of Biology, UiB)
Warwick Tucker, (Department of Mathematics, Uppsala University)

New methods
Computational biologist Boris Lenhard studies the regulation of genetic expressions – what switches genes on and off. Using advanced information technology, they examine genetic material from several organisms, and they are particularly interested in the “non-coding elements” (the elements in the DNA that do not encode proteins). Dr. Lenhard and the research group suspect that these elements may have a function in the regulation of important genes. Faults in the mechanisms in which these elements are involved often lead to birth defects, hereditary illnesses and cancer, and the hope is that new information about these can also be applied in medical research.

Mikko Heino’s research group at the Department of Biology will work in the field of fisheries biology. One of the most important aspects of this research is to study the possible long-term effects of fisheries. How does the intensive harvesting of populations affect ecology and evolution? New tools and measurement methods must be developed in order to be able to reach conclusions, and the research group will both study the consequences of what has already taken place and what can be expected in the future. This research also aims to identify which harvesting strategies have the least negative consequences.

Broadly speaking, Warwick Tucker’s project involves building a bridge across the divide between applied mathematics and pure mathematics, by developing new methods for finding logical evidence using calculatory power. Dr. Tucker uses methods of calculation which in principle are only approximations in order to find exact answers to and logical evidence for problems that have previously only been studied on the basis of numerical experiments.

Historical language development
Linguist Johanna Barðdal has one year left of her post-doctorate fellowship at the Department of Linguistics and Literature, and had started looking for a job elsewhere. The award of funding from Bergen Research Foundation means that she will stay in Bergen and continue to study problems relating to the historical development of the Indo-European languages.
“We are studying subject and object cases in verb constructions and comparing different Indo-European languages such as Norse, Gothic, Sanskrit, Latin and Russian, among others,” says dr. Barðdal.


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