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Brain plasticity and neuropsychiatry

The main aim of our research group is to expand our knowledge about the neurobiology of non-psychotic mental disorders with emphasis on bipolar spectrum disorders and associated problems such as sleep.

Our overriding goal is to contribute to better diagnostic accuracy and more focused treatment of the disorders targeted in our research. Associated projects are neuropsychiatric and cognitive aspects of heart- and lungtransplantation with the goal to reduce psychological distress and offer the patients better psychososial follow-up.

About the Group

Our group has studied clinical phenomenology, neuroplasticity, blood flow, brain structure and cognitive functions in patients with bipolar spectrum disorders (bipolar 2, recurrent brief depression).

Findings are compared with similar investigations conducted by our group of healthy subjects and, for a subgroup of bipolar 2 patients, borderline personality disorder.

We have also studied the effect of sleep deprivation on the brain of healthy subjects.

Furthermore, we have studied the psychiatric consequences of high tech life-saving medical procedures (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – ECMO).

Methods include clinical, psychometric and neuropsychological assessment, genetic tests, electrophysiology, functional studies of the brain (PET, fMRI), brain structure (MRI morphometry); blood tests (oxidative stress, telomeres) and skin biopsy with the aim of studying stem cells in our patients.


  • Genes and synapses in mental disorders
  • Neuropsychobiology in bipolar 2 and borderline personality disorder
  • Oxidative stress in bipolar 2 disorder
  • Neurogenesis in bipolar 2 disorder
  • Neuroplasticity in bipolar 2 disorders
  • Treatment with second generation epileptic drugs in patients with epilepsy plus
  • Three G-protein genotypes (G825T, A1166C, C1114G) and association with symptoms of anxiety and depression in a sample from the general Norwegian population.
  • Studies of genotype-phenotype interactions in patients with 3q29 microdeletion syndrome
  • Exorphines and anti-bodies in cerebro spinal fluid
  • Neuropsychiatry in heart transplanted patients
  • Psychiatric disorders and coping in patients beeing evaluated for lung transplantation


This broad range of methods requires close collaboration with research groups in Norway and abroad.


  • NORMENT (Norwegian Center for research on mental disorders), UiO and OUS
  • The Intervention Centre, UiO and OUS


  • Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX  (neurogenesis)
  • Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto (oxidative stress, neuroplasticity)
  • John Hopkins University, Baltimore, US, (exorphines, anti-bodies)
  • Telomeres and Telomerase Group, Spanish National Cancer Center (CNIO), Madrid
  • ENIGMA research network (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis)

Research networks

As part of the clinical part of our research, we have founded two research networks in Norway. These networks have resulted in several Ph.D.s and publications on mood disorders.

  • Norwegian research network for mood disorders (NORMOOD)
  • Bipolar research and innovation network (BRAIN)


Published Nov. 9, 2015 2:31 PM - Last modified Feb. 25, 2019 2:08 PM


Group leader


  • Ulrik Fredrik Malt
  • Eva Malt
  • Britta Bürker
  • Nathalia Zak
  • Erlend Bøen
  • Torfinn Hynnekleiv
  • Torunn Søyseth
  • Mathias Valstad
  • Katalin Juhasz
  • Guro Dunvoll
  • Kåre Osnes
Detailed list of participants