Norwegian version of this page

Kristine Bonnevie lectures 2021: C. Jessica E. Metcalf and John-Arne Røttingen.

Open lectures by C. Jessica E. Metcalf and John-Arne Røttingen. The topics are the ecology and evolution of hosts and pathogens, and translating science to policy – the case of pandemic preparedness and response.


10.15-10.30. Opening remarks

Svein Stølen, Rector, University of Oslo
and Kjetill S. Jakobsen, Chair of CEES, IBV, UiO

10.30-11.15. Ecology and evolution of hosts and pathogens

C. Jessica E. Metcalf, Princeton University, USA

11.15-11.35. Q&A

Chaired by Nils Chr. Stenseth, UiO

11.35-11.55. Translating science to policy – the case of pandemic preparedness and response

John-Arne Røttingen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, and Norwegian Institute of Public Health

11.55-12.15. Q&A

Chaired by Nils Chr. Stenseth, UiO

12.15-12.20. Closing remarks

Kjetill S. Jakobsen, Chair of CEES, IBV, UiO


Portrait of C. Jessica E. Metcalf.

C. Jessica E. Metcalf

Title: Ecology and evolution of hosts and pathogens


Pathogens are part of our ecology, and we are part of theirs. Thus, pathogens have shaped our evolution and we have shaped theirs. In this talk, I will bring tools from evolutionary ecology to bear on some of the mysteries of coronavirus ecology; and to recast some of the surprises of the pattern of impact of the pandemic virus on ourselves. First, addressing coronavirus ecology, there is a puzzling mismatch in the fact that, despite vast diversity in non-human hosts and conspicuous recent spillover events, only a small number of coronaviruses have been observed to persist in human populations. Another puzzling issue is why, despite multiple spillover events, and despite overlap in many core characteristics with the pandemic virus, Middle-Eastern-Respiratory-Virus coronavirus has never been a pandemic threat. Second, considering the health impacts of the pandemic, the extraordinary risk gradient of severe outcomes with age, and the nuanced patterns of severe outcomes across the sexes both call for explanation. Kristine Bonnevie’s legacy, and the principled approaches she brought to evaluating both the genetic underpinnings of human traits and their limits, provide a roadmap for considering the intersecting drivers of the burden of the pandemic on human health. 


C. Jessica E. Metcalf  is an Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Public Affairs at Princeton University, USA. She is a demographer with broad interests in evolutionary ecology, infectious disease dynamics and public policy. Read more about Metcalf at her profile page at Princeton University.

John-Arne RøttingenPortrait of John-Arne Røttingen

Title: Translating science to policy – the case of pandemic preparedness and response


A pandemic of a respiratory virus has been among the top international risks on the lists of governments. Still the Covid-19 pandemic seemed to have caught us by surprise. There have been recent warnings and reports on how to better prevent and prepare for cross-border infectious threats, but those recommendations have not been acted upon. How can the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic be translated into policy decisions and action? What can citizens, authorities and the world at large do better to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks? How can we learn better and faster when conducting research in the midst of a pandemic? I will draw on my involvement in coordinating large multi-country clinical trials on Covid-19 and as member of the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.


Ambassador for Global Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway. He is Adjunct Scientific Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Visiting Fellow of Practice at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University. He has been founding CEO of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations); Chief Executive, Research Council of Norway; Executive Director of Infection Control and Environmental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health; Professor of Health Policy, University of Oslo; and Adjunct Professor, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He holds MD PhD from University of Oslo, MSc from Oxford University and MPA from Harvard University.

This event is part of the UiO annual festivities. See the full program for "En ny start" (31 August – 2 September).


Phone: (+47) 22858278

Event poster.

Click for full size poster (3 MB pdf)

Published Mar. 11, 2021 1:22 PM - Last modified May 18, 2022 10:17 AM