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Four new Wallenberg Academy Fellows

15 January 2018

Wallenberg Academy Fellows is a career programme for promising young researchers that covers all academic fields. Now four new researchers have been invited to become Wallenberg Academy Fellows at Uppsala University.

The four are Hanne Fjelde of Uppsala University, Erik J. Berg of the Paul Scherrer Institute, Kaska Koltowska of the University of Queensland and Steffi Burchardt of Uppsala University.

Hanne Fjelde. Foto: Markus Marcetic
Hanne Fjelde. Foto: Markus Marcetic

Hanne Fjelde will investigate the impact of political violence during election periods, including how violence associated with an election affects a country’s democratisation process and how such violence can be prevented. How can political parties, civil society and voters act to mitigate the consequences of this violence?

Erik J. Berg. Foto: Markus Marcetic
Erik J. Berg. Foto: Markus Marcetic

Erik J. Berg is to investigate why today’s lithium-ion batteries lose their rechargeability relatively fast. He will develop experimental methods to study, in real time, the chemical reactions that occur during charging and discharging between the lithium-ion-conducting electrolyte and the battery’s anode and cathode. The purpose is to understand why unwanted side reactions occur and how to counter them so that the battery lasts longer.

Kaska Koltowska. Foto: Kylie Georgas
Kaska Koltowska. Foto: Kylie Georgas

Kaska Koltowska will study how the body’s lymph vessels form from existing blood vessels. What governs cell division, enabling various specialised cells in the lymphatic vessels to develop? What growth factors affect the process and how important is nutrient supply? The basic knowledge derived from her research could be useful in development of treatments for lymphoedema and the spread of cancer cells.

Steffi Burchardt. Foto: Markus Marcetic
Steffi Burchardt. Foto: Markus Marcetic

Steffi Burchardt has discovered a paradoxical characteristic of magma: although it flows, it can crack. Her goal is to understand the far-reaching effects of crack formation in magma, from scope for predicting volcanic eruptions to precipitation of precious metals and formation of oil reservoirs. Understanding how magma cracks is important for locating precious metals and oil reservoirs as well. Burchardt will also collaborate with an Icelandic deep-drilling project to optimise extraction of geothermal energy from magma chambers.

The Wallenberg Academy Fellows programme was established by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in cooperation with five Royal Academies and 16 Swedish universities. The universities nominate researchers for the programme, while the Academies evaluate the candidates and present their proposals to the Wallenberg Foundation, which then makes the final selection. After that, the universities assume long-term responsibility for the selected researchers’ work. The programme guarantees extended provision of resources for Wallenberg Academy Fellows, enabling them to tackle difficult and long-term research questions.