Karolinska Institutet awards medals to people who have made special contributions to support KI. The medals are available in three categories: gold medal, grand silver medal and silver medal. Medals are awarded in connection with various academic ceremonies. The nominations are reviewed by the President, the Vice President, the University Director, the Academic Vice President for Research, the Academic Vice President for Doctoral Education, and the Academic Vice President for Higher Education.

Medals 2021

Portrait of Maria Masucci
Maria Masucci. Photo: N/A

Silver Medal

Maria Masucci, Professor of Virology at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, is awarded the Silver Medal for her particularly significant contribution to the subject areas of virology, tumour biology and immunology. Maria holds many senior commissions of trust both in Sweden and abroad and has played an important role for Karolinska Institutet on many levels.

Maria Masucci's research has a clear translational focus and she has collaborated with several clinics to establish innovative treatment for lymphoma caused by the Epstein-Barr virus after organ transplants.

In addition to her research, Maria has, among other things, been Vice-Dean for research (2002-2006) where she was responsible for a number of important issues. Among other things, she initiated the first inventory of core facilities, developed a new model for activity reporting and contributed greatly to closer collaboration between Karolinska Hospital and Karolinska Institutet. As Vice-President for International Affairs (2014-2017), she played an important role in further developing KI's contacts with the outside world, including those with the Ming Wai Lau Centre in Hong Kong, several universities in China and Makerere University in Uganda.

Portrait of Christina Helging Opava.
Christina Helging Opava. Photo: N/A

Christina Opava, Professor Emerita at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, receives the Silver Medal for her extensive and lasting efforts in the development of both education and research at KI. Her research has contributed to significant developments in the understanding of training for people with rheumatic disorders.

Christina Opava has proven, above all, through her early studies, that when a person has rheumatoid arthritis physical activity and training have a good effect and are not harmful, something that was groundbreaking at the time. She made significant contributions in advancing the knowledge within physiotherapy with a focus on rheumatology. Her research in physiotherapy has led to new models being developed as well as changed practices with regard to training and rehabilitation methods for patients with other rheumatic joint disorders.

In the field of education, Christina's wider commitment has had a significant impact at KI. She has, among other things, been chair of the Graduate School in Health Sciences and served as Director of the Strategic Research Area of Health Care Sciences (SFO-V). She has moved developments forward and enabled junior researchers to create international networks. Christina has extensive teaching experience and is an appreciated lecturer who is often invited by clinicians, professional organizations and patient associations to talk about evidence-based measures in her own research area. She has also worked with course development and course management as well as course literature and other teaching materials.

Portrait of Åke Rökaeus.
Åke Rökaeus. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Åke Rökaeus, former senior lecturer at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, receives the Silver Medal for his excellent efforts in the teaching of biochemistry at Karolinska Institutet. Over the years, Åke has taught thousands of students, primarily on the medical programme, but also in other educational programmes.

Åke Rökaeus was Director of Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics for almost 20 years. His guiding principle was a structured education of high quality with the student at the centre. Åke developed a large number of programme designs, teaching materials and new solutions for the teaching of medical biochemistry. At the same time, he took on a major teaching assignment through his commitment to the students through seminars, lectures and other teaching elements. He strived always to develop and improve his courses primarily within the medical programme, but he has also been involved with other courses and was active in a number of central teaching bodies. When the new six-year medical programme was launched in autumn 2021, Åke Rökaeus continued to contribute valuable skills and experience, even though he had formally retired.

With a genuine and major interest in research, Åke Rökaeus always kept up to date with the latest research findings. Through his broad expertise and solid research background, Åke managed to enthuse his students and made them understand that good basic scientific knowledge is key to success in their continued studies and future professional practice.

Portrait of Jan Ygge.
Jan Ygge. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Jan Ygge, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, is awarded the Silver Medal for his excellent research efforts in ocular motor function. He has also contributed greatly to both teaching and pedagogical development at KI.

Jan Ygge's clinical research in ocular motor function was established in the early 1990s during a postdoc residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. There he studied eye motor disorders as a result of diseases and damage to the eye muscles and brain. The subject area fits well with Ygge's dual competencies in neuroanatomy and eye diseases. He brought new and advanced methodology for eye motor measurements to Sweden and set up an eye movement operation at the Bernadotte laboratories at Huddinge Hospital. Marianne Bernadotte Centrum is today among the foremost laboratories in the world.

Jan Ygge has also been a highly appreciated teacher who early developed computerized teaching and other teaching methods in his subject area. He has also been very active in the internationalization of KI and spread knowledge about the eye and its diseases to the public, including through the book "The Eye and Sight".

Gunnar Grant, professor emeritus at the Department of Neuroscience
Gunnar Grant, professor emeritus at the Department of Neuroscience Photo: Privat

Grand Silver Medal

Gunnar Grant, professor emeritus at the Department of Neuroscience, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his engagement on behalf of KI and for his outstanding contributions to anatomy education.

For many years, Gunnar Grant was head of the anatomy department at Karolinska Institutet, where he further developed and renewed the anatomy curriculum. Meanwhile, he directed an active laboratory with focus on somatosensory mechanisms of the nervous system, both in the spinal cord and within the neural systems that forward information to the cerebellum and beyond.

Although originally from Karolinska Institutet, he defended his MD/PhD thesis in Uppsala and returned to KI in 1970 as a professor. In 1993, during KI’s departmental restructuring, Gunnar Grant worked to integrate anatomy into the Department of Neuroscience and to strengthen interaction and research collaboration with neuroscientists from a variety of disciplines.

He has also been heavily engaged in the historical preservation of KI’s unique anatomy collections at the Hagströmer Library and other locations, ensuring that current and future generations have continued access to these unique items.

Rune Toftgård, professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition
Rune Toftgård, professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Rune Toftgård, professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his outstanding contributions to Karolinska Institutet and to the field of basic and translational cancer research for close to four decades. Throughout his career, Rune Toftgård has worked in a tireless and dedicated manner toward KI´s long-term goals, and he has contributed heavily into making KI’s cancer research a major international tour-de-force.

Toftgård defended his PhD thesis in toxicology at KI in 1982 and became professor in environmental toxicology in 1992. He has held several important positions within and outside of KI including as a member of both the Nobel Assembly and the Nobel Committee, and successfully led and developed the CIMED initiative at the South Campus and the strategic research area cancer in the StratCan “SFO” network. He has also initiated and fostered a string of international collaborations with European and US institutions.

In his own research Toftgård has defined interactions, overall regulation, and functional importance of multiple proteins within the Hedgehog signaling pathway. He has also determined how dysregulation of this pathway contributes to cancer development, primarily in the skin but also in other cancer types. In addition, he has used innovative techniques to identify and describe novel stem cell populations in the skin. His findings bear significant relevance to both basic and clinical science.

Medals 2010-2020

Medals 2020

Silver Medal

Kristina Alexanderson, professor of social insurance at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience was awarded the medal for her excellent contribution to the development of social insurance research and competence at KI. She has placed KI firmly on the map as a leading university in the field, nationally as well as internationally.

Professor Alexanderson has developed an interactive partnership with clinics and other central actors in the field and has sat on several government commissions as an expert. She works closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

In addition to this, Professor Alexanderson has an extensive international presence and has played a key role in placing scientific research in the field of insurance medicine on the map. During her years at KI she has also developed and run Master’s courses on insurance medicine, mostly for specially trained doctors.

Roland Möllby, professor emeritus at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology (MTC) was awarded the medal for his excellent work over several decades building up KI’s biosafety standards to the high level they now maintain. This has been a foresightful and incredibly valuable pioneering endeavour that has impacted not only KI but also biosafety in Sweden and around the world. 

Professor Möllby’s interest in biosafety was piqued at the National Bacteriological Laboratory  (later the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control), where he was placed in charge of laboratory diagnostics of particularly infectious bacteria in Sweden in a special “risk laboratory”. Since then he has been the Swedish representative on the WHO’s Biosafety Advisory Group and led the drafting of the first Swedish Work Environment Authority regulations on biosafety in the laboratory.

When the MTC was instituted in 1993, Roland Möllby was chairman of the department’s work environment committee, a post he held until 2015. He also developed a computerised knowledge check for laboratory safety for all new employees through KI’s Environment and Security Unit; it is now used across KI, including at Biomedicum.

Grand Silver Medal

Ove Hagelin, former Director of the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library, Karolinska Institutet, is an undisputed world authority on older writings, particularly in the field of medicine and natural history. He is awarded the medal for saving and cataloguing priceless book collections through his efforts in founding the Hagströmer Library at KI.

During his time as director of the Hagströmer Library from its opening in 1997 until his retirement in 2013, Hagelin helped collect nearly 40,000 books, the majority of which were published before 1870. Hagelin’s discovery of the 17th century work De motu cordis by William Harvey at the Swedish Society of Medicine in 1986 triggered the chain of events that eventually led to the founding of the library.

Richard J. Heald, Professor, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, United Kingdom, was awarded the Grand Silver Medal for introducing a new surgical method called Total Mesorectal Excision (TME), a surgical technique that has dramatically improved the prognosis of patients with rectal cancer. Heald, a surgeon specialised in colorectal cancer, has thus contributed to saving lives and reducing human suffering to an extent that  few living surgeons have come close to.

Richard Heald has continued to develop TME and been heavily involved in teaching the method to colleagues, including at KI.

Hans Jörnvall, Professor, KI’s Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, receives the medal for his outstanding contributions to Karolinska Institutet and to the field of protein analysis over decades. Jörnvall is a pioneer of this field – he early introduced new methods in Sweden and contributed to many other researchers’ success.

Jörnvall’s own research has focused on the primary structure - the order of amino acids - in  protein. For many years, Hans Jörnvall has also played a central role in KI’s work with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, as Secretary-General of the Nobel Assembly and Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine in the years 2000-2008.

Lars Olson, Professor, KI’s Department of Neuroscience, is awarded the medal for strong contributions, as a researcher and teacher in neurobiology for more than half a century, to Karolinska Institutet’s position as a world-leading university. His research has primarily concerned neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Parkinson’s, as well as memory, spinal cord injuries and Nogo nerve cell signalling, which is linked to the brain’s plasticity.

Lars Olson has also made significant contributions as an educator – in popular science lectures, articles, books and even theatrical performances and museum exhibitions. He is one of the founders of Hjärnfonden, the Swedish Brain Foundation, which distributes SEK 60 million annually for brain research.

Nancy Pedersen, Professor, KI’s Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her many years of work with the Swedish Twin Registry, which is now the largest of its kind in the world with information about more than 100,000 twins. Early on, Pedersen recognised the registry’s unique possibilities for studying the relative importance of genetic influences (heritability) and the environment.

Pedersen commenced a successful research career and laid the foundation for the reputation that the Swedish Twin Registry has today globally. Nancy Pedersen eventually became the director of the registry and is currently a member of its steering committee. Her research concerns for example how heritability and the environment affect personal characteristics, risk of medical and mental illness and aging.

Medals 2019

Grand Silver Medal

Anita Aperia, senior professor, Department of Women's and Children's Health, has conducted research characterised by creativity, quality, and productivity. She is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her significant contributions at Karolinska Institutet and for medical research at large. Aperia was appointed professor in pediatrics at KI in 1982 and is still in charge, now as professor emerita, of an active research group at the university. She has written over 300 articles that have been cited near 13 000 times.

In her early research, Anita Aperia studied kidney function limitations in newborns. Her findings have contributed to the way newborns are treated when suffering from severe fluid loss. She then continued with studies on how dopamine affects kidney function - the first description of the signal mechansims of dopamine outside the brain.

Furthermore, Anita Aperia has been the director of KI’s medical training programme with a research focus (LäFo), member of The Nobel Assembly as well as Nobel Committee, director of the pediatrics clinic at KI 1987–2000, and president of the Royal Swedish Academy’s department of medical sciences.  

Bertil Hamberger, professor emeritus, Department of Medicine and Surgery, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his achievements as a researcher, teacher, director, and leader within medical research and education for many years. His international commitments have been crucial in contributing to making Karolinska Institutet the world leading research institution on endocrine surgery it is today.

For almost half a century, Bertil Hamberger has worked for KI and Karolinska University Hospital. His grand commitment has contributed to the success of the university through several decades. Hamberger has been involved in basic as well as clinical research. As emeritus he keeps being an active researcher within the field of endocrine surgery, focusing on adrenal gland tumours. 

Throughout his long career, Bertil Hamberger has contributed to strengthen the trademark of KI worldwide. His achievements within endocrine surgery have been outstanding and is in large the reason why KI today is regarded world leading in that specific field.

Sten Grillner, senior professor, Department of Neuroscience. Over a thirty-year period, Grillner’s work has revolutionized the study of the neural circuitry in the spinal cord, which is responsible for generating the stereotypic motor patterns characteristic of locomotor behaviour. He is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for outstanding contributions to Karolinska Institutet and to the field of neuroscience.

Sten Grillner has served the Karolinska Institutet at many levels and been one the architects of the scientific landscape at KI. Grillner’s work is now textbook material and he is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of studies on neural circuits and systems neuroscience. He has been the director of the Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology that has been one of the world leading research laboratories in neuroscience.

Grillner has profoundly advanced our understanding of the mechanisms of spinal network function, linking in a direct way, circuit function to behaviour. It is fair to say that Sten Grillner has been the neuroscience face of Karolinska Institutet and Sweden at large internationally.

Mai-Lis Hellenius, professor, Department of Medicine, Solna, is one of the leading experts on public health in Sweden. Her work on how lifestyle affects public health is wide, educational, and popular scientific. Hellénius is awarded The Grand Silver Medal for her groundbreaking achievement in establishing Sweden’s first lifestyle reception facility as well as her exceptional contributions as educationist on public health.

Mai-Lis Hellénius has warmly and enthusiastically shared her research results through numerous lectures, books, debates, interviews, and award-winning cookbooks. She has thereby contributed to the public knowledge and interest in diet and exercise in particular. Her contributions have stimulated the public debate on sedentary lifestyle and diets.

Furthermore, Hellénius has largely contributed to developments in the clinical area, especially through her groundbreaking work in establishing the first lifestyle reception facility in Solna, Sweden. In the 1980’s she was also one of the first doctors in the world to write a prescription for physical activity. 

Silver Medal

Björn Klinge, senior professor of dentistry, is awarded the medal for his long-standing work on increasing the understanding of the importance of oral health for the well-being of the body. His hard work in making "the mouth a part of the body" is a particularly good contribution for KI and for dental care in general.

During his time as head of the department of dental medicine, Björn built up a collaboration between dental and medical research groups, which has contributed to the fact that dentistry at KI now has a well-developed collaboration with medical research groups, which also marks KI's dental research at national level.

Björn Klinge has also participated in a number of governmental agencies and investigations and has been very active internationally.

His greatest contribution, however, is as a people educator in dental health issues. By participating in "Question the Doctor" TV4's dental week in "Malou after ten", among other things, he has become one of Sweden's "national dentists".

Lena von Koch, senior professor of health research, is awarded the medal for particularly good efforts in the development of education and research in health care science.

In her research, Lena von Koch has focused in particular on measures to provide patients with co-creation and responsibility for their own post-stroke rehabilitation, and has developed and evaluated measures to increase participation in the daily and community life of persons with neurological disabilities and their relatives.

Her research group has worked both nationally and internationally and has conducted intervention studies in both high-income countries like Sweden, and in several low-income countries in Africa. There, among other things, her research group has developed and conducted studies that show that post-stroke rehabilitation support using simple mobile phone technology has a good effect.

At KI, Lena von Koch has shown a great commitment to education and has developed courses on both undergraduate and graduate level. She has held several management assignments and, as an authority in her subject area "Development and evaluation of rehabilitation measures for persons with neurological functional variations", has held many assessment assignments both nationally and internationally.

Medals 2018

Grand Silver Medal

Laura Fratiglioni, professor, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, is one of the leading international researchers in epidemiology of aging. She is awarded the medal for her outstanding contributions to Karolinska Institutet in science, doctoral education and leadership and innovation. With her strong clinical and scientific background, Laura Fratiglioni is often sought out as an expert in aging and she has strongly contributed to the international profile of KI in this field. Her work has contributed to the use of epidemiologic methods in agin research. Thereto, Laura Fratiglioni is devoted to communicating her research findings to the general public.

Bertil Fredholm, professor emeritus, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, is awarded for his outstanding contributions to research and doctoral education in the area of pharmacology. Bertil Fredholm is one of KI’s most internationally acclaimed researchers. His discoveries are related to the molecule adenosine and its receptors, and he was among the first to describe ways in which caffein affects the body.

Bertil Fredholm has been a member of the Nobel Committee for eighteen years, including two as its chairperson. He has also devoted a great deal of time to teaching, and was a highly regarded teacher at bot the undergraduate and doctoral levels.

Håkan Eriksson, professor emeritus, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, is awarded the medal for his exceptional contributions to KI and to Swedish medical research. Håkan Eriksson is distinguished by a strong and innovative research career within reproduction biology, but also his extensive contributions to KI and to Swedish research policy.

For fifteen years he was the Director of Studies at the Department of Medical Chemistry, and a driving force behind efforts to strengthen the clinical connection of the education. His work was of crucial importance, particular during the 1990s, when KI underwent a period of great change. The result of these changes included more efficient processes and higher quality research, education and collaboration throughout KI.

Silver Medal

Fredrik Brolund, lecturer at the Department of clinical physiology, is awarded the medal for his long-standing and committed work on the construction and development of the Biomedical Analyst program at KI.

One of Fredrik Brolund's most significant efforts is the development of the program's internationalization, in particular his initiation and cooperation with the Lisbon School of Health Technology. It is a collaboration that has been going on for more than ten years with bilateral exchanges of both teachers and students. The collaboration has, among other things, resulted in the fact that some 20 students from Lisbon returned to Sweden after the exchange studies and settled here. Fredrik has a great interest in pedagogical issues and works continuously to improve the quality of teaching situations, always with the students' best interests in mind. He has substantially contributed to the positvie development of the Biomedical Analyst program.

Lotta Widén Holmquist, senior professor of physiotherapy at the Department of Neurobiology, is awarded the medal for her outstanding contributions to the development of research and education in physiotherapy.

Lotta Widen Holmquist has in her research developed an organizational model for early discharge with continued rehabilitation in the home after a stroke, which has been evaluated and implemented in many parts of the world. Her research in physiotherapy has led to new models and changed practice for training and rehabilitation also of patients with other neurological diseases and injuries, eg multiple sclerosis. Lotta Widén Holmqvist has also been instrumental in the development of the interdisciplinary research area neuroepidemiology and health and medical research at KI.

Medals 2017

Grand Silver Medal

Marc Bygdeman, professor emeritus at the Department for Women's and Children´s Health, has been awarded The Grand Silver Medal for outstanding contributions to research, education and healthcare and for significant involvement in the World Health Organisation’s work in fertility and family planning.

He has dedicated his entire professional life to developing safer and more effective methods of abortion. During this time he has also worked unstintingly for the introduction and defence of the current abortion legislation.

Under professor Bygdeman’s leadership, research at Karolinska Institutet’s WHO centre has resulted in development of the medically-induced abortion, which today is well-established and is preferred by more than 90 percent of Swedish women as it minimises the risks compared with surgical intervention. Every year, about 50,000 women around the world die as the result of unsafe abortions. Effective, safe and accepted abortion methods are essential for reproductive health. Changed abortion methods, which are more accessible, accepted and safe, thus have enormous importance for women’s health.

Tore Curstedt, associate professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for the work he and his colleague Bengt Robertson, who died in 2008, have done on their innovative treatment for preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). RDS has been the leading cause of death among preterm babies for decades. It has been known since the 1950s that premature babies die due to the lack of surfactant, the substance which surrounds the inside of the lung alveoli. Attempts to synthesize the substance started in the 1960s, but these failed. However, when Pathologist Bengt Robertson and Clinical Chemist Tore Curstedt joined forces, they managed to extract the active ingredients from porcine lungs and develop a drug, Curosurf, which is used in more than 90 countries and is estimated to have saved more than half a million preterm babies.

Tore Curstedt has together with a colleague also developed a synthetic surfactant which is in clinical trials in United States and Europe. Unlike Curosurf the synthetic drug can be produced in large amounts and enables future treatment of adults suffering of lung diseases associated with inactive surfactant.

Silver Medal

Lars-Olof Wahlund, senior professor in geriatrics, receives the medal for the major impact his work as a teacher, clinician and researcher has had on KI’s leading position in the field of dementia research. His scientific productivity is high, with in the region of 450 publications, and he is a leader within KI in the field of magnetic resonance-based research into dementia disorders.

Eva Mattsson, professor emerita in physiotherapy, receives the medal for her distinguished contribution to doctoral and higher education and research at Karolinska Institutet. Throughout the course of her professional life, she has been an eminent researcher who has influenced clinical praxis, as well as a forceful proponent of quality in first cycle, second cycle and doctoral education, not only in KI’s physiotherapy programme, but also within KI as a whole.

Medals 2016

Gold Medal

Torsten Wiesel studied medicine and began his a career in neurophysiology at Karolinska Institutet. In 1955, he transferred to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. In 1973 he was appointed chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, between 1991 and 1998 he was president of Rockefeller University, New York. In 1981, Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their innovative studies of visual sensory processing.

From 2000 to 2009 Professor Wiesel was director of the Human Frontiers Science Programme in Strasbourg, and from 1994 to 2004 chair of the American Academy of Science’s human rights committee. He is also the patron and an honorary member of the Young Academy of Sweden. As a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, he has also participated actively in its work.

Torsten Wiesel has made many exceptional contributions to Sweden’s scientific community in general and to research at KI in particular. He has led advisory boards for the Department of Neuroscience and for the related strategic research area. In 2011 he carried out an analysis of KI’s research organisation and expressed opinions on it that remain relevant and the source of much discussion.

Rune Fransson began his career at Karolinska Institutet in 1978 as financial director of the then School of Dentistry. In 1983 he was recruited to a central position as budget manager. In 1991 he ascended to the post of assistant administrative manager, becoming university director in 1995. After many years in this position he was made director in charge of infrastructure, innovations and overall financing in 2007.

Rune Fransson led the KI93 project, a radical reorganisation of the university that, amongst other things, reduced the number of departments from 150 to just over 30. This structure has remained essentially unchanged to this day and has made an invaluable contribution to KI’s strength and competitiveness. In the 1990s, during Rune Fransson’s leadership, KI introduced a cutting-edge and creative innovation process that has proved indispensible for researchers seeking to commercialise their discoveries ever since.

Rune Fransson’s contributions have been absolutely crucial to the new building projects underway on the two KI campuses. In Solna, there is the new world-class research centre Biomedicum, which will bring together 1,600 people in an innovative research environment; and in Huddinge the Neo block, which is located next to the hospital so that researchers can work with pressing disease issues and bring their results and improved treatment methods more quickly to where they are needed.

Grand Silver Medal

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, 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.

Silver Medal

Gunnar Lennerstrand, professor emeritus, received the Silver Medal for his pioneering work over many years in ophthalmic research.

Elisabeth Kjellén, senior lecturer received the Silver Medal for her significant contributions to biomedical analyst education.

Medals 2015

Grand Silver Medal

Gunnel Biberfeld, professor emerita of infectious disease control, especially clinical immunology, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her outstanding contribution to research and doctoral education in the area of HIV at Karolinska Institutet. She is one of the pioneers in HIV research, at KI and globally. At a very early stage, she realised the urgent need for research on HIV, and since the beginning of the HIV pandemic she has remained active in this area of research. She has fostered a generation of young HIV researchers at Karolinska Institutet, of which many are now leaders in the field. Gunnel Biberfeld's research into HIV focuses on a global perspective, especially considering her clinical vaccine studies in Tanzania. The research collaboration with Tanzania also includes a comprehensive doctoral program. In addition, Gunnel Biberfeld's studies on the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child in Dar es Salaam, shows the importance of using antiretroviral therapy during both pregnancy and the postnatal period. The results of these studies have formed the basis for Tanzania's national guidelines for the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child, and they have also contributed to WHO's recommendations in the area.

Britta Wahren, professor emerita of clinical virology, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for her outstanding contribution to research and doctoral education in the area of HIV and cancer research at Karolinska Institutet. Britta Wahren is one of the pioneers in HIV research and particularly in designing HIV vaccines, at KI and globally. At a very early stage, she realised the urgent need for research on immune responses and protection against HIV. She has fostered a generation of young researchers at Karolinska Institutet, of which many are now leaders in the field. Britta Wahren was the first person in the world to show that a genetic vaccine that expresses early genes/antigens of HIV could induce new cell mediated responses to HIV in already infected individuals. These finding were taken forward to perform experimental and clinical HIV vaccine studies against the many types of HIV that prevail in the world. She designed novel genetic HIV vaccines that induce cell-mediated and humoral immunity of prolonged nature in healthy individuals. Together with the National Institutes of Health and the US Army, a new prime-boost vaccine schedule has been proposed for prophylactic vaccination against HIV. Britta Wahren´s focus has been on translational research, from molecular studies of HIV, tumour viral immunogens and immune responses to the development of novel vaccine prototypes to HIV.

S Gunnar O Johansson, professor emeritus of clinical immunology, especially allergology, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his outstanding contribution to the area of allergy research. He identified, in 1967, together with Hans Bennich, a new class of immunoglobulins, IgE, and showed that these are associated with allergic responses. He has established and grown the research area of allergy at Karolinska Institutet, and his successful research has contributed to making Karolinska Institutet into a world leader in the area. SGO Johansson’s groundbreaking discovery of IgE and the development of allergy tests have improved the health and quality of life for a large proportion of the worldwide population.

Medals 2014

Gold Medal 

Harriet Wallberg became a doctor in 1986 and PhD in 1987. She made her postdoc in Vermont in 1987 and became a specialist in Clinical Physiology in 1996. 1998 she was appointed Professor of Physiology at the Karolinska Institutet and shortly thereafter became dean of research. She then left the Karolinska Institutet for an assignment as chief secretary in the field of Medicine at the Swedish Research Council.

In 2004 Harriet Wallberg was appointed Vice-Chancellor at the Karolinska Institutet, an assignment she held until 2012. During her period as vice-chancellor, the university underwent an expansion and internationalisation. At Karolinska Institutet's 200th anniversary in 2010, she initiated a fundraising campaign that raised SEK 1 billion to the university.

Harriet Wallberg has and has held numerous national and international posts, as advisor for other universities and research funding organisations. She has been an adviser to the government of the Research Advisory Committee, the Globalisation Council and the Advisory Board for Clinical Research. She has worked at the Danish Research Council, research bodies within the EU and advisory positions in Singapore, Japan and the United States. She is an honorary doctorate at Trinity College, Dublin, University of Minnesota, Bowdoin College, Maine and Seoul National University. She has received HM the King's gold medal of the 12th size with seraphim band.

Grand Silver Medal

Staffan Normark

Lars Klareskog

Hans Rosling

Medals 2013

Grand Silver Medal

Gösta Gahrton

Folke Sjöqvist

Bengt Winblad

Medals 2012

Gold Medal 

The Karolinska Institutet Jubilee Medal (Gold class) was awarded to photographer and professor Lennart Nilsson. He receives the medal for his long-standing and groundbreaking contributions to the development and innovative advancement of medical photography. His work is of an exceptionally high standard and he is an inspiration to photographers both at home and abroad.

Grand Silver Medal

Peter Aspelin

Dimitris N Chorafas

Suad Efendic

Nina Rehnqvist Ahlberg

Medals 2011

Grand Silver Medal

Hans-Olov Adami

Lars Ekholm

Jan-Åke Gustafsson

Kerstin Hall

Tomas Hökfelt

Medals 2010

Gold Medals

H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf is awarded the Karolinska Institutet Gold Medal "for outstanding contributions to Karolinska Institutet's work to improve people´s health through research and education." The award of Karolinska Institutet's Gold Medal to His Majesty is to be seen as an expression of our gratitude for the royal patronage that fulfils the tradition of royal involvement that has characterised the history of Karolinska Institutet for 200 years.

For his entire political life, former prime minister Ingvar Carlsson has been devoted to issues of education, research and the future in its broadest sense. Ingvar Carlsson has been a great support for Karolinska Institutet in his involvement in LifeGene, a research project comprising half a million Swedes designed to examine how heredity, environment and lifestyle are linked to the major diseases. He led the steering committee with enthusiasm during the important start-up phase, and helped to anchor the plans for LifeGene with the medical faculties of other universities in Sweden. Ingvar Carlsson was chairman of the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research from 1997 to 2002, and his experience and wisdom have been a tremendous asset to Karolinska Institutet, which makes him fully deserving of Karolinska Institutet's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Paul Greengard is one of the most prominent scientists of this century. His seminal work has revealed several of the mechanisms behind psychiatric diseases. Dr. Greengard has in many ways had a unique influence on the scientific activity at Karolinska Institutet. Many of his studies have been performed together with scientists from Karolinska Institutet. He has been a mentor for generations of Karolinska Institutet scientists, who have been inspired by his scientific leadership and by his extraordinary capacity to reveal the biological meaning and medical implications of a series of unexpected observations from the laboratory.

For decades professor Bengt Samuelsson has been a mainstay of Swedish research and innovation. In 1982, Professor Samuelsson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of prostaglandins and related substances. His research has contributed to our basic understanding of central disease mechanisms, above all those concerning pain, fever and inflammatory diseases, and has led to the development of a number of important medicines for rheumatism, thrombosis and asthma. In 1983, Professor Samuelsson was appointed president of Karolinska Institutet, a position he retained until 1995, during which time he oversaw major restructuring programmes and extensive work on modernising infrastructure and internationalising operations. From 1993 to 2005 he was chair of the Nobel Foundation. Professor Samuelsson is well deserving of Karolinska Institutet's Golden Jubilee Medal for his outstanding contributions to medical science.

Marcus Storch has been a significant figure in Swedish medical research for many years. Through the Tobias Foundation, which he and his family founded and now run, he has provided substantial research funds and financed important development projects in the healthcare sector. One such is the Tobias Registry, a national bone marrow registry based at Karolinska University Hospital that enables doctors to find suitable bone marrow for transplantation. Another is the endowment professorship in stem cell research that was established at Karolinska Institutet in 2001. Marcus Storch has held many leading positions in Swedish business, and has been chair of the Nobel Foundation since 2005. He is also an honorary doctor of medical sciences at Karolinska Institutet. Marcus Storch's commitment to Swedish research in general makes him a very worthy recipient of Karolinska Institutet's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Hans Wigzell, former president of Karolinska Institutet, is an inspirational leader who possesses immense scientific ingenuity and visionary enterprising spirit, and who has helped to develop Karolinska Institutet on many different levels. As a researcher he has made important discoveries in the field of immunology. In 1986 he became director of the National Bacteriological Laboratory and led its transformation into today's Institute for Infectious Disease Control. From 1995 to 2003, Professor Wigzell was president of Karolinska Institutet, at which time he instigated a number of important changes to the university, such as distributing faculty funds according to scientific quality and activity. An issue close to his heart has always been improving opportunities for the commercialisation of scientific discoveries, which has led, amongst other things, to the founding of Karolinska Development, today an international renowned innovation system in the biomedical field. Professor Wigzell has been scientific advisor to the Swedish government for many years. Professor Wigzell's contributions to the development of Karolinska Institutet make him a very deserving recipient of Karolinska Institutet's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Grand Silver Medal

Margareta Almling

Margareta Blombäck

Kerstin Hagenfeldt

Ulf Hjertonsson

Gunnar Höglund

Eva Klein

Georg Klein

Sten Linder-Aronson

Jan Lindsten

Anna-Stina Malmborg

Erling Norrby

Sten Orrenius

Nelson Sewankambo

Göran Stiernstedt

Yi-Xin Zeng

The Silver Medal

The medal can be awarded to a person who has made excellent efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet’s mission – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.

One or more medals are awarded in conjunction with the ceremony for Diligence and Devotion. The Silver Medal is primarily intended for internal recipients, yet it can also be awarded to external recipients.

The Gold Medal

The medal can be awarded to a person who has made unparalleled efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.

One or more medals are awarded upon an occasion determined by the President. The Gold Medal is primarily awarded to an external recipient, yet in very special cases it can also be awarded to internal recipients.

Recipients of Gold Medals may not be simultaneously appointed as honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet, however, previously appointed honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet can be awarded a Gold Medal and vice versa.

The Grand Silver Medal

The medal can be awarded to a person who has made tremendous efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet’s mission – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.

One or more medals are awarded in conjunction with the installation ceremony in Aula Medica. The Grand Silver Medal is primarily awarded to external recipients, yet in special cases it can also be awarded to internal recipients.