Published: 27-09-2013 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

Mayo Clinic/KI conference larger than ever

[NEWS 13 September 2013] Clinic and Karolinska Institutet will be holding their annual conference on 27-28 September. This year, fully 12 programmes will be run concurrently, and never before will so many scientists from the USA have travelled here to take part.

There will be 55 guests from the Mayo Clinic.

"Of course, we're hoping for a lot of personal networking to cement the shared culture that we're creating together," says Professor Martin Schalling, coordinator of the Mayo/KI partnership.

What he is referring to is the relaunch that took place two years or so ago, when the Mayo Clinic and Karolinska Institutet decided on a new concept aimed at creating a shared culture and environment through the "Education research and innovation platform".

The two institutions have over two decades' experience of a more traditional research partnership in such scientific fields as metabolism, diabetes and nutrition. Now, however, their collaboration has been extended to psychiatry, neurodegeneration, regenerative medicine, cancer and infection diseases. It also includes themes like education, innovation, library services and administration, all of which will be discussed at the conference.

"You see, it's not all about research," says Professor Schalling, who mentions by way of illustration the joint announcement of vacancies and travel allowances. "What we're trying to do is create a culture in which different professions can move between these different environments."

Professor Schalling is proud of KI's collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the American medical and healthcare organisation that cares for over a million patients each year and that includes both a university and a number of medical faculties such as hospitals, primary, secondary and tertiary health centres and laboratories around the States.

"The Mayo Clinic is reputed to deliver the best healthcare in the USA, indeed in the whole world; they work intimately with education, healthcare and research, and KI has a lot to learn from them," continues Professor Schalling, adding that the Swedes also have much to contribute to the relationship - including knowledge of advanced research into clinical issues.

Now when the Mayo Clinic delegation meets with KI representatives at the conference, it will be at an intense programme in which a dozen different fields are dealt with in parallel. The content is rich, and Professor Schalling promises that the seminars will be of a consistently high quality. He is particularly happy with the programme items for cancer, autoimmune diseases and psychiatry, which have never been dealt with on previous occasions when Sweden has hosted the conferences. He would also like to plug the David H Murdock lecture featuring the specially invited, award-winning lecturer Professor Eric Olson from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"He's a forward-thinking person who'll be giving us a foretaste of the future of biomedical science. I can't wait to hear what this famous scientist has to say."

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Listen to the scientists that started KI's collaboration with Mayo Clinic