Published: 11-04-2011 00:00 | Updated: 08-07-2014 11:44

New honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet 2011

Karolinska Institutet´s board of research has appointed six new honorary doctors, who will have their doctorates formally conferred at a ceremony in the Stockholm City Hall on 13 May 2011, when they will receive their hat, diploma and ring from the Dean of Research as testimony to their status. Every year, Karolinska Institutet awards honorary doctorates to people who have made vital contributions to the university.

Margaret Gatz

Professor Margaret Gatz is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. Her ongoing research has influenced an entire generation of scientists in the fields of ageing and the epidemiology of neurodegenerative disease, psychiatric epidemiology and clinical psychology.

Margaret Gatz has been a foreign adjunct professor at Karolinska Institutet since 2000, and has devoted many years to the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Ageing (SATSA). It is to her credit that SATSA came to include measures of depression and dementia, which led to the Swedish dementia study based on the twin registry.

That study alone has generated over 100 publications and entirely new knowledge of how heredity and environment influence the risk of Alzheimer´s disease and other dementia diseases. Altogether Professor Gatz has co-authored over 130 articles on a wide range of topics with other researchers from Karolinska Institutet.

Katsuhiko Mikoshiba

Katsuhiko Mikoshiba, head of the Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan, is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. Professor Mikoshiba discovered IP3 receptor, a key calcium regulator, and found its importance in cellular activity and improper function causes diseases. He focuses primarily on calcium signalling in connection with neurobiological activity. His research is widely discussed and cited, and he has received many prizes and distinctions. He has been a foreign adjunct professor at Karolinska Institutet for seven years.

Professor Mikoshiba has been a key figure in the forging of contacts between Karolinska Institutet and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, one of Japan´s most cutting-edge neuroscience institutes. RIKEN is currently setting up a research school of the same kind that already exists within the neuroscience field with Karolinska Institutet and the National Institutes of Health as partners. For many years, Professor Mikoshiba has paid annual visits to Karolinska Institutet, delivered lectures and held meetings with a number of the university´s neuroscientists. His laboratory at RIKEN has shared scientific expertise and materials as part of its collaboration with several groups at Karolinska Institutet.

Jonas and Robert af Jochnick

Jonas and Robert af Jochnick are to be made honorary doctors of medicine. The work done by the af Jochnick brothers has made a significant impact on medical science and their deep sense of citizenship has helped provide children and young people around the world with better education and healthcare.

Jonas and Robert af Jochnick´s philanthropic activities were formalised in 2004 with the establishment of the Jochnick Foundation, which has since actively supported and financed a number of projects focusing on the young, education and global health. Entrepreneurship is held in particular high regard by the brothers, who often give priority to projects designed to help people help themselves and to support personal development.

For many years, the af Jochnick brothers have also been involved in research into the most serious and prevalent chronic diseases and supported young clinical researchers at Karolinska Institutet, such as at the Centre for Molecular Medicine. They have also taken particular interest in the ageing brain and dementia diseases, and become engaged in the development of geriatric care. The brothers have made it possible for a professorship in cognitive neuroscience with a specialisation in cognitive ageing to be created, thus protecting Karolinska Institutet´s leading role in this vital field of inquiry.

Iréne Lederhausen

Iréne Lederhausen is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. She has done much to promote research and highly specialised healthcare with deep commitment and impressive drive.

Iréne Lederhausen traces her dedication to the seriously ill back to her daughter, whose cystic fibrosis prompted Ms Lederhausen to train as a nurse and eventually establish the Ronald McDonald Children´s Fund, an independent foundation that supports research into paediatric medicine. She has also been project manager for the Ronald McDonald House at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, which has been providing patients receiving highly specialised care and their families with accommodation close to the hospital for the past 16 years.

As project manager for the Ronald McDonald Children´s Fund and the Ronald McDonald House, Ms Lederhausen has selflessly contributed to research and development at Karolinska Institutet. Her initiative is one of the first in Sweden whereby private companies help to finance research and development in the public sector. By inspiring many other companies to follow suit, she has helped to foster closer, more productive collaborations between the country´s key institutions.

Märit Rausing

Märit Rausing is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. She has been deeply involved and dedicated to the development of the Rausing family´s philanthropic endeavours from the start, activities that for many years have been generously supporting international organisations and scientific research devoted to improving peoples health and life circumstances.

Karolinska Institutet has benefited from the Rausing family´s interest in science through the "Märit and Hans Rausing Breast Cancer Initiative". This has provided the resources needed for the university to launch the Karma Study - one of the world´s largest breast cancer studies - the aim of which is to reduce the number of women suffering and dying from breast cancer.

The Rausing family´s dedication to research gives Karolinska Institutet new opportunities to make breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment for the millions of women who live with, or who will suffer from breast cancer.