New honorary doctors at the University

Person in festive attire receiving their laurel wreath on stage in the Grand Auditorium.

The University’s new honorary doctors will receive their tokens of honour at the Winter Conferment Ceremony on 26 January. The picture is from the Conferment Ceremony in January 2023. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.

This year’s recipients of honorary doctorates at the University represent a wide range of expertise and professions. String theory, internal medicine and the history of education are a few examples.

This year’s recipients of honorary doctorates will receive their tokens of honour at the Winter Conferment Ceremony on 26 January 2024. Many of them will also give a lecture during their visit to the University.

The Conferment Ceremony is open to anyone interested and tickets can be picked up free of charge outside the Grand Auditorium from 10:00 on the day of the ceremony.

New honorary doctor at the Faculty of Arts

On Thursday 25 January, the honorary doctor at the Faculty of Arts will give a lecture.

Lenore Manderson is Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology at the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a remarkably broad researcher who for many years has contributed significant insights into gender and sexuality, migration, climate change, inequality, and the influence of people’s social circumstances on various types of diseases. Her latest books are Viral Loads: anthropologies of urgency in the time of COVID-19 (ed. with Nancy J. Burke and Ayo Wahlberg, 2021), and Water’s Edge: writing on water (2022). Mandersson is associated with Uppsala University in several ways, including as visiting researcher and visiting lecturer.

New honorary doctor at the Faculty of Educational Sciences

On Wednessday 24 January, the honorary doctor at the Faculty of Educational Sciences will give a lecture.

Merethe Roos, born in 1971, is a Professor of History at the University of South-Eastern Norway. Her research ranges from the 19th-century history of teaching ideas to handbooks on practical history education. Roos has an imposing breadth both in terms of subject areas (history and religion) and teaching (teacher education, history of education and didactics). Together with her solid scholarly achievements, this reveals a researcher with great commitment and professional expertise. This expertise is also manifest in her skill in conveying research and teaching both within and outside academia. Through multiannual collaborations, Roos’s experience of developing new learning materials for teacher education along with her deep knowledge of teaching history, practical methodological knowledge and research into the history of education have been of great value to several subject areas and courses at the Faculty of Educational Sciences.

New honorary doctor at the Faculty of Languages

On Wednesday 24 January, the honorary doctor at the Faculty of Languages will give a lecture.

Frans Gregersen, born in 1949, is Professor Emeritus of Danish at the University of Copenhagen. In his work, he has focused particularly on the branch of linguistics termed sociolinguistics and has played an active and key role in the development of this branch of research in the Nordic region. As director of the major project LANCHART (Language Change in Real Time), he has contributed new and important knowledge about language change. He has maintained significant contacts over a period of many years with the linguistic research community in Uppsala.

New honorary doctors at the Faculty of Law

Vesna Rijavec is a professor and was until recently dean at the Faculty of Law, University of Maribor, Slovenia. She is awarded an honorary doctorate for her successful leadership of several European comparative research projects, primarily in civil procedure as well as international private and procedural law.

Rijavec has involved Sweden and the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University in several of her many research projects. She is a prominent and versatile legal scholar and research leader. The numerous projects Rijacev has led have involved various types of research activities and courses, conferences and expert meetings, as well as numerous publications and wide scholarly networks. Her own very extensive writings in law have made important contributions not only in the areas of comparative law, Europeanised civil procedure and international private and procedural law, but also in such diverse areas of law as enforcement law, notarial law, inheritance and other economic family law, medical law, and real estate law.

Anders Eka has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since 2013 and President of the Supreme Court since 2018. He is awarded an honorary doctorate for his important contributions to the field of constitutional law, where his work on modernising the Swedish constitution and strengthening the judiciary has enriched the academic development and status of the field, as well as strengthening the rule of law in Sweden. 

In addition to his judicial career, which has included appointments as senior judge at the Svea Court of Appeal and chief judge at the Stockholm District Court, Eka has also been a legal expert at the Ministry of Justice and a director at the Office of the Chancellor of Justice. In addition, he has made significant contributions as principal secretary of the Working Committee on Constitutional Reform 20042008, which led to the 2010 revision of the Instrument of Government, the most important of Sweden’s four constitutional laws. He has subsequently had further assignments as specialist, expert and chair of government inquiries in the field of constitutional law, such as the Courts and Judges Inquiry and the 2020 Committee on Constitutional Reform. Eka’s commitment and contributions to constitutional law and the foundations of the rule of law in Sweden in turbulent times are an inspiration to researchers and are appreciated in broader legal circles.

New honorary doctors at the Faculty of Medicine

On Thursday 25 January, the honorary doctors at the Faculty of Medicine will give lectures.

Professor Edith Heard has been Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) since 2019. She is also a professor at the Collège de France, where she has the chair in Épigénétique et mémoire cellulaire (Epigenetics and Cellular Memory), and group leader at the Institut Curie, Paris.

Heard is a world-leading researcher in epigenetics. She has visited Uppsala as part of Uppsala University’s reciprocal exchange with the Collège de France. Her teaching in the Master’s programme and research seminar were greatly appreciated by researchers and students alike. The award of an honorary doctorate to Edith Heard further strengthens the link between Uppsala University and EMBL.

Heard’s research is of the highest international calibre and she regularly publishes in the top journals. Her research focuses on epigenetic processes such as X-chromosome inactivation, in order to better understand fundamental principles of gene regulation. A further aim is to explore the roles of chromatin modifications, chromosome organisation and non-coding RNAs on gene expression in development and disease.

Peter Visscher is Professor of Quantitative Genetics at the University of Queensland, where he directs a programme in complex trait genomics. In June he will take up a professorship in quantitative genetics at the University of Oxford.

In his early career, Visscher worked on genetic data from domestic animals and model organisms and developed an advanced expertise in quantitative genetics. After the mapping of the human genome at the beginning of this century, it became possible to undertake large-scale human studies thanks to the development of SNP chip technology. This made it possible for the first time to study the genetic background of major common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory diseases that have a complex genetic background, with many genes in interaction with environmental factors influencing the risk of disease. Visscher realised at that time that there was a great lack of expertise in complex trait genetics among human geneticists and that his expertise and experience would be very useful for interpreting the floods of data being generated.

Over the past 15 years, Visscher has been one of the top researchers in the field now known as data-driven life science. His career is a shining example of the ability of a researcher to contribute to scientific breakthroughs by applying their expertise to another field where that expertise is lacking.

Hugo Katus is a professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. He has conducted ground-breaking research on the cardiac cell protein troponin T, its significance in cardiac care and as a model for the development and use of circulating protein biomarkers as part of precision medicine.

Katus was the first to identify troponin T as a protein specific to the heart. He also performed the first clinical studies of circulating troponin T, which clearly revealed its significance for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction and other heart injuries. In collaboration with international research groups and industrial companies, his discoveries have led to the establishment of the measurement of circulating troponin as one of the most significant tools for acute diagnostics and assessment of the long-term course of many types of cardiovascular disease.

Katus’s pioneering contributions have played a key role in making troponin available for daily use as a routine test at all hospitals that provide care to patients with heart diseases throughout the world. Katus’s innovative discoveries and the collaboration with his research group have had a major influence on the development of research on troponin and other heart markers at the Department of Medical Sciences in Uppsala.

A very active senior professor, Katus is currently chair of the European Society of Cardiology’s Innovation Think Tank.

New honorary doctors at the Faculty of Science and Technology

Nikita Nekrasov is a world-leading expert in theoretical and mathematical physics and professor at Simons Center, USA. He is one of the world’s foremost researchers in modern quantum field theory and string theory. His work encompasses both physical and mathematical aspects. Nekrasov has made ground-breaking discoveries of very elegant applications of powerful mathematical techniques to extract exact results for quantum field theories and to shed light on integrable systems and non-commutative geometry.

Nekrasov’s partition function, which he introduced in 2002, relates in an intricate way the instantons in gauge theory and string theory, integrable systems and representation theory of infinite-dimensional algebras. It led to a proof of the Seiberg-Witten solution of Donaldson theory, which had been one of the major unsolved problems in theoretical quantum field theory since 1994.

On Wednesday 24 January, Nikita Nekrasov will give a lecture at the inauguration of the Centre for Geometry and Physics.

Professor Frank Allgöwer is an internationally leading researcher in control theory, particularly model predictive control, non-linear and network-based systems. The principal areas of application addressed by Allgöwer are, on the one hand, classic control theory areas such as process control and mechatronics, and on the other hand, relatively new, rapidly growing interdisciplinary areas, such as nanotechnology, systems biology and autonomous vehicles.

Allgöwer is Director of the Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control at the University of Stuttgart. His scholarly publications have had a great impact on modern control theory research and are much cited. Allgöwer’s research has won many scholarly prizes and awards.

Professor Marc Bohner is a world-leading researcher in the field of resorbable implant materials and is well-connected to the international implant industry. Bohner works for the RMS Foundation in Bettlach, Switzerland, where he is in charge of the resorbable biomaterials area. He is interested in the use of resorbable biomaterials as bone substitute and carrier of antibiotics and cells. More specifically, his interests comprise the synthesis, nanostructuration and use of various calcium phosphates, the improvement of present delivery techniques for bone substitutes and the application of these materials, methods and concepts in clinical applications. He has developed a series of implant materials that are used clinically and marketed by one of the world’s largest implant companies, and is the inventor of ‘chronOS blocks’, ‘chronOS Inject’ and ‘cyclOS/CEROS Putty’.

At the Faculty of Science and Technology, his research and networks have links with both the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory. Several areas in the Faculty of Medicine, such as orthopaedics and oral and maxillofacial surgery, also have links to his research.

Professor Margot Ruschitzka works at Cologne University of Applied Science (TH Köln) and has engaged in successful collaboration between industry, society and academia for many years. As Vice-President for Research and Development at TH Köln, Ruschitzka was very active in many different societal aspects of engineering sciences, such as the financial conditions of various organisations and opportunities for women in engineering-dominated German industry and in academia.

For some time, Ruschitzka has been leading an interesting and unique collaboration between the CAD CAM Center at TH Köln and Uppsala University’s Division of Electricity. Three doctoral students (with supervisors at both TH Köln and Uppsala University) are currently enrolled in this valuable collaboration in the area of ‘Electrified vehicles and their control’.

New honorary doctor at the Faculty of Social Sciences

On Thursday 25 January, the honorary doctor at the Faculty of Social Sciences will give a lecture.

Sakine Madon has worked as a journalist and commentator in various contexts, and has also stood for election to the Swedish Parliament (the Riksdag). In her work as a journalist, Madon has devoted great energy to some of the major issues of our time, often issues of great complexity involving matters of principle. Her writings cover a broad range, from honour-related violence to the cornerstones of democracy, such as freedom of expression and academic freedom. Madon combines an ardent interest in research issues with a challenging critical distance to the University.

New honorary doctors at the Faculty of Theology

On Thursday 25 January, the honorary doctors at the Faculty of Theology will give lectures.

Ylva Eggehorn is an author, poet and journalist who has spent her entire life working in the public sphere in the spirit of cultural theology. She has written over fifty published works in various genres: novels, short stories, poetry, plays, musical theatre, children’s books, non-fiction, educational materials and translations. Eggehorn has also written non-fiction books that clearly belong in the field of research on world views. What has won Eggehorn most fame and recognition in broader circles is perhaps her lyrics and hymns. In collaboration with various musicians, she has produced a treasury of musical lyrics that are used both in specifically church contexts and in our multicultural and secularised society. Her hymn “Var inte rädd, det finns ett hemligt tecken” (“Be not afraid, there is a secret sign”) was sung at Phuket Airport in connection with the tsunami disaster, every time a plane with Swedish coffins flew home.

Jörg Frey is Professor of New Testament Studies with Focus on Ancient Judaism and Hermeneutics at the University of Zurich. His important research on the New Testament and ancient Judaism has contributed substantially to an increased understanding of the complex relations between the early Christ-believing movements and the Judaic world. His numerous publications span an unusually broad field of research, including the Gospel of John, the New Testament epistles, the Dead Sea Scrolls, early Christian apocrypha, apocalypticism and New Testament theology. In his research, Frey consistently demonstrates the significance of the Judaic context for the interpretation of New Testament texts.

Anders Berndt

Who can be awarded an honorary doctorate?

An honorary doctorate, doctor honoris causa, is the title conferred upon individuals who have done outstanding academic work or in some other way promoted research at the University. The title is always in the gift of the faculties themselves, not the Vice-Chancellor or anyone else in the University Management. The University invites the recipients of honorary doctorates to the Winter Conferment Ceremony, where they receive all three tokens of honour: hat or laurel wreath (depending on faculty), diploma and ring.

Subscribe to the Uppsala University newsletter