New honorary doctors at Uppsala University

31 October 2018

The nine faculties at Uppsala University have decided who to designate as honorary doctors this academic year. Among the new honorary doctors are researchers in fields such as epidemiology, jurisprudence and astrophysics, but also an op-ed editor, an author and the translator behind the Swedish witchcraft terminology of the Harry Potter books.

The rank of honorary doctor, doctor honoris causa, is a title awarded to individuals who have made outstanding scholarly contributions or otherwise promoted research at the University. It is always the faculties themselves that appoint honorary doctors, not the Vice-Chancellor or University Management in general.

The conferment ceremony for new Honorary Doctors will take place in the University Main Building on 25 January 2019.

More about the title of honorary doctor and previously designated honorary doctors.


Faculty of Theology

Lejla Demiri is Chair of Islamic Doctrine at the University of Tübingen. Her research revolves around the history of Islamic theology, the theological interaction between Christianity and Islam during the European High Middle Ages, Ottoman intellectual history, Islam and religious pluralism, Islamic manuscripts and inter-religious dialogue. Demiri’s extensive scholarly writings and teaching experience have contributed to the development of Islamic theology in the European context. She has also engaged in important ongoing efforts to enlarge inter-religious dialogue among Muslim, Jewish and Christian academics.

Mary McClintock Fulkerson is a professor at Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. In her research she has consistently taken an interest in the lived religious practice. Power, sex, race and racialisation, functional variations and diversity have been consistent themes. For example, her book Changing the Subject: Women’s Discourses and Feminist Theology is an important contribution to feminist theory development about subjectivity, power and agency. Through her research Fulkerson has contributed to the theoretical and methodological development of the theological study of Christian practices.


Faculty of Law

Marie-Claire Foblets is Director of the Department of Law and Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, and Professor of Jurisprudence and Anthropology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. She has been a prominent figure for multiculturalism studies in Europe, focusing on law, protection of minorities and fundamental freedoms. Foblets has successfully led several internationally acclaimed research projects, such as the EU-funded Religare programme dealing with how religion is handled by national courts in the European Union. For more than 10 years, Foblets has maintained close relationships with Uppsala University and the Faculty of Law.

Andrew P. Simester is a professor at the National University of Singapore and Edmund-Davies Professor at King’s College London. Simester has extensive scholarly writings in criminal law and legal philosophy. His works include Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine and Principles of Criminal Law, both of which have been published in several editions. For many years Simester has collaborated with researchers at Uppsala University, and he was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law from 2010 to 2016.


Faculty of Medicine

Yemane Berhane is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and works in Ethiopia. He is head of the Addis Continental Institute of Public Health and an adviser to the Ethiopian government. Berhane’s research domains include child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition and other high-priority areas of global health. The research is closely connected to the current need for knowledge required to develop, implement and evaluate large-scale interventions and therefore has great significance for converting research findings into policies and programmes. Berhane collaborates with various Ethiopian universities and also with many universities abroad. Researchers at Uppsala University have collaborated with Berhane for 15 years.

Catherine Merry is an associate professor at the University of Nottingham in Great Britain. Her research concerns embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and how these can be grown in defined 3D gels for use in regenerative medicine. She has succeeded in combining her expertise in glycobiology with advanced stem cell research and materials chemistry and has shown how glycosaminoglycans can be used to induce stem cells into developing into different cell types. Merry has previously been a visiting research fellow at Uppsala University and has several continuing collaborations with Uppsala researchers.

Eva F. Dahlgren is an author, writer, journalist and lecturer. Her writings are about people’s relationship to science, especially genetics, and concern how the value of humans was perceived during the first half of the 20th century. In the book Grandfather Was a Racial Biologist, she writes about her grandfather Ossian Dahlgren. He was Professor of Botany at Uppsala University but also presented popular science lectures at the Swedish Institute for Racial Biological Research, which was closed 60 years ago. She has also written about ‘fallen women’ and how they have been branded for life, but also have been studied by racial biologists. A constant burning issue running through Dahlgren’s books is the question: Who is of value and who is inferior? And who determines this?


Faculty of Pharmacy

Patrick Augustijns is a professor at Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He is one of the heads of research at the Drug Delivery and Disposition laboratory, whose research focuses on how pharmaceuticals are absorbed by the intestines. The laboratory’s areas of strength include strategies for absorption of pharmaceuticals that have poor solubility. Augustijns is the initiator and driving force within several different networks in his area of research. He is also deeply involved in (and currently chair of) the European University Consortium for Pharmaceutical Research (ULLA) and the Globalization of Pharmaceutics Education Network (GPEN). Augustijns’ close associations with many members of the Faculty of Pharmacy have contributed significantly to the faculty’s research programme.


Faculty of Arts

Sonia Haoa Cardinali is a prominent archaeologist and former Director-General of the National Heritage Board on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). She has made particularly significant contributions to knowledge of the Easter Islands’ prehistory, increasing our understand of the islanders’ survival strategies, innovative agriculture and sustainable environmental adaptation over centuries of dwindling resources. This research has led to many publications and has implications not only for the Easter Islanders themselves but also for issues facing indigenous populations in Oceania as a whole. Cardinali has had a long-standing and active collaboration with archaeologists at Uppsala University, which has laid the foundation for field work and mutual development of knowledge over several decades.


Faculty of Languages

Lena Fries-Gedin, a translator from English and French, is best known for her translations of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Fries-Gedin studied languages at Uppsala University and worked for three decades as a language teacher in Härnösand. She has also participated as a visiting lecturer in undergraduate studies at Uppsala University and at conferences and seminars throughout Sweden. During her long and productive career, Fries-Gedin has translated more than 80 books for both adults and children in a variety of genres, from novels, lyric poetry, detective fiction and fantasy to fairy tales and songs. She is appointed an Honorary Doctor by the Faculty of Languages for her unfailing fidelity to the word in all its varied manners and guises.

John Heritage is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is an internationally leading researcher in Conversation Analysis [CA], an interdisciplinary research field that combines sociological, linguistic and anthropological approaches that focus on language as social action. Over the past three decades, Heritage has developed both basic research and applied research in the field of conversational analysis. Through the Uppsala Antibiotic Centre, he has participated since 2017 in a linguistic project on the prescribing of antibiotics. Heritage is appointed an Honorary Doctor by the Faculty of Languages because his research and educational achievements have contributed to the use of CA in many different languages in everyday and institutional contexts.


Faculty of Social Sciences

Alan Warde is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester in Great Britain. For several years he was also a visiting professor at Uppsala University. Ward is a leading researcher in the sociology of consumption field and his interests include the sociology of eating. For example, he has shown how practice theory can be used as a theoretical framework for analysing and understanding social trends regarding alcohol customs. In recent years his research has included eating in relation to social issues, such as food outside the home, exclusion, inequality and sustainable development. Internationally, research on the sociology of consumption has developed greatly in recent years, and Warde is a very significant researcher in this development.

Kenneth A. Bollen is a professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. His research deals with the development of statistical methods for social and behavioural science with applications in population and health sciences. He has done ground-breaking research in structural equation modelling, a field of research that originated at Uppsala University and that has had a major impact on social science research around the world. Professor Bollen has published more than 150 scholarly articles and his books include Structural Equations with Latent Variables.

Maria Ripenberg is an op-ed editor and editorialist for Upsala Nya Tidning. She is known to be a fearless debater with a clear ethical compass who is not limited by partisan biases. Her subjects range widely across the social sciences. She has become especially well-known for her contributions on issues related to immigration, integration and racism. She is open and rational, always willing to seek answers to difficult social problems from a disciplinary foundation. Ripenberg is also well-known as an organiser of discussions and seminars with a social science orientation, such as the “Åsikt Uppsala” (Uppsala View) series arranged in collaboration with Uppsala University.


Faculty of Educational Sciences

Susan Danby is a professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. She is a leading researcher internationally in domains such as ‘Young Children and Digital Literacy’, ‘Early Childhood Studies’ and ‘Early Childhood Education’. In particular, Danby’s expertise covers early childhood language use and children’s interaction with digital media. With her research, she has made significant contributions to a better understanding of children as socially capable and to considering the child’s perspective and children’s participation in social and community processes. Danby is an important international collaborator, mentor and inspiration for researchers, doctoral students and teachers at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, Uppsala University.


Faculty of Science and Technology

Dr. Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center in the U.S. From 2011 to 2017, she was responsible for research related to NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which has been used to discover more than 2,000 exoplanets, including Earth-like planets outside our solar system. She was previously Professor of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University and in 2017 was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Batalha has established collaborations with astrophysicists at Uppsala University regarding methodology and numerical methods for data analysis of exoplanets’ spectra. She was invited in 2018 as a Celsius lecturer at the faculty.

British physicist and chemist Steven T. Bramwell is Professor of Physics at University College London and head of research at the London Centre for Nanotechnology. He was one of the researchers who experimentally discovered what is known as spin ice. Bramwell has also demonstrated that two-dimensional magnets have a critical exponent that can be defined theoretically, and he has coined the term ‘magnetricity’ for the magnetic equivalence of electric current. Bramwell has been named by The Times as one of the 100 leading scientists in the United Kingdom. He has had a long-standing collaboration with researchers at the Ångström Laboratory through seminars, lectures, exchanges and joint publications and has actively contributed to the development of the faculty’s research in the field of magnetism.

Margot Gerritsen is a professor at the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University in the U.S. and Director of Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. Gerritsen researches renewable and fossil energy production, coastal ocean dynamics, yacht design and several other areas in computational mathematics. During the last 20 years, she has been actively involved in educational and research collaboration between Uppsala University and Stanford, particularly in computational mathematics. On several occasions Gerritsen has visited the Department of Information Technology for short or longer stays, and she has helped undergraduates and doctoral students and employees at Uppsala University spend time or assume positions at Stanford.

Locke Rowe is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, Canada. Rowe’s research interests have encompassed both evolutionary biology and ecology and more recently also developmental biology. His contributions include many important works, primarily relating to the evolution of aging and sex differences in the animal world, and he has also authored a highly influential book in the field. For many years Rowe has collaborated with researchers at the Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University, and he has long cultivated a close relationship with the University, including through annual research visits, when he has lectured and inspired undergraduate and doctoral students.

Last modified: 2021-02-14