Disputas: Birgitte K. Hønsvall

Birgitte K. Hønsvall ved Fakultet for teknologi, naturvitenskap og maritime fag vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden ph.d. med avhandlingen "Environmental microorganisms – microsystem approaches to separation and analysis."

09 May

Praktisk informasjon

  • Dato: 9. mai 2017
  • Tid: kl. 13.00 - 16.00
  • Sted: Vestfold
  • Last ned kalenderfil
  • Prøveforelesning: 10:15

    Tema for prøveforelesning

    “Useful and harmful microorganisms: their role in environment, industry and human health”

    Til å bedømme avhandlingen er oppnevnt:

    • Professor Harsha Ratnaweera, Fakultet for realfag og teknologi, NMBU
    • Dr Melanie Jimenez, University of Glasgow, UK
    • Førsteamanuensis Agne Johannessen, Institutt for mikrosystemer, HSN


    • Professor Lucy Robertson, Institutt for mattrygghet og infeksjonsbiologi, NMBU
    • Professor Yngvar Berg, Institutt for mikrosystemer, HSN
    • Christoffer Grinde, Trilobite

    Leder av disputas:

    Førsteamanuensis Mehdi Azadmehr

    Prøveforelesning og disputas er åpen for alle interesserte.

    Det vil bli en sammenkomst i personalkantina Grevinnen umiddelbart etter disputasen.


Microorganisms are everywhere, they are inside of us, they surround us, and they are in the environment.Birgitte Hønsvall - foto

Environmental microorganisms can be useful, but some are harmful. Analyses can help us find out if we have organisms in our samples that cause harm. Before analysis, we often need to concentrate these tiny organisms so that we can find them.

In my work, I used the Trilobite® microfluidic chip to concentrate microorganisms. This chip separates and concentrates particles that are suspended in liquid.

Tiny (micro-) structures inside the chip guide the organisms into one of the outlets, so that they become concentrated. I then used a sensitive analysis method, based on genes, to detect both harmful microorganisms (waterborne parasites), and useful microorganisms (oil-eating bacteria).

This analysis method, called NASBA (Nucleic Acid Sequence-Based Amplification), was also a part of a total analysis system called POCNAD (Point-Of-Care Nucleic Acid Detection). This system should be able to test for organisms in such a simple manner that all we should need to do is to add a sample and press play.

In my work, I found new applications for the Trilobite® chip. The chip could be used for harvesting microscopic plants (microalgae), which are part of the future green economy with many uses for fuel, feed, pharmaceuticals etc. 

Waterborne pathogens, however, were more challenging to concentrate but I developed a NASBA method useful for identifying some of these harmful organisms. I also developed a NASBA method for detecting useful oil-eating bacteria.

Although the POCNAD analysis system was simple in theory, my work showed that it was complex to use. In order to pull all the components together into a workable system, more research and development are necessary.