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Large grant to research on antibiotic resistance in prematurely born infants

Professor Fernanda Petersen at the Department of Oral Biology (UiO) has been awarded, together with her partners, a large grant from the Olav Thon Foundation. The grant was given the research project: «Born in the twilight of antibiotics: fighting antimicrobial resistance in preterm infants».

The two scientists looking happy outside, in front of a bright, autumn red hedge

Fernanda Petersen (right) and Thomas Kuntziger, whom collaborates on Petersen's research projects. Photo: ©Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo/Margit Selsjord.

The grant is parts of the funds for Nordic medical research collaborations.

– This is a very important grant and it enables a significant focus on the health of prematurely born infants. Hopefully, it will lead to measures that may contribute to reduce the challenges with antibiotic resistant organisms, that this vulnerable group is experiencing, says Petersen.

Petersen’s partners on the project is Danish Professor Gorm Greisen from the University of Copenhagen and Swedish Professor AndersHåkansson from the University of Lund. Her Norwegian partners are Dr. Kirsti Haaland, Professor Dag Berild, and Professor Ola Didrik Saugstad from Oslo University Hospital, Specialist Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Ulf R. Dahle, and colleague Thomas M. Kuntziger, Associate Professor at the Department of Oral Biology, at the Faculty of Dentistry.

The grant awarded was 10 million Norwegian Crowns (NOK).

Latest out of a number of grants

This Olav Thon Foundation grant is the latest in a line of significant grants for Petersen and her colleagues, and their research on antibiotic resistance. In October they received funds from the Norwegian Research Council to a substantial research collaboration with Indian and Norwegian health authorities. The project seeks to find better strategies to protect prematurely born infants against infections resistant to antiobiotics.

In addition, Petersen received a grant in November, for another international research and educational collaboration: «Enhancing world-class research and education in biofilm and antibiotic resistance by strengthening cooperation between Norway-Brazil-USA».

Olav Thon (left) and Ole Petter Ottersen, rector at Karolinska University in Stockholm, announced the recepients of the grants from the Olav Thon Foundation at the Hotel Bristol this morning. Photo: Katrine Lunke/Olav Thon Foundation.

– This grant from the Olav Thon Foundation helps strengthen the network and the projects that have already been started. This grants the projects a Nordic angle and altogether, they will prove a significant contribution to a large and growing global health problem, says Petersen.

She adds that a joint goal for the projects is to inform and educate about antibiotic resistance, and to identify methods and routines that reduce the risk of spreading and developing the resistance further.

– It’s a long way to go. We are going to create web lectures, use advanced analyses, so-called metagenome-analyses, and animal trials. I am looking forward to get started and I am excited about both recruiting, analyzing and interpreting data together with the solid network we have established.

Tags: Olav Thon foundation, Life Science, antibiotic resistance By Hilde Zwaig Kolstad
Published Jan. 11, 2018 3:47 PM - Last modified Jan. 12, 2018 10:59 AM