Published: 27-09-2016 10:18 | Updated: 27-09-2016 10:18

They receive the Grand Silver Medal 2016

The Grand Silver Medal 2016 from Karolinska Institutet is awarded to Anders Ekbom, Ingemar Ernberg, Agneta Nordberg, Bengt Norrving and Elisabeth Olsson in special recognition of the outstanding contributions they have made to medical research and Karolinska Institutet.

Anders Ekbom, Senior Professor of Epidemiology at the Department of Medicine, Solna, has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his exceptional work within several fields of research and his significant contributions to the whole of Karolinska Institutet. Professor Ekbom has played a major part in developing cooperation between KI and Karolinska University Hospital. He started the epidemiological research school for clinicians, creating increased exchanges between clinical operations and research at KI and paving the way for many clinicians to start carrying out research. During the early 2000s, he built up the highly successful Unit for Clinical Epidemiology at the Department of Medicine, Solna. In recent years, he has been a key figure in the introduction of research at the New Karolinska Hospital. Professor Ekbom has been highly active and successful within a number of fields of research, and now has more than 500 publications to his name. For example, his research has been of great significance to the way in which patients with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis are monitored and treated.

Ingemar Ernberg, Senior Professor of Tumour Biology at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology (MTC), has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his invaluable efforts to strengthen and develop the university’s operations. During his nearly 50 years at KI, Professor Ernberg has served as chairman and member of many decision-making and advisory boards and committees at the university. As Head of Department of MTC, he has been a shining example of creative leadership, and has built up a research and development environment that has become a role model for other departments at KI. He has taken the initiative for new research programmes, for example “What is Life?” and “Culture and Brain”, participated in several national organisations and initiative groups, and been extremely active in international contexts. His work has strengthened KI as a university and as a global player, and he has forged many rewarding partnerships. Professor Ernberg has also worked for increased adult education and information dissemination, including through pedagogical collaborative projects with schools, writing scientific literature and popular science books, and taking part in a number of TV and radio programmes. Alongside this, Professor Ernberg has also carried out his own research of the highest international quality, focusing primarily on the EBV virus – how infections and other mechanisms lead to the development of cancer in humans.

Agneta Nordberg. Agneta Nordberg, Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her extraordinary efforts for patients with dementia. She has taken on the great challenges of Alzheimer’s research with tireless energy, contributing towards improved diagnosis and treatment opportunities for these patients. She is a world leader within the field of early diagnosis of dementia, and studies processes in the brain with PET scans. She has won international recognition for this pioneering research, and PET imaging is now approaching clinical implementation. Professor Nordberg has published more than 450 scientific articles, and has received many awards over the years. She leads a successful research team, and has benefited KI greatly through her involvement as a member of several boards and foundations, among them the Nobel Assembly. She is also a skilled clinician, focusing particularly on patients with early memory impairment. Here, she shows great commitment to her patients and is passionate about ensuring that they get the best possible diagnosis and treatment.

Bengt Norrving, former university director and administrative director at KI, has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his outstanding contributions to the university.

Bengt Norrving was vice-chancellor of the University of Health Sciences before it was incorporated into KI in 1998. He was actively involved in the pre-merger talks and helped to make sure the UHS was fully integrated into the KI organisation. Bengt Norrving’s wide experience of the public sector, academia, the departmental sphere and the municipal sector enabled him to bridge in exemplary fashion the cultural differences that existed between the two institutions. On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Research he has, amongst other commissions, led the national ALF (the agreements on medical education and research) negotiations on two occasions. His unique knowledge of the ALF agreement has been vital to the successful collaboration that has existed between KI and Stockholm County Council for many years. During his years at KI, Bengt Norrving was a highly competent and proactive official, and his influence on the development of the university’s core activities remained extremely significant until his retirement in 2014.

Elisabeth Olsson, Professor Emerita of Physiotherapy at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her unparalleled efforts within research and education at Karolinska Institutet. She is regarded as a pioneer within physiotherapy. For eight years (1993-2001) she was Head of Department at the former Department of Physiotherapy at KI, and was subsequently Section Manager and Deputy Head of Department at the former Neurotec department (until 2005). During this period, she helped to develop the subject of physiotherapy, and the field underwent dramatic academic growth. Professor Olsson implemented a three-year bachelor’s level programme and a one-year master’s programme in physiotherapy. She also created different conditions for research in the area and successfully established combined senior lectureships for physiotherapists together with Sweden's first professorship in physiotherapy. The number of physiotherapists with third-cycle education grew significantly, and the profession began to be engaged within central administrative functions at all levels. Professor Olsson has been involved not only in educational issues and on boards and programme committees, among others as representative of the teaching staff on the university board, but also as a representative of the university as an expert for many external inquiries and committees. In recent years she has successfully resumed her own research within motion analysis now focusing on new training and evaluation techniques for the elderly, and this project will now continue following Professor Olsson’s retirement.