New honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet 2010

Published 2010-04-09 00:00. Updated 2014-02-18 14:57Denna sida på svenska

Every year, the Board of Research at Karolinska Institutet awards honorary doctorates to people who have made vital contributions to the university. This year´s honorary doctors will be formally appointed at a ceremony in the Stockholm City Hall on 7 May, when they will receive their hat, diploma and ring as testimony to their new status.

Andrew P. Feinberg

Andrew P. Feinberg, professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA, is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. Professor Feinberg is a highly prominent scientist who has created his own research field: cancer epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of the link between genes and environment and the part this plays in disease. Not only does Professor Feinberg´s work save lives, he personally encourages other researchers to push the boundaries of knowledge in biology and medicine.

Professor Feinberg is currently foreign adjunct professor at Karolinska Institutet, and he has demonstrated a strong interest in research and education at our university. He has also been a devoted contributor to the formation of Karolinska Institutet´s Epicenter, an epigenetic profiling platform at the Centre for Molecular Medicine.

Barbro and Bernard Osher


Barbro and Bernard Osher are to be made honorary doctors of medicine. Barbro Osher is Sweden´s Consul General in San Francisco and chairperson of the Pro Suecia Foundation and The Bernard Osher Foundation established by philanthropist Bernard Osher.

The Oshers have supported Karolinska Institutet for many years, and with their deep and extensive interest in science and culture they have made significant contributions to the university´s development. One outcome of their philanthropic work has been the establishment at Karolinska Institutet of the Osher Centre for Integrative Medicine, which conducts trailblazing research in the interface between physiology and behavioural science.

Over the years, the Oshers have demonstrated great personal dedication and generosity towards Karolinska Institutet in sharing their time and knowledge and their extensive network of contacts. In doing this they have been vital to strengthening Karolinska Institutet´s position in Sweden and the USA.

Anthony Pawson


Anthony (Tony) Pawson, Distinguished Scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, is to be made honorary doctor of medicine.

Professor Pawson studies how cells grow and communicate with each other. He is one of the pioneers of cellular signal transduction, which describes how cellular activity is controlled by chemical signals - a process that causes disease when not functioning properly. Professor Pawson has held his leading position for many years, and even expanded it to other fields of science.

For more than 15 years, professor Pawson has made invaluable contributions to Karolinska Institutet´s scientific endeavours as a member of several research groups and as a source of inspiration. He has demonstrated great generosity and has placed the entire pioneering competence of his group at the disposal of science.

Stefan Persson

Mr Stefan Persson, chairman of H&M, is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. Stefan Persson has actively promoted research and development for many years, and as founder and chairperson of the Erling-Persson Family Foundation he has demonstrated great insight into the conditions of research and the importance of sustained financial support for bold, curiosity-driven science. With the objective of making Stockholm an internationally leading centre of innovation and enterprise, Mr Persson has contributed to the creation of the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. This joint venture between Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design gives students and young scientists opportunities to bring their research results to fruition.

For many years, Mr Persson has shown considerable personal dedication to Karolinska Institutet and has provided sustained support for its research and development. He has also been an important mentor for researchers. In demonstrating his own belief in future opportunities and possessing a unique ability to see the person behind the achievements, he has helped to bring out the beneficial and creative sides of research.

Irma Thesleff

Irma Thesleff, professor at Helsinki University, is to be made honorary doctor of medicine. Professor Thesleff has made unparalleled contributions to science and is a world-leading researcher in developmental biology, a field that concerns the growth and development of organisms. Her research is particularly focused on the development of teeth and the skull and face.

Professor Thesleff has served as a consultant and external evaluator at Karolinska Institutet and has been an initiator of the Nordic symposia, which have been particularly instrumental in enabling young scientists to develop. As faculty opponent she has demonstrated that scientific argumentation can be as captivating as it is enlightening.

Peter Wallenberg Sr.

Dr Peter Wallenberg, prominent industrialist and business leader, will be made honorary doctor of medicine. Aside from his successful career in the corporate sector, Peter Wallenberg has demonstrated a strong interest and deep understanding of the conditions and needs of research in many disciplines.

As long standing chairman of many of the Wallenberg foundations - by far the largest private financiers of scientific research and infrastructure in Sweden - Dr Wallenberg has for many years contributed to the long-term development of research at Karolinska Institutet. With his strategic mind, he has actively contributed to and aimed for future development of research at Karolinska Institutet to achieve highest expertise internationally. In addition to the need for internationalization, Dr Wallenberg has with emphasis argued for the creation of cross-fertilization between different disciplines of science.

Dr Peter Wallenberg´s endeavours combined with the research grants that the Wallenberg foundations have contributed to have been fundamental for the development of research in the field of medicine at Karolinska Institutet.