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The UiO’s Research Prize awarded to Ole Andreassen

Andreassen has received the award for his contributions to uncovering the complex genetic architecture behind mental disorders and for key contributions to Norwegian mental health research.

Professor Ole Andreassen
Professor Ole Andreassen is the recipient of the University of Oslo’s Research Prize for 2020. Photo: Kirsten Sjøwall.

“It is such an honour! It really is humbling for me as an individual to be awarded this prize from the University of Oslo, where there are so many brilliant researchers. At the same time, I see it as recognition of our entire research community, where many talented, creative researchers do amazing work. And I am also thrilled that research on mental health is being recognised as valuable – there is a great need for new knowledge in this field,” says the proud prize winner.

World-leading researcher on mental health

Ole Andreassen is a professor and head of the Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT), a Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo. In Norway, he has helped raise the status of mental health as an academic discipline. As a world-leading researcher, he has been instrumental in helping reduce the separation into mental and somatic in psychiatry.

He is renowned as a key builder of networks nationally and internationally as well as a brilliant disseminator. He has helped build up an outstanding research team that has been recognised with both a Centre of Excellence and the K.G. Jebsen Centre, with a focus on interdisciplinary research.

Big data and complex genetic architecture

The prize committee highlights Andreassen’s development of new analytical methods for big data that have helped reveal the complex genetic architecture of mental health disorders. This has since become the “new norm” in the field of psychiatry.

He has also demonstrated the potential clinical implications of the new findings. There is a large degree of shared genetic architecture between different mental health disorders, and between mental health disorders and, among other things, cognitive abilities.

Causal factors in multiple mental health disorders and brain diseases

Andreassen has made important discoveries about causal factors in mental health disorders, with a main focus on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but also within depression and eating disorders, autism and ADHD, as well as age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

A unanimous committee has chosen to recognise a central researcher in mental health, who through his role as head of the centre has made NORMENT an important international player in this field.

Well-deserved prize

“The Faculty of Medicine is thrilled and very proud that this year’s University of Oslo Research Prize has been awarded to Professor Ole A. Andreassen. Ole’s outstanding research has made important contributions to both increasing understanding of biological mechanisms associated with mental health and a very fruitful convergence between different research environments. The Faculty would like to congratulate him on a very well-deserved award,” says Dean of Research Jens Petter Berg.

Head of Department Dag Kvale adds his congratulations:

“We would like to congratulate Ole A. Andreassen on winning the Research Prize! Needless to say, there is a huge amount of competition for these honorary awards in such a large organisation as the University of Oslo. We here at the Institute of Clinical Medicine are extremely proud today on behalf of Ole and the rest of the team.”

About the Research Prize

The University of Oslo’s Research Prize is awarded to a researcher, research group or research community that has excelled through outstanding research. The winner must be a national leader in their field, and – if the discipline exists in other countries – be recognised by leading overseas academic communities as well.

The prize consists of a monetary award of NOK 250,000 and a diploma, which will be presented at the University of Oslo’s Annual Celebration on 2 September.

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By Julie Nybakk Kvaal
Published July 3, 2020 1:03 PM - Last modified July 3, 2020 1:06 PM