Ira Haraldsen, MD, PhD, Head of the Center Cognitive Health in Trauma and Disease (CHTD) Division of Clinical Neuroscience at the Oslo University Hospital
Ira Ronit Hebold Haraldsen, born 1960, German citizen, Resident of Norway since 1993, has a professional background as a physician, specialized in Neurology and Psychiatry, and subspecialized in sex-specific neuropsychiatry with an emphasis on cognitive function. The subject of her first research interest was to study GnRH, LH and FSH pulse profiles. At the Max Planck Institute of Neurological Research, she worked with technology transfer of Positron Emission Tomography into clinical use during the years 1984 to 1987. Her clinical specialization in Neurology and Psychiatry was finalized between1988 – 1996.
Her interest in endocrinological neuroscience led to her PhD thesis in Norway that focused on the effects of sex hormones on cognitive function. Towards the end of her PhD period, and after her defense, she achieved several major grants and established a research group focusing on the effects of GnRH on neuronal pruning during brain development and aging. With GnRH as the point of interest, their projects reach from chemistry (they developed a new GnRH-like chemical and applied it as a new PET tracer), to animal models (sheep, mice) focusing on how to study GnRH blockage effects on pruning and aging, to now human clinical studies (in epilepsy and gender dysphoria). She has initiated and participated in the European Initiative of Gender Incongruence (ENIGI) and 2 COST initiatives with other European researchers to standardize the clinical criteria for diagnosing gender dysphoria, GnRH research and genital anomalia. This work has led to several EU activities in Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. Furthermore, the chemical PET tracer development project archived a substantial Biotech the Norwegian Research Council grant and patent applications that have been delivered. She has been and is currently the PI of 14 projects since 2007 and has been supervising 9 PhD students (5 defended, 4 ongoing). She is today heading an interdisciplinary, international research group. She established the ongoing collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Columbia University and Oslo University Hospital (OUH) in 2015. Their collaboration has since then led to the integration of gender related questions into the population-based survey since 2017 and since 2018 heading AIRDEM, Assessment of individual risk of dementia in epilepsy and mild cognitive impairment: multimodal brain-based precision prognostics. A collaboration between the University Hospitals at Cambridge-, Helsinki-, Madrid- and Oslo. Being a clinical administrative senior at OUH, she has participated in a series of working groups and committees addressing gender issues in Norway. As of 2019, she hold the role as Head of the Cognitive Health in Trauma and Disease research group (in spe, Cognitive Health and Brain Disease) at the Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Dep. of Neurology.