Emma Haapaniemi part of new K.G. Jebsen Centre for Autism and Developmental Disorders

The new Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre at the University of Oslo will investigate causes and treatment options for autism and other developmental disorders.

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Dr Emma Haapaniemi. Photo: Matti Immonen

Autism and developmental disabilities are characterized by abnormal brain development, but we do not have a good understanding of the complex underlying causes of these diseases.

A new KG Jebsen Centre for Developmental Disorders will now investigate the mechanisms involved in the progression of developmental disabilities by generating new knowledge in genetics and brain development. This endeavour will involve working with huge amounts of data from large national and international records, along with clinical sample collections.

One aim of the centre will be to provide information on disability risk factors, as well as to find conditions that protect against adverse brain development. Conditions that protect high-risk groups may, for example, be relevant to the development if new treatment options for people with autism.

The KG Jebsen foundation has allocated 22.5 million NOK for the developmental disorders centre. In addition, the university of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital are contributing significant financial resources, and in total the centre will receive 70 million NOK over 5 years.

The head of the centre is Terje Nærland, a researcher at the Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo, and several other University researchers are partners in the centre, including NCMM group leader Dr Haapaniemi. Furthermore, this highly collaborative initiative will involve collaborations with Norwegian medical faculties and affiliated University Hospitals in Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Oslo, which will also contribute significant resources. 

Discussing the the new centre and her involvement in its research goals, Dr Haapaniemi says:

"It is interesting to start working with neurodevelopmental diseases and look at the different comorbidities, including immunological disturbances, in these diseases. It is also great to get to know Norwegian research groups and colleagues working in neurology and psychiatry".

You can read more about the centre in a news item on the NRK website (in Norwegian).


Published Feb. 26, 2020 10:58 PM - Last modified Feb. 26, 2020 11:19 PM