Nordic News in Brief: FinnGen Flagship Paper, Danish Genealogy, Fine-Tuning with Family History, Jobs, Meetings …

Tuesday, 15 March 2022. News briefs from the Nordic Society of Human Genetics and Precision Medicine.

New challenge! ?

I will highlight a different Finnish ?? registry every day

These registers are part of FinRegistry: one of the most comprehensive population-level registry study in the World!

16 registries, 7.1 million individuals, and 4 744 030 889 rows of raw data ? 1/3

— Andrea ganna (@andganna) February 14, 2022



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Danish map of genetic relationships and diagnostics categories (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

Researchers combined 50 years of demographic and health care data to reconstruct the genealogy of 6.8 million Danish residents since 1968. They divided the six generations into eight well-known cohorts: Interbellum, greatest, silent generation, baby boomers, generation X, millennials, generation Z, and generation alpha. They estimated heritability and genetic correlations in 10 broad diagnostic categories, such as pulmonary, endocrine, and gastrointestinal. Mental disorders were consistently the most heritable category, whereas cancers were consistently the least heritable, first author Yorgo Athanasiadis tweeted. “The presented resource and analytical framework will contribute to the advancement of precision medicine,” the authors conclude in the PNAS paper.


Family health history, age power up genomic studies (American Journal of Human Genetics)

To make the most of large genetic datasets with linked electronic health registries—including the UK Biobank data, the iPSYCH data in Denmark, FinnGen, and deCODE—researchers developed a new way to personalize the analysis by incorporating age of onset, sex, and other factors into a family history. “In short, we have developed a method that can fine-tune the estimate for a genetic liability per individual,” tweeted first author Emil Pedersen in a thread when the preprint was released. “Integrating more data in GWAS can improve power,” tweeted senior author Bjarni Vilhjálmsson in a thread. The new method found 20 genome-wide significant associations when applied to four psychiatric disorders available in the iPSYCH data and to mortality in the UK Biobank, twice as many as the standard case control.


FinnGen flagship paper (medRxiv preprint)

In Finland, a strong founding bottleneck occurred about 120 generations ago, followed by rapid population expansion, creating a unique genetic population. About 50 years ago, Finland began establishing national health registries. In 2013, Finnish legislation officially created biobanks, which incorporated millions of “legacy samples.” In 2017, the FinnGen study launched, a public-private partnership that combines genomic information with digital health care data. In October 2021, the first doctoral thesis based on FinnGen data was published. Now, the study’s flagship paper is out in preprint. The authors studied a benchmark set of 15 diseases in the first 224,737 genotyped and phenotyped FinnGen participants. Their discovery analysis was meta-analyzed in Estonian and UK biobanks. The paper reports 30 novel associations, mostly “low-frequency variants strongly enriched, in or specific to, the Finnish population and Uralic language family neighbors in Estonia and Russia,” they write.


Stay up to date on Nordic research

The NSHG-PM generates and curates a biweekly list of these and other papers from members of the community and other Nordic researchers in human genetics and precision medicine.



17 March (virtual): Clinical Genomics Uppsala and Mission Bio on multi-omics single-cell technology.

22 March (virtual): SciLifeLab Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) conference includes session on precision medicine and diagnostics.

23 March (virtual): Harshvardhan Pandit on “Harmonizing FAIR data sharing with legal compliance,” a FAIRPoints series highlighting pragmatic measures toward implementation of the FAIR data principles.

24 March (virtual) – Jonas Nilsson in the National Seminar Series in Mass Spectometry-based Proteomics, every second Thursday through early May. Hosted by Swedish Proteomics Society, SciLifeLab, and BioMS Sweden.

28 March (virtual): Samuli Ripatti seminar in the K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology Seminar Series, the last Monday of each month. Hosted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

28 March (virtual): Mikael Benson, “Digital twins for predictive, preventive and personalized medicine,” in the Svedberg seminar series, every other week, KTH/SciLifeLab.

30 March (virtual): Workshop on the legal aspects of SARS-CoV-2 genome data processing and sharing across Europe, hosted by ELIXIR CONVERGE WP9 and SciLifeLab.

7-8 April (Korsør, Denmark): 5th Dianalund International Conference on Epilepsy. Abstract submission deadline is 21 February.

25 April (virtual): Johannes Köster seminar in the K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology Seminar Series, the last Monday of each month. Hosted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

25-27 April (virtual): 1st European Society of Human Genetics Course on Precision Medicine: A Focus on Clinical Utility. Applications for scholarships for early career scientists and clinicians close 20 March.

28-29 April (Stockholm) – Nordic Precision Medicine Forum.

30-31 May (Copenhagen): Natural Products (Meta)Genome Mining symposium, hosted by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Registration/abstract submissions close 1 April.



We congratulate Emma @Prof_Lundberg on receiving the prestigious Göran Gustafsson prize in molecular biology, for pioneering work to develop technologies and analysis tools for large-scale characterizations of the cellular and subcellular human proteome.

— Human Protein Atlas (@ProteinAtlas) March 8, 2022


SciLifeLab Metabolomics Platform opens call to support pilot research projects in the area of exposome-metabolome interactions. Researchers from Swedish universities or public research institutions are invited to apply by 15 May.

Open Call: the National Facility for Exposomics will support Swedish research projects that link Exposome & Metabolome???️???????‍?‍?‍?

Apply before 15th of May! ?

— Stefano Papazian (@PapazianStefano) February 28, 2022


Recent PhDs are invited to submit a 1000-word essay to the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. Winners in four categories, including Molecular Medicine and Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology Approaches, will have their essay published by Science, win up to USD $30,000, and be invited to Sweden to receive their award, present their research, and meet with leading scientists in their field.



Postdoc in machine learning for single cell analysis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology; apply by 18 March.

PhD position in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oslo; applications close 22 March.

Tenure Track Assistant Professorship in Molecular Microbiology at the University of Southern Denmark; applications close 31 March.

Scientific Stakeholder Specialist bridging the Biobanking Development and Public Affairs units at BBMRI-ERIC, a European research infrastructure for biobanking and biomolecular resources (home office option); applications close 31 March.

Genome-Mining for Natural Products: 4th International Workshop for Early Career Researchers, 1-3 June at the Technical University of Denmark; applications close 31 March.

“Excellence by Choice” Postdoctoral Programme in Life Science at Umeå University; applications close 3 April.

PhD Candidate in Postpartum Depression project at University of Southern Denmark; applications close 4 April.

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research International Postdoctoral Program at University of Copenhagen; applications close 4 April.

PhD student position in chemistry with focus in biochemistry at Umeå University; apply by 4 April.

“Principles of Neural Organization” PhD course from 24-29 May at Aarhus University; registration closes 11 April.

Lab coordinator, full-stack software engineer, and imaging mass spectrometrist for SpaceM studio project to develop single-cell metabolomics technology for precision medicine, at BioInnovation Institute foundation in Copenhagen; apply by 15 April.

Group Leader (1-2 positions) at the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM), with a focus in machine learning tackling fundamental biological questions with potential for applications to precision medicine; applications close 18 April.

Postdoctoral fellowship in functional proteome of the gut microbiome at Umeå University; apply by 30 April.



Andrea Ganna’s thread highlighting a different Finnish registry every day (Twitter)

International Common Disease Alliance Recommendations and White Paper (PDF)

Genomics England Annual Report (PDF, 2021)

The Net Benefit of Personalized Medicine: A Systematic Literature Review and Regression Analysis (Value in Health Journal)



Thanks for reading. This news and events roundup was written by Kaia Heimer-Bumstead (events, funding, jobs) and Carol Cruzan Morton (findings, reading).

The Nordic Society of Human Genetics and Precision Medicine brings together scientists with stakeholders in the Nordic region to accelerate large-scale research combining molecular, registry, and other data to understand, prevent, and treat common complex diseases.