Published: 27-03-2017 14:15 | Updated: 29-03-2017 10:19

Two new honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet 2017

Francis L. Delmonico and Margaret A. Liu have been appointed honorary doctors of Karolinska Institutet (KI), Sweden. Dr. Delmonico is honored for his work with the promotion of ethical organ donations, and Dr. Liu for her frontline research and education within the field of DNA-based vaccines. They will have their doctorates formally conferred at the university’s traditional ceremony in the Stockholm City Hall on 12 May 2017.

Every year, the Board of Research at KI confers honorary doctorates to a few individuals for their vital scientific achievements or significant contributions to the university or humanity at large.

Francis L. Delmonico

The title of Honorary Doctor of Medicine (MDhc) has been awarded to Francis L. Delmonico, M.D., Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Chief Medical Officer, New England Organ Bank, Boston, U.S.A.

Dr. Francis L. Delmonico is globally recognized as a forefront figure in the promotion of ethical organ donation and his work to stop organ trade, transplant tourism and trafficking in human organ donors. Under his leadership, policy documents have been produced in international consensus to ensure the safety and well-being of living donors, as well as upholding ethical standards regarding organ donation from deceased.

Dr. Delmonico was a founding leader of the Declaration of Istanbul in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) direction that member states protect the poor and vulnerable from being exploited for their organs. He is appointed advisor to the WHO, and in this role Dr. Delmonico has been crucial for the global implementation of WHO Guiding Principles of practice for organ donation and transplantation. He is Past President of leading organizations within his field, and he has been appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Besides his international work in ethics and public policies on organ transplantation, Dr. Delmonico is widely published in the area of donor program management. Since 2012, he is an external advisor to a donation program within the Stockholm County Council, contributing to an increase in the number of organ donations in the region. Simultaneously, Dr. Delmonico has collaborated with a newly formed research group at KI, focusing on the development of new approaches to deceased and living organ donation.

Margaret A. Liu

The title of Honorary Doctor of Medicine (MDhc) has been awarded to Margaret A. Liu, M.D., D. Sc. (hon.) Global Health, Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics Consultant, ProTherImmune, and Adjunct Professor at University of California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The scientific work of Dr. Margaret A. Liu has yielded fundamental discoveries regarding the interplay between gene expression and immune responses, particularly important for vaccine and immunotherapeutic purposes. Dr. Liu, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, was the first to show the possibility of gene-based immunization against infections such as influenza, tuberculosis, HPV, and HIV in animal models. She was also behind the very first trial of a gene-based influenza vaccine in humans, in efforts to develop a vaccine that will protect against different strains. Her many publications in highly regarded journals have set off a global effort to develop gene-based vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases as well as cancers and autoimmune diseases in humans and animals.

Dr. Liu is recognized as a key founder of the field of DNA-based vaccines – in addition to pioneering bi-specific antibodies, a technology that has resulted in new treatments for cancer. She was recognized by Discover Magazine as one of the “Fifty Most Important Women Scientists”, is the recipient of a number of honorary lectureships, and has advised many global health organizations, including the WHO and being Senior Advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

During the last fifteen years, Dr. Liu has been working closely together with researchers at KI, and has held different positions as a visiting professor at our university. Her role as mentor, reviewer and inspiring tutor within the doctoral education at KI cannot be overestimated. Dr. Margaret Liu has, among many other things, also played a prominent role in graduate and doctoral education within her field through her involvement in European community networks, including EUROPRISE and EAVI. She has also been active as a researcher and advisor within the private sector; currently she is the President of the International Society for Vaccines and runs her own consultant business alongside her academic career.

Facts about Honorary Doctors

Academics who have made a palpable difference when it comes to research at KI by means of scientific achievement or otherwise, may be appointed Honorary Doctors at KI. It is also possible to confer honorary doctorates to individuals who have not received PhDs by passing formal examinations but who have nevertheless advanced the cause of research and development. However, certain restrictions apply. For example, a Doctor of Medicine at a Swedish University cannot be appointed Honorary Doctor of Medicine at another Swedish university.