Research projects and consortiums
Research is the cornerstone of any university and our team is an integral part of the University of Iceland research community. At the Centre of Public Health Sciences, we conduct epidemiological research, building on cross-disciplinary expertise, in collaboration with colleagues from around the world.
We use nationwide and other population health registers as well as our established cohorts: The SAGA Cohort and Covid-19 National Resilience Cohort.
For further information on research at the University of Iceland please refer to the UI homepage and/or IRIS The Icelandic Research Information System.
Stress and trauma studies
The Stress and Gene Analysis Cohort (StressGene, Saga Cohort) is a unique nationwide study on the impact of trauma on women ‘s health. The target population are all women, 18 years or older, residing in Iceland in February 2018. From February 2018 till June 2019 participants answered an extensive web-based questionnaire on trauma history and health. They will then be prospectively followed for diagnoses of major physical diseases and mental disorders.
Funding: European Research Council (ERC) and The Icelandic Centre for Research.
Study website: https://afallasaga.is/english/
Natural Disasters and Health is a study on the impact of natural disasters on the long-term psychological and physical health of those affected. The team uses preexisting questionnaire data, national registries, and the Swedish Tsunami Cohort to investigate long-term health effects of communities exposed to the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption in Iceland, survivors of the 2004 Tsunami in Southeast Asia, as well as survivors of two fatal avalanches in the Westfjords in Iceland in 1995. The project is ongoing 2015-2020.
Funding: Icelandic Research Fund
The Lung Cancer Stress and Survival Study (LUCASS) includes an extensive data collection through questionnaires, stress-biomarkers and tumour tissue collection from 170 patients diagnosed with lung cancer. The aim of the study is to address the role of the psycho-biological stress-response to a diagnosis in lung cancer progression and survival. Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, professor, and Hrönn Harðardóttir, pulmonologist and Ph.D. student, lead the project which is conducted in collaboration with the National University Hospital and scientists from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, Harvard School of Public Health, Reykjavik University, Karolinska Institutet, TU Dresden, and Örebro Universitet.
Funding: The Icelandic Research Fund
LOA PROJECT aims to develop an intervention tool to improve mental health after trauma. This mental health science, multidisciplinary project brings together clinical psychologists, epidemiologists and cognitive neuroscientists from Sweden, Iceland and the UK. In collaboration with artists and technical experts, we aim to give those with trauma symptoms (intrusive memories) a digital tool that can be used from home. Regardless of trauma origin, there is a core clinical symptom – intrusive, distressing memories of the traumatic event. We seek a simple way to address this widespread problem. The Lóa Project is in collaboration with the SAGA Cohort of Iceland.
Funding: The Oak foundation
Study website: https://www.imagery-solutions.com/
NORDRESS is a Nordic research collaboration on natural disasters and the safety of communities. Icelandic researchers lead this collaboration, and Arna Hauksdóttir, a professor at our program, leads one of the work packages, which is focused on long-term health following natural disasters, children in natural disasters, health and risk management, and psychosocial support and intervention following natural disasters.
Study website: http://nordress.hi.is/
COVID-19 National Resilience Cohort is a study conducted by the University of Iceland, the Directorate of Health and the Chief Epidemiologist, with the aim of increasing knowledge about the epidemic’s effects on the well-being and lifestyle of Icelanders. The study is part of an international study project in this field.
Funding: Government of Iceland, NordForsk and University of Iceland.
Study website: https://lidanicovid.is/about-the-study/
This consortium, led by The Centre of Public Health Sciences, leverages an extensive experience and infrastructure from ongoing collaborations between for Nordic countries and Estonia. This two-year project aims to offer novel insights into the role of psychiatric factors in COVID-19 etiology and health consequences. Through state-of-the-art studies of population mental health, we can identify vulnerable populations and the extent of their problems, in order for our healthcare systems to rapidly adjust to changed consumer needs in the aftermath of this and future pandemics and similar social disasters.
Study website: http://covidment.is/
International Perinatal Outcomes in the Pandemic Study (iPOP) is a global study investigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns on preterm birth, stillbirth, and other perinatal outcomes. iPOP is growing network of more than 100 collaborators spanning 37 countries and bridges the fields of obstetrics, neonatology, epidemiology, pediatrics, infectious disease, statistics, global health, intersectoral feminism, participant engagement, and data scienc. The iPOP Study leaders are: Associate Professor Meghan Azad, University of Manitoba, Professor David Burgner, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Dr. Sarah Stock, University of Edinburgh, Dr. Merilee Brockway, University of Manitoba, and Professor Helga Zoega.
Study website: https://www.ipopstudy.com/
Reproductive and perinatal studies
The ReMood project aims to advance current understanding of the inter-relatedness and the potential role of fetal programming in reproductive mood disorders, as well as to unravel major health consequences associated with these conditions. The study is lead by professor Unnur A. Valdimarsdottir (CPHS, UI) and Assistant professor Donghao Lu (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm).
Funding: The Icelandic Research Fund
The induction of labour in Iceland study is a registry-based study using data from the Icelandic Medical Birth Registry obtained from the Directorate of Health. This study focuses on the rise in rates of induction of labour in Iceland during the last couple of decades. The aim is to disentangle the reasons for the rise and to investigate the consequences of this rise on rates of other interventions and adverse birth outcomes. In this study we hope to discover the optimal gestational week for induction of labour for term pregnancies. This study is done in collaboration with obstetricians at the Landspitali University Hospital and is led by Professor Kristjana Einarsdóttir.
Funding: The Icelandic Research Fund
Consortium for the study of pregnancy treatments (Co-Opt) is a collaborative consortium for the study of pregnancy treatments with initial focus on antenatal corticosteroid treatment. With cross-disciplinary expertise and data from thirteen datasets, the aim is to describe antenatal corticosteroid treatment in term pregnancies and determine the short and long-term outcomes of such treatment in women and babies who subsequently deliver at term. Lead investigator is Sarah Stock from the University of Edinburgh and the Icelandic involvement is led by Professor Kristjana Einarsdóttir.
Funding: Welcome Trust, UK
NorPreSS / InPreSS is a collaboration of researchers from the five Nordic countries, the United States and Australia with access to large-scale quality databases to study the safety of medications in pregnancy. InPreSS aims to provide real-world evidence of the effects of medications on birth outcomes and longer-term child development, including academic performance. Additionally, the aim is to examine the consequences of discontinued medication treatment on maternal health. Professor Helga Zoega is the study PI for Iceland and Australia.
Funding: NordForsk, Norwegian Research Council
Chronic illness and pharmacoepi studies
Investigating comorbid mental ill-health & cardiovascular disease is a four-year project that aims to investigate how and why people with mental ill-health are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population, as well as why people with cardiovascular disease who also go on to develop mental ill-health have worse outcomes. CPHS is one of nine study centres in this project. PI is professor Ole Andreassen, University of Oslo.
Funding: European Research Council (ERC)
Study website: https://www.comorment.uio.no/
SCAN-AED is a Nordic multi-register study aiming to find the optimal choice of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and folic acid treatment during pregnancy. SCAN-AED aims to examine the risk of physical and neuropsychiatric disease in the child after exposure to different antiepileptic drugs taken alone or in combination during pregnancy. The study PI is Associate Professor Marte Bjørk from the University of Bergen. Professor Helga Zoega leads the Icelandic contribution.
Study website: https://www.uib.no/en/rg/epilepsy/123035/scan-aed-nordic-register-based-study-antiepileptic-drugs-pregnancy#background
TIMESPAN is an international project aimed to advance clinical management of adults with ADHD and co-occurring cardiometabolic diseases. The aim is to foster improvements in risk stratification as well as treatments already available for patients with ADHD who also have cardiometabolic disease.
Study website: https://timespan.eu/
TopCaP is an international, multi-disciplined, organized consortium of prostate cancer researchers with access to a unique combination of facilities, data, biobanks and equipment that are pursuing the most urgent prostate cancer questions.
Study website: http://topcapteam.org/
Enivironmental and global health studies
The DeWorm3 Project is a multi-country series of community cluster randomized controlled trials that aim to determine the feasibility of interrupting soil-transmitted helminth transmission (STH) in focal geographical areas by expanding the targeted population and the frequency of mass drug administration with albendazole. Kristjana Ásbjörnsdóttir is the Scientific Integrity Lead of DeWorm3.
Project website: https://depts.washington.edu/deworm3/
The SAIA consortium is comprised of investigators applying the Systems Analysis and Improvement Approach (SAIA), a multi-step implementation strategy adapted from systems engineering tools, to improve outcomes in complex care cascades. SAIA was first applied to HIV care but has since been adapted to a variety of health conditions and across a number of healthcare settings, both in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. Kristjana Ásbjörnsdóttir is a Co-Investigator on several ongoing SAIA trials.
Study website: https://www.saia-strategy.com/