Three new honorary doctors at the Faculty of Medicine

27 October 2016

Three new honorary doctors have been appointed by the Faculty of Medicine: Dr Robert Califf, influential clinical researcher and Director of the US Food and Drug Administration; Marcia McNutt, geophysicist and President of the National Academy of Sciences; and Professor Donald Bruce Rubin of Harvard University.

Robert Califf is one of the world’s most influential clinical researchers and has recently been appointed Director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He was previously Professor of Medicine and Head of Clinical and Translational Research at Duke University, North Carolina. He is also founder of the world’s largest academic clinical research institute, Duke Clinical Research Institute. Dr Robert Califf is an internationally recognised expert in cardiovascular medicine, clinical research and quality management in healthcare. He has led many large clinical studies and is one of the most cited researchers in biomedicine. His research has been of great importance to global medical development. Dr Califf has in recent years worked to bring together large parts of US healthcare to form a network for observational studies, biological measurements and clinical trials in order to more quickly and efficiently evaluate new treatment strategies and improve health.

Marcia McNutt is a geophysicist and since July 2016 she is the President of the National Academy of Sciences where she has been a member of the geology section since 2005. Between 2013 and 2016, Marcia McNutt was Editor in Chief of Science. Apart from her contributions to the scientific community during her time at Science she has been committed to working with the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists, which is awarded annually by Science and SciLifeLab with support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation. In connection with the prize ceremonies, Marcia McNutt has participated in seminars and discussions with researchers. She has in particular raised the issues of young researchers’ career opportunities and about reproducibility of published data. Marcia McNutt got her Doctor’s degree 1978 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. She has been Head of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, Professor at Stanford, and Director of the US Geological Survey.

Professor Donald Bruce Rubin is one of the most influential and cited statisticians in the world and holder of the John L. Loeb Professorship in Statistics at Harvard. His primary contributions to the field show how conclusions about cause and effect, for instance in medication or treatments, can be drawn without experiments. He has developed concepts and methods which today are used by all researchers in medicine but also in social sciences. These methods and concepts are now known as the Rubin Causal Model. This model clarifies not only causalities but also the assumptions made in order to allow conclusions to be expanded to entire populations. Professor Rubin’s contributions is of particular importance to Swedish researchers because we have unique population registries which can help us understand causalities in clinical practice, especially for patient groups who often are not included in double blind randomised clinical studies, such as the elderly and those with multiple diagnoses.