Published: 11-07-2012 00:00 | Updated: 18-06-2014 09:28

Karolinska Institutet at ESOF 2012 in Dublin

Prospects of using computer-simulated 3D environments in medical research, development and training, and how to promote a healthier ageing for men and women of advanced years, are two of several topics that the Swedish medical university, Karolinska Institutet, will be presenting at this year's Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin, Ireland, 11-15 July 2012.

ESOF is Europe's largest cross-disciplinary international forum for scientists, discussing research news in many fields, including neuroscience and bioentrepreneurship. Carl Johan Sundberg, university lecturer and associate professor at Karolinska Institutet, is the founder and initiator of ESOF, a meeting that is held every second year in a European city.

"ESOF is a unique meeting place where decision-makers, researchers, journalists and the general public meet and discuss research and common worldwide challenges, such as climate change, energy issues and threats from contagious diseases. Karolinska Institutet has a lot to contribute to these meetings, but also a lot to learn," declares Carl Johan Sundberg.

This year at ESOF, he is leading "The virtual future of healthcare", a panel discussion (Saturday, July 14, 8:00 am - 9:30 am at Ecocem Room), where the panel itself is a mixed reality event. Panellists will be located physically in the US and Europe but deliver their presentations through their avatars (virtual representations) in the Dublin conference hall. The objective of this session is to introduce the concept of virtual worlds (VW), and to demonstrate how such computer-simulated environments in 3D can be used in a variety of applications throughout the healthcare ecosystem.

Professor Laura Fratiglioni from Karolinska Institutet participates in the panel discussion "Ageing in Europe: Abyss or opportunity?" (Sunday, July 15, 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm at Wicklow Hall 2A). She will present data suggesting that promoting a healthier ageing for men and women 75+ is not only necessary but entirely possible.

"It is a question of simple measures that are proven to have great impact, Professor Fratiglioni says. There is evidence that we can improve the health of the elderly just by stimulating them to an active life-style, physically, mentally and socially. By doing so, we can soften the impact of vascular disease and dementia, two common problems for people of advanced years."

The seminar will also discuss the possibilities of basic research in different fields to provide a basis for policies and politics.

Another Karolinska Institutet researcher, Pauline Mattsson, specializing in bioentrepreneurship and innovation, leads the session Opportunities and challenges for the next generation of European scholars", (Sunday, July 15, 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm at Liffey Hall 1). The discussion here is based on the results of an inquiry among more than 18 000 young scientists in Europe about their situation and career expectations in academic life.

Young scientists in today´s Europe are facing dire professional and private challenges, especially in regions hit by the financial crisis, for instance the Mediterranian countries," Pauline Mattsson explains.

"Young post doc researchers are concerned, among other things, about resent changes in many countries regarding academic opportunities. Frustrated hopes for employment or long-term assignments even force some talented young scholars to turn their backs on academy and pursue other careers," she says.

Pauline Mattsson hopes that the panel discussion at ESOF will serve as an early warning for decisions-makers to address a situation that has to be managed.

Dr. Nils Wilking, associate professor, affiliated to the Department of Oncology-Pathology at Karolinska Institutet will talk about the true cost of personalised cancer medicine. ("The true cost of personalised cancer medicine", Sunday, July 15, 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm at the Wicklow Meeting Room 1.) The revolution in the development and use of targeted anti-cancer agents has lead to discussions concerning treatment benefits versus cost-effectiveness. The session will also debate the usefulness of companion diagnostic approaches alongside molecular therapies in order to sub-stratify patients into different groupings based on predicted drug response.