Stig Omholt
Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Through interactions with several highly qualified individuals inside and outside CIGENE, I am currently involved in a rather broad range of research topics. However, most of the topics are connected to the overall aim of contributing to the development of a framework or theoretical foundation being capable of explaining and predict how observed genetic variation results in observed phenotypic variation in causal terms. Many will call this activity systems biology. However, one should keep in mind that genetics (from the Greek genno (γεννώ) = give birth) is defined as the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms ( This shows that a substantial portion of what people consider to be systems biology research, i.e. the understanding of system characteristics (phenotypes) from molecular interactions, fits very well within the disciplinary goals of genetics. Such a theoretical foundation will have a substantial impact on a broad range of topics within evolutionary biology, production biology and biomedicine. Needless to say, it will also have a strong impact on synthetic biology in general.

Guided by the research vision stated above I am currently involved in understanding basic brain physiological phenomena, the tanning process in humans, the dynamics underlying generation of malign melanoma, the ultimate and proximal mechanisms responsible for the observed variation in filet colour within and between salmon species, the making of methodology and computational pipelines for handling the next generation of genotypic or sequence data in connection with detection of causative genetic variation in biomedicine and production biology, the additivity/non-additivity structures associated with the expression phenotypes in yeast, the development of a new high-throughput and high-dimensional phenotyping methodology for yeast based on FTIR spectroscopy, use of yeast as a model system for a detailed understanding of long-standing enigmatic phenomena within genetics, development of a new approach for how to make use of multivariate methods on complex models of biological differentiation in order to gain a much deeper understanding of model behaviour as well as the relationship between parameters/premises and model behaviour, use of the mammalian heart model to elucidate basic genetic phenomena, and the link between statistical descriptors genetic phenomena at the population level and system dynamics models operating at the individual level.