Allergy researcher appointed new honorary doctor

7 October 2016

Gunnar O. Johansson, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Immunology, Esp. Allergology, at Karolinska Institutet, has been appointed new honorary doctor at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Pharmacy. He was one of the researchers who, fifty years ago, identified a new class of immunoglobulins (IgE), a discovery which has been of groundbreaking importance to millions of patients across the world, both in diagnostics and in treatment.

In 1967, Gunnar Johansson together with Hans Bennich identified a new class of immunoglobulins, IgE, and showed that these are associated with allergic reactions. The discovery was made at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital.

The two researchers worked together with Leif Wide to measure the level of IgE in blood samples. Together they contacted Pharmacia in Uppsala and a new collaboration was born. Today, Uppsala’s Thermofisher Scientific (Phadia) is world-leading in in vitro allergy diagnostics. Thus, the discovery of IgE by the research group has led to the rise of a global company in biotechnology, diagnostics, protein research, treatments and instruments.

IgE diagnostics are used every day across the world for patients of all age groups, and this routine method is based on the discovery of IgE in 1967. The discovery of IgE has laid the foundation for clinical and laboratory research, diagnostics and treatments in the allergy field. The discovery has also been of great importance to research, diagnostics and treatments for different parasitic diseases.

Gunnar Johansson’s discovery has meant a lot to both research at the Faculty of Pharmacy and to the development of the Uppsala region into a centre for biotech research and development.

The Conferment Ceremony will be held in Uppsala Cathedral on 27 January 2017.