Local Scientific Committee

Ruth C. Newberry, Professor

I am a Professor of Ethology in the Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. From origins in Ghana, I survived long-distance prenatal emigration to hatch into the shocking cold of a Canadian winter. My postnatal development took place with shoulder-perching hens and fence-jumping cows and horses on a farm near Ottawa. As a zoology student at the University of Edinburgh, I was drawn into the study of animal behaviour by the inspirational lectures of Professor Aubrey Manning, and pre-internet life in the library lapping up Jane Goodall’s ‘In the Shadow of Man’. A persuasive David Wood-Gush steered me away from following in the shadow of Jane to the far more practical study of who grunts after whom in the Edinburgh Pig Park. Riding on David’s fowl fame, I landed a position in Agassiz, British Columbia, where I pretended to know something about chickens (and eventually did). In 1996, I canoed south to Palouse country, home of cowboys, Washington State University Cougars and captive grizzly bears. Having finally habituated to Stetson hats in the classroom, the northern lights beckoned once more. Consequently, since 2013, I have been tickled by pickled fish and the sight of Nordic skiers swooshing past my window. (Source: Animals and Us: 50 Years and More of Applied Ethology).


Inger Lise Andersen, Professor

I am professor of ethology at the Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Since 1994 I have been working with behaviour of farm animals, and my main topics in ethology have been maternal behaviour, social behaviour and social dynamics (effects of animal density and group size) in group housing systems. As my interest areas are broad, I have worked with many species, but I have done most research on pigs and goats. At present, my focus is on pig and horse behaviour and welfare, in relation to animal environment. In pigs, my focus has been maternal behaviour, farrowing environment and management in relation to piglet survival. In most of my research projects I have a close collaboration with stakeholders. At present, I am the head of the research group Ethology and Farm Animal Environment in our department at NMBU and I am also the leader of the National Animal Ethics Committee since three years ago. My recent research interests are behavioural indicators of positive emotions and environmental enrichment in farm animals and behaviour of farmed fish.


Andrew M. Janczak, Professor

I work at the Animal Welfare Research Group at the Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences at NMBU as Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare. The main focus of my current research is on stress physiology, sickness behaviour and tail-biting in pigs. Another recent area of focus has been on behavioural development in laying hens. I currently lead COST Action GroupHouseNet, Synergy for preventing damaging behaviour in pigs and laying hens and am responsible for coordinating the PhD courses and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, NMBU. An overview of publications can be found under my profile description at http://www.animalwelfarenorway.com/members


Janicke Nordgreen, Associate Professor

I am associate professor at Section of Pharmacology at the Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. My research on the influence of health on animal behaviour currently focuses on understanding how immune activation in pigs can influence their social behaviour. I also work with animal pain and the effects of different analgesics on the behaviour and physiology of both fish and mammals.


Marco Vindas, Research scientist, PhD

I am a postdoc currently at the Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. My main field of research is fish behavioural neurobiology. Specifically I am very interested in functional neuroanatomy which involves understanding which areas and which signal substances are active when animals experience stimuli which elicits specific behavioural outputs. My research also involves the assessment of physiological welfare indicators for salmonids in aquaculture and links emotional responses in fish to their welfare, a very important link that is slowly changing how we assess the well-being of fish in commercial farms. This is my first year of ISAE as part of the Local Scientific Committee for ISAE’2019 and I hope to be involved with this exciting organisation for many years to come.


Cecilie Marie Mejdell, Senior scientist, PhD

I am a senior scientist at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, section for Animal Health and Welfare, where I lead the research group in animal welfare. My background is from veterinary medicine, and the last 25 years I have worked full time on animal welfare. I am recognized as a veterinary expert in the field of animal welfare science, ethics and law (Dip AWBM-AWSEL). My research covers different species including cattle, horses and farmed fish, and issues such as social housing, thermoregulation and stunning/killing methods. I am a member of the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology in Norway, and the ISAE Ethics Council. Formerly, I have been the manager of the Norwegian Council on Animal Ethics for 15 years and was member of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment until 2018.


Grete H.M. Jørgensen, Research scientist, PhD

I am a research scientist at NIBIO, Division of Food Production and Society, Department of Grassland and Livestock, at Tjøtta Research station in Nordland, Norway. My PhD in ethology was obtained at NMBU in Ås on physical and social environment for ewes housed indoors during winter. At NIBIO I am project leader for a project on stress and welfare of reindeer during handling, using technology to enhance welfare. I have also been working on shelter conditions for horses during winter conditions and horses’ choice of wearing a horse blanket outdoors as well as various studies on cattle and goats.


Tore Kristiansen, Principal scientist, PhD, Institute of Marine Research, Bergen/Austevoll

Leader of Animal Welfare Research Group at Institute of Marine Research, Norway, since 2007. PhD in Fisheries Biology.  The research group is the main advisor of the Norwegian food authorities regarding fish welfare. Main research areas last 10 years: fish perception and cognitive capacity, stress tolerance, allostatic regulation and adaptive capacity of farmed  A. salmon, behavioral welfare indicators, individual and heritable variation in coping ability, buoyancy regulation in cod and Atlantic cod and salmon, and overall assessment of fish welfare. Leader of Norwegian National Committee for the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes.


Guro Vasdal, Project leader, PhD

I am a researcher at Animalia – Norwegian Meat and Poultry Research Centre where my research is focused on animal welfare of broilers, turkeys and laying hens, including identifying new potential welfare indicators for a national continuous welfare surveillance in broiler production. Other research topics include investigating effects of environmental enrichment on behaviour and welfare in broilers and turkeys, and investigating the prevalence of welfare challenges in commercial turkey production. I am the national coordinator of the Norwegian animal welfare programs for broiler and turkeys, and I am currently leading the work to develop an animal welfare program for laying hens. I have been an ISAE member for more than 10 years, and attended my first ISAE conference in Dublin in 2008.