Professorships in medicine

Donations and grants for professorships in the field of medicine.

The Foundation enables several professorships in medical science, clinical medical research and five parallel academic professorships. The Foundation's professorships are located at Karolinska Institutet and at the Kungl. Academy of Sciences.

Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations' anniversary donation to Karolinska Institutet

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Karolinska Institutet, the Torsten Söderberg Foundation and the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation jointly donated SEK 100 million in 2010. The purpose of the donation is to enable Karolinska Institutet to attract internationally prominent researchers.

The donation of SEK 100 million was allocated to the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Professorship in medical science of SEK 50 million and to three shorter Söderberg Professorships in clinical medical research, totaling SEK 50 million.

Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Chair in Medical Science
- Thomas Helleday (Translational Medicine)

Söderberg Professorships in Clinical Medical Research
- Staffan Holmin (clinical neuroimaging)
- Stephen Strom (regenerative medicine)
- Olle Kämpe (clinical endocrinology)

Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Chair in Medical Science

Photo Ulf Sirborn.

Thomas Helleday

Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics


January 2012-2022

Translational medicine

The aim of the research is to develop new treatments for cancer that will benefit patients. We know that cancer can occur when DNA is damaged in the cell and it is this damage that gives the cancer the necessary mutations to grow. However, DNA damage also represents a weakness in cancer cells that we can exploit to develop new targeted treatments. Traditional cancer drugs kill all fast-growing cells, causing severe side effects. Targeted therapies only kill cancer cells and thus have far fewer side effects. The donation from the foundations has made it possible to bring together in an academic research team the skills and knowledge needed to conduct truly translational research, i.e. all the way from basic discovery to new drugs.

Söderberg Chair in Clinical Medical Research

Photo Stefan Zimmerman.

Staffan Holmin

Professor and Chief Physician, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience


March 2013-2017

Clinical neuroimaging

Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, Sweden, is the second institution in the world to start treating acute stroke with mechanical clot removal using a so-called stone grasper. The field has now been revolutionized, with five studies published in 2015 that clearly showed a very good treatment effect. As a research leader, I have participated in the development of international guidelines for how this treatment should be performed. Together with researchers at Karolinska Institutet, we have carried out trials of neuroprotective treatment, i.e. treatment aimed at protecting the brain cells that are threatened by stroke before the blood clot is removed. The first part of the study was positive and a larger study is now planned. In parallel, we are continuing research in experimental models to find new methods for diagnosing and treating stroke.

Söderberg Chair in Clinical Medical Research

Photo Stefan Zimmerman.

Stephen Strom

Professor and Hospital Chemist, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine


November 2012-2017

Regenerative medicine

The only option for many serious liver diseases is to remove the diseased liver and replace it with a healthy liver from another individual. The technique requires major surgery, there can be many complications and some patients may not survive the procedure. The research team has developed techniques to correct the disease by transplanting liver cells rather than transplanting the whole liver. We are not proposing the complete replacement of the patient's liver with donor cells, but rather the support of critical liver functions through the incorporation of healthy cells to restore liver function. Cell therapy has many advantages over whole organ replacement. It is less invasive, less expensive, has fewer complications, lower morbidity and mortality, and the patient retains their own liver. Through the Foundations' donation, we have been able to establish the only program for cell therapy of liver disease and regeneration of liver function in all of Scandinavia.

Söderberg Chair in Clinical Medical Research

Private photo.

Olle Kämpe

Professor and Chief Physician, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine


April 2014-2018

Clinical endocrinology

Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune thyroid disease, are on the rise in Western populations. Although diagnosis and treatment methods have improved in recent years, we still do not understand why they occur and we lack the means to prevent and fully cure them. A first step in understanding autoimmune disease is to identify exactly which molecules our immune system reacts against. New technology, in which 10 000s of human proteins are produced in insect cells, purified individually and then placed one by one on slides, has proven to be a very powerful tool. With this new method, several new original discoveries have been made.