About the Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (PharmaSafe) Research Group

Medications are an essential aspect of health care. PharmaSafe covers a multitude of different research activities related to the safety and optimal use of medications, on both the individual and societal level.

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PharmaSafe is a multidisciplinary research group, with expertise in a wide range of topics, including pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety, pharmaco(epi)genetics, biostatistics, health economics, and pharmacotherapy. 

Using epidemiological methods, we address questions of drug safety that are challenging to study in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Our work includes monitoring of drug utilization in pregnancy, examination of perceptions toward medications, methodology and health economic research, and analysis of medication safety on patient outcomes, including genetic and epigenetic contributions.

Pharmacoepidemiology: medication safety in pregnancy

For ethical reasons, pregnant women are rarely included in clinical studies, and consequently, drugs are often marketed with a general clause against use during pregnancy. Nevertheless, diseases require pharmacological treatment even during pregnancy, and women may often use medication before discovering that they are pregnant. Furthermore, our knowledge on underlying reasons for low birth weight, prematurity, stillbirths, malformations, and perinatal complications, is sparse, albeit several studies suggest that medication exposure during pregnancy may contribute to these negative pregnancy outcomes. Therefore, the need for evidence-based information about the safety of medication during pregnancy is great.

To this end, our main research focus within pharmacoepidemiology is medication safety in pregnancy. We use data from large, population-based health registries, and birth cohorts, as well as patient interviews. Medication groups of special focus are psychotropics, analgesics, and antibiotics.

Clinical pharmacy and pharmacotherapy research

Our clinical pharmacy and pharmacotherapy research projects include patient surveys to assess risk perception associated with medication use, as well as attitude towards and adherence to, medications in various diseases at different stages in life (e.g., migraine, depression, and pregnancy). Research activities also cover medication reviews within a clinical pharmacy setting, to identify and solve drug-related problems.

The role of the pharmacist

We examine the role of the pharmacist in the health care system in several ways, e.g., by how the role is perceived by pharmacists themselves, or by how other involved stakeholders perceive pharmacists.

Team members at the Department of Pharmacy

  • Professor Hedvig Nordeng
  • Professor Anne Gerd Granås
  • Associate professor Angela Lupattelli
  • Associate professor Ingunn Björnsdottir
  • Postdoc Alma Mulac
  • Postdoc Anteneh Assefa
  • Postdoc Busenur Kızılaslan
  • Postdoc Elisabeth Pedersen
  • Postdoc Eimir Hurley
  • Postdoc Jing Zhao
  • Postdoc Thi Hong Nhung Trinh
  • Postdoc Vera Mitter
  • Researcher Sina Rostami
  • Lecturer Hilde Kloster Smerud
  • PhD student Eirin Guldsten Robinson
  • PhD student Elin Ngo
  • PhD student Emilie Willoch Olstad
  • PhD student Fatima Tauqeer
  • PhD student Lene Maria Sundbakk
  • Guest researcher Eivind Ystrøm
  • Guest researcher Kristina Gervin
  • Guest researcher Maria Bich-Thuy Truong
  • Guest researcher Mollie Wood
  • Guest researcher Sarah Hjorth Andersen

External PhD students: 

  • PhD student Anette Vik Jøsendal

Visiting researchers 2021

  • Naify, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy, August, 2021–February, 2022

  • Michele Pedroncelli, University of Milano, Milano, Italy, April–September, 2021
  • Dr. Eimir Hurley, Ireland, April, 2021

Visiting researchers 2020

  • Marleen Van Gelder, Assistant Professor in Epidemiology / scientific coordinator of the Pregnancy and Infant DEvelopment (PRIDE) Study, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Julia do Amaral, Departamento de Genética – UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Nhung Trinh, researcher, Pierre Louis Doctoral School of Public health, epidemiology and biomedical information sciences, University of Paris, France.
  • Justine Bénévent, assistant Professor, Perinatal and reproductive pharmaco epidemiologi, Toulouse University Hospital, France

Visiting researchers 2018

  • Dr. Debra Kennedy, MotherSafe, the NSW Statewide Medications in Pregnancy And Lactation Advisory Service at the Royal Hospital for Women, Australia
  • Professor Kate Lapane, University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA
  • Dr. Shao-Hsien Liu, University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA
  • Dr. Rebecca Bromley, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  • Dr. Ksenia Zagorodnikova, North-western State Medical University named after I.I.Mechnikov, Russia
  • Sonia Roldan, European Medicines Agency, UK

Visiting researchers 2017

  • Senior advisor Gro C Havnen, Regional Drug Information Services Sør-Øst​

Visiting researchers 2016

  • Dr. Jacqueline Cohen, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA

Visiting researchers 2015

  • Dr. Herbert Juch, Research Unit Human Teratogens, TIS Graz, Austria
  • Dr. Michael Twigg, School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK
  • Richelle Vlenterie, Department for Health Evidence, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Guest lecturers 2019

  • Sally Rafie, Pharm D. UC San Diego Health, San Diego, California. Sally held two lectures May 7 and 8th with the support of NFIF funding.                                                                           (1) Digital revolution in medicines management. One-day seminar in collaboration with Sykehusapotekene HF. (2) Making the Case for Direct Access to Contraception in Pharmacies in collaboration with OsloMet.
  • Merete Schmiegelow. Patient engagement in medicines - R&D and entire life cycles. Honorary Ambassador in Regulatory Science at the University of Copenhagen.
  • Prof. Robert Platt, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada, gave a guest lecture on ‘Methodological challenges in perinatal pharmacoepidemiology’, September 12, 2019
  • Luke E Grzeskowiak, NHMRC Early Career Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Adelaide, presented his research projects on pharmacotherapeutics and perinatal and neonatal care, October 14, 2019


The research group has close collaborations with:

  • Center for Better Beginnings, UC San Diego, USA 
  • Center for Pharmacy, University of Bergen
  • Social pharmacy, University of Tromsø
  • University hospitals in Norway (OUS, UNN, St. Olav’s hospital, Akershus)
  • National Institute of Public Health, Norway
  • Regional Drug Information Services
  • University of Reykjavik, Iceland
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • University of Umeå, Sweden
  • University of Massachussets, Worcester, USA
  • Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA
Published Mar. 22, 2016 2:10 PM - Last modified Aug. 9, 2022 5:59 PM