Published: 26-03-2014 09:44 | Updated: 26-11-2014 10:20

Karolinska Institutet’s new honorary doctors

The Board of Research at Karolinska Institutet has made former MD of Meda AB Anders Lönner and professor of haematology Zhu Chen honorary doctors of medicine, and dentist William P Magee and nurse Kathleen S Magee honorary doctors of odontology. The honours are conferred in recognition of significant scientific achievements, or of vital contributions to the university or to mankind in the university’s spheres of activity.

“We’re particularly pleased this year to be able to award two honorary doctorates in medicine and two in odontology,” says Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, dean of research at Karolinska Institutet. Although aware that the appointment of Zhu Chen can be perceived as somewhat controversial in light of his position as a former minister in the Chinese government, Professor Ljunggren points out that Karolinska Institutet wishes above all to honour him for his contributions to medical science.

“As a scientist he is responsible for a new, groundbreaking leukaemia therapy,” says Professor Ljunggren. “In China he’s worked hard for healthcare reforms, established collaborations and partnerships with Karolinska Institutet, and enabled many doctoral students to study at KI.”

In its statement announcing KI’s new honorary doctors, whose degrees will be formally conferred at the Stockholm City Hall on 23 May this year, the Board of Research’s citation read as follows:

Anders Lönner, Honorary Doctor of Medicine (MDhc)

Anders Lönner, hedersdoktor 2014Anders Lönner, Master of Political Sciences and formerly Managing Director of KaroBio, Deputy Managing Director of Astra AB, board member of the international company Valeant and, over the period 1999-2013, president of the pharmaceutical group Meda AB, has been appointed Honorary Doctor of Medicine. Through his entrepreneurial skills, Anders Lönner has played an important role in Swedish pharmaceutical research, the Swedish pharmaceutical industry and for the Swedish society in general. Anders Lönner has for many years shown a strong personal engagement in Karolinska Institutet, especially in the area of treatment research. He has been engaged in, and stimulated, cooperation between Karolinska Institutet and the pharmaceutical industry. He has served as an adviser for Karolinska Institutet on matters relating to innovation and has participated actively in Karolinska Institutet’s external activities, both within Sweden and internationally.

Zhu Chen, Honorary Doctor of Medicine (MDhc)

Zhu ChenZhu Chen, medical doctor and professor of haematology, Honorary Director of Shanghai Institute of Haematology and Director of the Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has been appointed Honorary Doctor of Medicine. Zhu Chen has conducted a series of research assignments at medical institutions in China and in France, the USA and Canada. As a researcher, Zhu Chen has, among other things, developed a paradigm-shifting synergistic targeting therapy for acute promyelocytic leukemia with all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide that turns this most fatal haematological malignancy to a clinically curable disease. During his period as China’s Medical Health Minister, from June 2007-March 2013, Zhu Chen initiated and ran a very forward-looking programme of reform work directed at China’s medical care system. He has also been playing an important role in Sweden’s and China’s joint efforts to improve public health. Through his efforts, a large number of young Chinese researchers have attended courses in research at Karolinska Institutet. As Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) he has endeavoured the cooperation between Karolinska Institutet and leading universities in China, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

William P. Magee and Kathleen S. Magee, Honorary Doctors of Odontology (ODhc)
Magees, hedersdoktorer 2014Dentist and Plastic Surgeon William P. Magee, Jr. and Nurse and Clinical Social Worker Kathleen S. Magee have been appointed Honorary Doctors of Odontology. 1982 marked the establishment of the charitable organisation Operation Smile, whose operations aim at treating children with facial deformities in resource-poor environments. The activities are focused on children who have been born with lip-, jaw- and gum-clefts defects, which may lead to death as a result of lack of nutrition at an early age or to the children being hidden away and receiving neither proper schooling nor a normal social life. With the support of generous donators and medical volunteers, the organisation has so far performed surgery on over 200.000 children, at no cost to their families. The treatment has also included nutritional advice, play therapy, speech training and dental care.

Operation Smile is today a worldwide humanitarian organisation with its centre in the Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. It constitutes a global network of International Foundations and Resource Chapters with programs in over 60 countries. In Sweden, Operation Smile has been in existence since 2010, with some 200 volunteers from different care segments. Many of these volunteers are actively engaged in work at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital.