The Grand Silver Medal 2015 is awarded to Gunnel Biberfeld, Britta Wahren and SGO Johansson
The Grand Silver Medal 2015 from Karolinska Institutet is awarded to Gunnel Biberfeld, Britta Wahren and SGO Johansson in special recognition of the outstanding contributions they have made to medical research and Karolinska Institutet.
The medals will be presented at the installation ceremony on 15 October 2015. The medal committee's citations for Karolinska Institutet's Grand Silver Medals in 2015 are as follows:
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.