Dr. Magnús Örn Stefánsson


Ph.D., University College Cork, 2001 | Molecular and Population Genetics, Physiology

Thesis: Aspects of Culture Performance and Molecular Genetics of Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) and Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus)


MBA, Reykjavík University, 2006 | Finance


B.Sc., The University of Iceland, 1995 | Molecular Biology and Physiology

Thesis: Recirculation of Seawater in Culture Situation


Research Fields

  • The application of molecular genetics to solve practical problems in sustainable marine resources' management and aquaculture
  • The use of molecular markers to describe biodiversity
  • The application of molecular biology to build biosensors
  • Industrial microbiology: Microalgae in the production of value added products


Patentable Technical Inventions

  • Bioreactor for the culturing of heterotrophic microalgae on pilot-scale
  • Formulation of media from discarded by-products for the culturing of heterotrophic microalgae


Employment Record

       Research Fellow (tenured), School of Business and Science, University of Akureyri (Located within BioPol ltd.) | Skagaströnd, Iceland, 2011 - Current

  • Close cooperation with BioPol –an SME that commercializes biotech products from innovation
  • Conducted and lead research in marine biotechnology (microalgae and industrial microbiology)

o   Designed methods to use discarded by-products from fisheries and agriculture to media formulation for heterotrophic microalgae

o   Carried out a feasibility study on the production of healthy omega-3 fatty acids with microalgae cultures

o   Designed a fully functional pilot-scale bioreactor for experimentation  

  • Built a fully-functioning lab for research in microbiology
  • Research funding acquisition
  • Pre- and postgraduate student mentorship 


       Founder and Chairman of Board, nList Publishing | Skagaströnd, Iceland, 2016 - Current

  • Publisher of The Iceview: A Journal of Literature and Art in Iceland
  • Oversee all aspects of the journal's production, including managing a team of editors
  • Financial management and funding acquisition
  • Cross-cultural representative


Chief Scientific Officer, Biosensores, S.L. | Castellon, Spain, 2009 - 2011

  • Developed DNA-based affinity biosensors to detect pathogenic bacteria
  • Conducted research on niche markets for microbial biosensors measuring water quality
  • Oversaw both local and national funding acquisitions
  • Entrepreneurial finance: forecasted income statements, balance sheets, uses of funds (based on the IFRS standards)


Project Manager / Analyst, Office of Director General, Dept. Human Resources, University Hospital of Iceland | Reykjavík, Iceland, 2007 - 2009

  • Managed hospital's salary negotiations by conducting financial analysis for (5,000 employees; €245 million/year)
  • Microeconomics: Conducted statistical forecasting and assisted in financing the hospital's payroll
  • Conducted surveys and carried out statistical modeling to further develop career roles nurses


Senior Scientist and Interim Head of Genetics Laboratory, Marine Research Institute of Iceland | Reykjavík, Iceland, 2000 – 2007

  • Managed three EU-funded research projects under the 5th framework of the EU:

o   Population structure, reproductive strategies and demography of redfish in the Irminger Sea and adjacent waters

o   Establishing traceability for cod: determine location of spawning and harvest  

o   The role of sub-stock structure in the maintenance of cod metapopulations

  • Researched impact of past climate change on commercial fish species in the North Atlantic
  • Consultant on the population structure of redfish
  • Biodiversity conservation and sustainable fishery management
  • Developed and lead a five-year strategy for the MRI: The Use of Genetics in Fishery Management and Aquaculture 


Research Associate, Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre, University College Cork | Cork, Ireland, 1995 – 2000

  • Evaluated and optimized the production characteristics of different strains of commercially cultured flatfish funded by the 5th framework of the EU
  • Developed microsatellite DNA markers for halibut
  • Genetic variation in wild populations and farmed strains of halibut and turbot
  • Carried out multiple projects as funded by governmental organizations including:

o   The measurement of the effect of different social environments on the growth performance and stress physiology of halibut

o   Established an experimental turbot hatchery

o   Established and developed microalgae culture for marine fish hatchery

o   Carried out projects on different species in culture (turbot, halibut, Arctic char, rainbow trout, salmon and scallop)


Teaching, Supervision, Leadership

Graduate and Postgraduate Supervisor

University of Akureyri:

  • B.Sc. and M.Sc.: Marine biotechnology; culturing of heterotrophic microalgae

University College Cork:

  • B.Sc.: Zoology; flatfish biology
  • M.Sc.: Aquaculture; feeding behavior and molecular genetics of flatfish



School of Business and Science, University of Akureyri:

  • B.Sc.: Evolution and population genetics
  • M.Sc. (Covering topics in Science and Management): The culturing of heterotrophic microalgae; measuring and managing knowledge assets in large corporations

Aquaculture & Fisheries Development Centre, University College Cork, Ireland:

  • B.Sc.: Biology of aquaculture species (flatfish)
  • M.Sc.: Flatfish farming


Farskólinn, Center for Adult Education in the Northwest of Iceland:

  • Spanish for beginners


Member of Boards, Committees and International Delegations

  • Chairman of Board: nList Publishing
  • Member of several delegations on Redfish and Cod research funded by the EU
  • Icelandic delegation on redfish stock structure at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
  • Stock Identity and Management Units of Redfish (SGSIMUR), ICES
  • Board of the Dept. of Biology, University of Iceland
  • Educational Committee of the Dept. of Biology, University of Iceland
  • Board of Health of the District of Kópavogur
  • Board of the Kópavogur Institute of Education


Recent Awards and Grants

  • SSNV: Cultural Development Grant of NW Iceland for the publication of The Iceview: A Journal of Literature and Art in Iceland
  • SSNV: Art & Science Publication Grant of NW Iceland for the publication of ArtEnnVaff
  • Ministry of Industries and Innovation, Iceland: Examination of the viability of obtaining products from marine protists (Thraustochytriaceae) in culture
  • The Icelandic Centre for Research: Utilization of waste from fisheries and agriculture to make media for marine protista
  • The Icelandic Centre for Research: Scaling up of cultures for the for the production of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids using marine protista
  • AVS R&D Fund of Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture in Iceland: Examination of the viability of obtaining products from marine protists (Thraustochytriaceae) in culture
  • AVS R&D Fund of Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture in Iceland: Production of high-value products from macro algae
  • BioVal, Regional Government of Valencia, Spain: Development of biosensors.
  • Programa Torres Quevedo, Ministerio de Education y Ciencia, Spain: Development of biosensors
  • University College Cork: Ph.D. fully funded
  • EU-COMETT Programme, University Enterprise Training Partnership: Student grant
  • Training and Mobility of Researcher Programme (TMR) of the EU: Student grant
  • The Icelandic Centre for Research: Several grants for laboratory equipment and infrastructure



  • Oracle Human Recourse System and Oracle Reports | Skýrr, Iceland, 2007
  • Microsoft Access Database Software | Iceland, 2003
  • Molecular Biology in Ecology & Aquaculture | University of Kuopio, Finland, 2001
  • Commercial Biotechnology | The University of Iceland, 2000
  • Physics and Mathematics | Kópavogur Institute of Education, Iceland, 1987



Icelandic | Native                                    English | Fluent                                          Spanish | Fluent