The stay at CAS 2022-23 is ending this month

Over the past year, we at PANSOC have had the pleasure of hosting a large international team of researchers behind the Social Science Meets Biology: Indigenous People and Severe Influenza Outcomes project at Centre for Advanced Study (CAS) at the Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters in Oslo, Norway. This interdisciplinary research project has sought to explore the complex factors that contribute to the severe influenza outcomes often experienced by Indigenous communities in Northern Europe, North America and Oceania.

As the project comes to an end, Centre leader of PANSOC and head of the CAS-project, Professor Mamelund, has given his reflections on the project, its findings, and the future of pandemic research in an interview at CAS. Read more here: End Interview: Social Science Meets Biology | CAS (

Portrait picture: Svenn-Erik Mamelund

Natalie Bennett is visiting us 22-26 May, 2023.

Dr. Bennett is our second PANSOC visiting scholar this semester. Bennett is at the Population Health Sciences Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University.

Dr. Bennett is presenting two times this week at the Centre for Advanced study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The first presentation is titled “Geographical inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination and mortality” and the second is a workshop on Structural Equation Modelling.

PANSOC centre leader, Svenn-Erik Mamelund, and Dr. Natalie Bennett


Please meet our new researcher: Maria Bekker-Nielsen Dunbar

Maria is an incoming researcher at the OsloMet Center for Research on Pandemics & Society (PANSOC). Maria graduated with an MSc in Statistics from the University of Copenhagen in 2016 and will defend her PhD thesis on 11th of July 2023 in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Zurich which she started in 2020. The topic of her PhD is time-varying transmission weights in endemic-epidemic models which she has applied to COVID-19 surveillance and leveraged to examine policy questions such as what is the impact of social distancing measures and would a different vaccine distribution scheme have led to greater societal protection.

She has a keen interest in environmental epidemiology and infectious disease modelling. She has previously worked at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Public Health England, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and has enjoyed learning how interdisciplinary research is used in policy making at various governmental levels. At ECDC her focus was on vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly modelling herpes zoster and understanding how national immunisation task action groups operated in European Union member states.

At Public Health England she did a project on the black death modelling the risk of death in periods of known outbreaks compared with periods without and this interest in historical epidemiology was further honed during her time at the University of Zurich where she did a project on syphilis in the sixteenth century constructed around stigma.

Maria will be working with Svenn-Erik Mamelund and Jessica Dimka at PANSOC and will be developing a grant application during her time at OsloMet. Her current research interests are environment, infectious diseases and vaccines, public health emergencies, and disasters (both natural and human-caused) as well as open science and good scientific practices.

Call for Applications: Visiting Researcher Program 2023-2024

PANSOC welcomes applications for our Visiting Researcher program during the 2023-2024 academic year. Preference will be given to senior researchers with demonstrated potential for obtaining external funding.

Two applicants will be selected based on their research experience and interests and the requirement that they contribute concrete ideas for – and at least initial drafting of – grant proposals during their stay (minimum 2 weeks, preferably up to 4 weeks). These proposals will be led by the candidates with PANSOC as a partner and submitted to local funding bodies corresponding to the researchers’ affiliations/countries or to the Research Council of Norway or NordForsk with us as PI, as appropriate.

We encourage applications from researchers in all fields with interests in the social and biological aspects of historical, current, and future pandemics. We are particularly interested in topics such as:

  • Disparities in disease outcomes or impacts of public health measures based on socioeconomic, ethnic, health, and/or other inequalities.
  • Syndemic interactions with non-communicable diseases and chronic health conditions, including long-term health impacts of pandemics.
  • Relationships between infectious disease epidemics and other crises such as wars or extreme climate events/climate change.

The visiting researcher program will cover transportation costs to Oslo and accommodations up to 50,000 NOK.

Please send 1) a CV, 2) a description (1-2 pages) of your idea for a joint proposal, 3) tentative budget for the visit, and 4) anticipated timing or availability for travel to Oslo to Svenn-Erik Mamelund (


Final Spring Webinar

The final PANSOC webinar of the semester will be on 27 April at 1600 Oslo time. Dr. Marcia Anderson will present: “The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic for First Nations Peoples and Communities: the role of leadership and governance in addressing policy gaps and barriers to access.” Contact for a link.

Dr. Marcia Anderson is Cree-Anishinaabe and grew up in the North End of Winnipeg. Her family roots go to Peguis First Nation and Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. She practices both Internal Medicine and Public Health. She is the Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health, Social Justice and Anti-Racism and the Executive Director of Indigenous Academic Affairs in the Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. She serves as the Chair of the Indigenous Health Committee of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and the Chair of the National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education. She was recognized for her contributions to Indigenous Peoples health with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in March 2011. In 2018 and 2022 she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network. In 2021 she received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award, and in 2022 was named the Doctors Manitoba Physician of the Year. She was also the recipient of a Community Development Award from the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 2022.

The PANSOC webinar series returns!

On 20 April at 1600 CET, Courtney Heffernan, University of Alberta, will present: “Tuberculosis elimination in low prevalence settings: research and implementation.”

Courtney will talk about the implications of an unfinished pandemic (TB) on underserved populations in high-income settings; i.e. for Canada TB disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples and migrants, but strategic efforts to succeed are different for each. Among the former, snuffing out transmission and outbreaks remain paramount while for the latter expanding screening and prophylaxis to prevent reactivation is key. Determining the feasibility of screening and treating TB infection in migrants is so important to achieve elimination since the reservoirs are being replenished by imported prevalent infections. Meanwhile, Canada is setting increasingly ambitious targets for immigration (500,000 per annum by 2025, which is ~double the annual average for the last 20 yrs) with no strategic plan for TB. 

Courtney Heffernan has a PhD in Medicine from the University of Alberta, and since 2010 she has been working as the manager of the Tuberculosis Program Evaluation and Research Unit there. Her work is focused on pulmonary tuberculosis, and elimination with an emphasis on transmission. She is a member of STOP TB Canada’s Steering Committee, and the CDC’s TB Trials Consortium’s Implementation and Quality Committee. 

Contact for a link.

Happy Easter

In Norway we have a strong cabin culture. For Easter 🐣, those who have or have access to a cabin spends a half or a full week in the mountains or by the sea. Happy Easter to all at PANSOC and our collaborators and members of our Centre for Advanced Study-project.