The Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics (ICGI) is a department within the Division of Cancer Medicine at Oslo University Hospital (OUS), and is located next to the Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo, in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park.
The Institute’s employees are organised in 6 different units within three sections, managed by the respective unit and section heads, with support from the project leaders, an administration manager and a financial manager. As of 2021, around 80 people are employed or associated with the Institute.
The leadership is conducted by a board consisting of the institute director, the section leaders, the administrative manager and the financial manager. This board makes decisions on strategy, project initiation, priorities and resource allocations.
ICGI was a partner in the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, a Centre of Excellence in Research, from 2007 to 2017, funded by the Norwegian Research Council (NRC) with 100 mill. NOK. In 2016, ICGI was awarded Lighthouse funding in the amount of 60 mill. NOK for the DoMore! project (2016-2021).
Professor Håvard E. Danielsen is the founder and director of ICGI and Professor II at Department of Informatics (IFI) at UiO and has a long experience in leading multidisciplinary research teams in cancer informatics. Through his positions as PI in Centre of Cancer Biomedicine (Centre of excellence in research) and project manager for the DoMore! Lighthouse project he has demonstrated the ability to complete large research projects successfully. He is an honorary professor in Cancer Informatics at the University of Oxford (UK) and in medicine at University of Soochow (China). He has introduced many “firsts” in the field of digital imaging and artificial intelligence for the benefit of cancer patients through his 15 patents and more than 150 publications. He is the leader of the international Colorectal Cancer Network and a former president of The International Society for Cellular Oncology.
The Section for Interphase Genetics
The Section for Interphase Genetics focuses on nucleomics and large-scale genomic instability in cancer. We have established methods for mRNA analysis using the NanoString technology, immunohistochemistry, DNA Ploidy and Nucleotyping. With an emphasis on automation and high-throughput, we have a fully equipped histology lab, three automatic full-slide image scanners and seven fully automated high-resolution light microscopy systems for image analysis. The Section for Interphase Genetics is engaged in both research and routine diagnostics, and is currently performing DNA Ploidy analysis as a diagnostic service. We are in the process of establishing Nucleotyping and Histotyping in routine clinical diagnostics.
Seventeen employees are working at the section daily, including the head of the section, a pathologist, two senior engineers, two postdocs, two department engineers, as well as nine people working in the Laboratory unit. In addition, a uropathologist, two clinical consultants, a health economist, and a professor at the Department of Biosciences at UiO are all associated with the section.
Dr Hanne Askautrud is head of the Section for Interphase Genetics and leader of the ICGI user council. She holds a PhD from the University of Oslo in molecular biology. Her current research at ICGI aims to unravel the role of tumour heterogeneity in tumour progression by analysing a variety of prognostic markers, including molecular markers, tumour-stroma fraction, and markers of genomic instability. Together with the researchers, pathologists, and laboratory engineers at her sections, she has established and analysed patient cohorts using methods such as DNA Ploidy, immuno-histochemistry, and NanoString gene expression analysis. She has long experience in supervision of large laboratory tasks in machine learning projects that are essential to obtain the consistent, high-quality data required for successful utilisation of deep learning.
The Section for Cancer Cytogenetics
The Section for Cancer Cytogenetics is the leading institution for the cytogenetic analyses both nationally and internationally and performs diagnostics for Oslo University Hospital and other Norwegian hospitals. Our goal is to enable better cancer treatment through a combination of classical methodologies and new techniques for improved diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. The section’s diagnostic discoveries contribute to personalised cancer medicine and are included in several courses of treatment and care for cancer patients. The lab performs more than 10.000 analyses per year, including karyotyping, FISH, and array CGH, for diagnostic purposes. The investigations are primarily performed on samples from haematological malignancies (leukaemia’s and lymphoma) and solid tumours. Sarcomas, gynaecologic- and brain tumours are most frequently analysed.
The diagnostic division of the section includes 18 employees with different backgrounds. The three physicians are those responsible for the medical part, from evaluation of the required analyses/material sent to us, to providing the result of each analysis. The methodological part is the responsibility of 15 technicians whose background and skill set ranges from an engineer (with or without a master’s degree) to a specialised engineer with a PhD. Additionally, we have three technicians working 50% in diagnostics and 50% in research.
Dr Francesca Micci is the head of the Section for Cancer Cytogenetics at the Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics (OUS-HF). She is the responsible person for both the diagnostic activities as well as the research performed by the group. Micci’s scientific interest are two folds: Gynaecologic malignancies and Gene-level consequences of chromosomal rearrangements. Both dates back more than 20 years. During this period, she has published about 110 scientific publications on both subjects as well as two book chapters. She has supervised six PhD students. Her group was actively participating in the Centre of Cancer Biomedicine (Centre of excellence in research), where she established many interdisciplinary collaborations. In 2013, Micci was appointed “professor II” at the Institute for Biosciences where she was responsible for the course MBV3020: “Molecular genetics and developmental biology”.
The Section for Applied Informatics
The Section for Applied Informatics conducts research and develops concepts and methods required to improve cancer care. They provide software solutions, methods and technologies to our researchers and collaborators. The Section for Applied Informatics is also responsible for hardware and technical support. Another important task for the section is dissemination and visualisation of our research projects and results.
Unit for Application Development
The unit is composed of researchers and software developers. The tasks in this unit span from developing simple tools/applications needed for the daily operation of the Institute to research and development of highly advanced methods and concepts to improve cancer care. Most of the development involves images, for example, from scanners or microscopes, and they work with traditional image analysis as well as new methods based on AI with deep learning. The main platforms are Windows/.NET, Python and CUDA (GPU), but they also use MatLab, R and other tools. The unit has 14 employees and two associated part-time professors.
Unit for Dissemination and Visualisation
The unit works with media, graphic design, video, websites, social media and Oncolex/Kreftlex. They cover tasks such as web design and -development, graphic design, printed resources, 3D animations, web content publication etc.
Unit for Technology
The unit operates all IT infrastructure, i.e. storage and backup, networks, workstations, laptops, GPU servers, firewalls, security etc. The unit also provides general IT support to other users at the Institute. Technical support for lab equipment, such as scanners, microscopes and printers is also an important function for the unit. The unit has four employees.
Mr John Arne Nesheim is head of Section for Applied Informatics. He has a master’s degree in Computer Science, Hardware and health technology, and has more than 25 years of experience in software development, both as a developer and project manager. Nesheim is a co-author on several of the Institutes most cited publications, serves as work package leader on several main research projects and has a particular interest in software development for digital pathology.
This text was last modified: 13.09.2021