Published: 21-12-2020 09:19 | Updated: 06-02-2024 16:28

MTC Awards 2020

MTC awards 2020, is presented to the following recipients from the Head of Department Susanne Nylén.

Profile picture of Kerstin Karlsson
Kerstin Karlsson Photo: n/a

The MTCer of the year: Kerstin Karlsson

The MTCer of the year is a someone who performs assigned duties with great competence, commitment, accuracy and joy. This person has also an inherent sense of service and no task is to insignificant to perform. The awardee contributes to good team spirit and is a great colleague both inside and outside MTC. The MTC of the Year is Kerstin Karlsson.

profile picture of Kim Vestö
Kim Vestö Photo: n/a

MTC's pedagogical award 2020: Kim Vestö

MTC's pedagogical award 2020 goes to a person with great dedication to teaching and with an in-depth knowledge of several subjects taught at the department. His great focus on students and interest in pedagogy is exemplary and therefore this year's award goes to Kim Vestö.

This year's MTC young investigator: Ben Murrell

This year's MTC young investigator is Ben Murrell, who in a matter of a few months this spring initiated a dynamic Covid-19 research program spanning multiple collaborative projects, many of which have already resulted in published papers. Having obtained a sizable EU grant, he quickly established tools and technologies to address critical questions related to Covid-19 research. Drawing from his prior experience in studying neutralizing antibody responses against viruses and his expertise in deep sequence analyses, statistics and computational biology, Ben Murell has built up a highly productive research group that is much in demand in the fight against the current pandemic.

Profile picture of Leo Hanke
Leo Hanke Photo: n/a

The 2020 MTC Paper of the year: “An alpaca nanobody neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 by blocking receptor interaction”, first author Leo Hanke

The 2020 MTC Paper of the year has been downloaded more than 78.000 times during the last three months, making it one of the most accessed papers this year. In the face of a looming pandemic several labs at MTC and KI focused their efforts and used their unique technical skillsets at finding ways to combat Sars-CoV-2. With remarkable speed they were able to produce specific nanobodies that block the entry of the virus into host cells offering a potential therapeutic opportunity against COVID-19. The MTC paper of the year  is “An alpaca nanobody neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 by blocking receptor interaction” Nature Communications (2020, Sept, 11(1):4420) and awarded to first author Leo Hanke.

Classic studio portrait.
Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam Photo: Erik Flyg

The scientist of the year award 2020: Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam

The scientist of the year award this year goes to a true all-rounder. She shoulders numerous responsibilities for the advancement of science. She is a member of the Nobel Committee and an outspoken member of the Presidents' Advisory Board (Rektorsråd) at KI, shedding light of basic researchers’ situation. During these turbulent times of COVID, she has been providing essential information to the Swedish public through the mass media. As a testament to her standing in the field, she has been engaged as expert by FoHM and was appointed a member of the expert group on COVID-19 by the prestigious Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (KVA), where she also is a member. She has also been instrumental in the recruitment of younger PIs to KI, especially to MTC. Many of these have flourished and have set up or are starting up their own labs. Through all of this, she has been diligent in fostering good science in her own lab, and generating research of quality, as seen in her publications. It is our honor to present the scientist of the year award to Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam.

Jan Albert
Jan Albert Photo: John Sennett

MTC special award for extra ordinary contribution to the 3rd task – outreach to society: Jan Albert

Since the early spring of 2020, we have seen him confidently and calmly share his knowledge with the entire Swedish people. He has spent countless hours in the media, recording lectures and leading KI's Covid-19 group and served as an expert for FoHM. We at MTC are proud of his efforts and in through this award, want to show our appreciation for everything he has done. Jan Albert is the recipient of the 2020 special outreach award.


Susanne Nylén Principal Researcher