Linnaeus and Rudbeck medallists chosen
10 December 2020
This year the Rudbeck Medal is awarded to Professors Olle Eriksson, Inger Sundström Poromaa and Maria Ågren, while the Linnaeus Medal is awarded to Professor Kerstin Lindblad Toh and Chairman Dai-Won Yoon at Hallym University in South Korea.
The Linnaeus Medal
Uppsala University’s Linnaeus Medal was awarded for the first time on the three-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus on 23 May 2007. The gold medal is conferred “for truly outstanding scientific achievement, especially in the Linnaean subject areas or fields closely associated with the legacy of Linnaeus”.
In 2020 the Linnaeus Medal is awarded to Chairman Dai-Won Yoon at Hallym University in South Korea and Professor Kerstin Lindblad Toh, Uppsala University. The explanatory statement reads:
Dai-Won Yoon is a surgeon and chair of the Ilsong Educational Foundation, affiliated with both Hallym University and Hallym University Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. He receives the award for his great achievements in promoting collaboration between Uppsala University and Hallym Medical Center and for building a bridge to several other leading universities in Korea. This has benefited Uppsala University and Sweden greatly. Joint and fruitful medical conferences have been arranged annually in both Seoul and Uppsala with a large number of leading researchers. With tireless energy, Chairman Yoon has driven the cooperation forward since the first contacts were established in 2007.
Kerstin Lindblad Toh is an internationally renowned researcher in genetics and genomics. She divides her time between Uppsala University, where she is a professor of comparative genomics, and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the U.S., where she is the scientific director of vertebrate genome biology. For many years, Kerstin Lindblad Toh has studied the genetics of dogs as a starting point for comparative genetic studies. Over the centuries, dog breeding has selected specific genes to produce breeds with certain characteristics, which has also concentrated and preserved disease genes. Lindblad Toh’s research helps us understand which mutations in different dog breeds cause diseases in humans as well. Among other things, she has shown that the gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in dogs is the same as the gene that causes the disease in humans. She has headed “The 29 Mammals Project”, which was published in 2011, and is now the research director of its successor, “The 200 Mammals Project”. This project has mapped the genome of 240 selected mammals, enabling comparative genetic studies at a level not previously possible.
The Rudbeck Medal
Uppsala University’s Rudbeck Medal was first awarded in 2003. The medal was instituted the previous year in connection with the 300th anniversary of the death of Olof Rudbeck the Elder. It is presented “for extraordinarily prominent achievements in science, to be conferred primarily for such accomplishments or findings attained at Uppsala University”.
In 2020 the Rudbeck Medal is awarded to Professors Olle Eriksson, Inger Sundström Poromaa and Maria Ågren, all at Uppsala University. The explanatory statement reads:
Olle Eriksson is a professor of theoretical magnetism at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science and Technology. He receives the award for tackling one of the greatest unsolved problems in modern physics, understanding and predicting how electrons move in complex materials, including in high-temperature superconductors. This has wide areas of application ranging from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cameras to wind power.
Inger Sundström Poromaa is a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Medicine. She receives the award for her research on neuroendocrinological mechanisms in a gynaecological patient population and mental illness in connection with pregnancy and childbirth.
Maria Ågren is a professor of history at the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, and has conducted outstanding research within the Gender and Work project for a long time. Her scientific work is characterised by methodological innovation on complex issues. She has built up an extensive research infrastructure with multidisciplinary collaborations among different