Published: 06-11-2012 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

Global health in focus at Minnesota science symposium

[NEWS 2012-10-30] Karolinska Institutet is engaged in extensive knowledge exchanges with partners in the USA, where Minnesota has long been of great interest to KI. Researchers from KI, the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic are now to meet to push research that can lead to new treatments and preventive measures in the interests of global health.

The scientists will be meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in early November for the third symposium under the "Frontiers in Biomedical Research Partnership" to discuss causes of death and suffering in the world: cardiovascular disease, cancer, smoking, diabetes, undernourishment and infection diseases.

"Our research is very much based these days on international collaboration, where we work with large, complex systems and complicated multifactorial issues that are difficult to solve alone," says Professor Mats Wahlgren, assistant dean of research at KI. "So we researchers have to cooperate and share methods and techniques in order to answer these important questions. KI therefore takes a strategic approach to internationalisation. Our interaction with Minnesota is important to us, and we see that our researchers are co-publishing with colleagues there."

The University of Minnesota is one of the country´s largest, and its partnership with Karolinska Institutet has been in place for more than two decades. Since Professor Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson was made president of KI in 2004, the collaboration between the two has been intensified and broadened. Today she is an honorary doctor at the University of Minnesota, and the two universities have common research programmes underway in a variety of specialist medical fields, including regenerative medicine and immunology. There are also exchange programmes in place at Bachelor´s and postdoctoral levels.

The symposium is to open with a talk by Professor Peter Agre from Johns Hopkins University in the USA, who was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discoveries concerning water channels in cell membranes. Professor Hans Rosling from KI, who is known for his passion for sustainable global development, will be closing the conference. Both will be talking about social injustice as the root of many of today´s health problems, particularly in poor countries.

All KI alumni in the field are welcome to attend the symposium. A parallel seminar is also being arranged for students at the University of Minnesota with KI professor Alicja Wolk, who will be talking on how preventative medicine can lead to a longer, healthier life. The objective is to forge links between American students and to stimulate interest in applying for global Master´s courses or research positions at KI.

Frontiers in Global Health Research Symposium 2012 is to take place on 1 and 2 November at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, USA.

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