Solemn and popular science as the Faculty of Pharmacy inaugurates its new professors

18 November 2021

Andrew C Hooker, one of seven new Professors at the Faculty of Pharmacy

Andrew C Hooker, one of seven new Professors at the Faculty of Pharmacy

“The inauguration lectures provide great opportunities to get an easily accessible and up to date overview of what is happening in the neighboring corridor,” states Johan Lennartsson, one of seven new Professors at the Faculty of Pharmacy that this week give popular scientific introductions to their research.

In December 1625, Uppsala University carried out its first documented professor inauguration. At the time, the Vice-chancellor escorted each new Professor to a lectern where he or she gave a lecture, but with the university's growth, the number of new Professors also increased. This year, close to four centuries later, the ceremonies extend over a week, and Tuesday 16 November, it is time for the new Professors at the Faculty of Pharmacy to give an introduction to their research.

“That our relatively small faculty inaugurates seven new professors is of course very positive. The fact that they all conduct research in highly relevant areas, adds important cutting-edge competencies to our already extensive scientific breadth, states Dean Mathias Hallberg.

First on the podium is Christel Bergström, Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics, who starts her lecture by answering the question she encounters most often: What exactly is “Galenic” (part of Professor Bergström’s Swedish title)? Fifteen minutes later, the audience – both on site and online – has received a crash course in challenges and progress regarding the development of drugs that find their goal in the human body and achieve the desired effect.

Professor Christel Bergström
Professor Christel Bergström

“We are also committed to developing 3D printers that quickly and easily produce drugs, including so-called poly-pills that combine several active substances in the same tablet. We will soon place a 3D printer at the Uppsala University Hospital, and with the current development, it is entirely possible that within ten years we can place compressed devices in the homes of individual care recipients,” says Professor Bergström.

Andrew C Hooker, new Professor of Pharmacometrics, talks about the potential of calculating optimal drug doses using mathematical models. Today, the cost of developing a new drug is estimated at SEK 20 billion. That only just under seven percent of all candidates reach all the way to clinical treatment – and that several side effects only become apparent when the drug is given to patients – provides a problematic economic equation. But, notes Andrew C Hooker, with a meticulously designed study and model-based choices, the threshold is significantly lower, and now an increasing number of pharmaceutical organisations are discovering the great values in pharmacometrics.

Professor Johan Lennartsson
Professor Johan Lennartsson

“The inauguration lectures provide great opportunities to get an easily accessible and up to date overview of what is happening in the neighboring corridor, says Johan Lennartsson, new Professor of Pharmaceutical Cell Biology who has titled his presentation Ett receptorproteins liv och död (Life and death of a receptor protein). “Here we focus on popular science, which makes the lectures valuable for both students and the curious public, but also for us researchers who on a daily basis often concentrate on our already existing research networks.”

During the midmorning, Ola Spjuth, Professor of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics, also gave a lecture on how Artificial intelligence and automation can make drug development more efficient. Björn Wettermark, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, told about Prescriptions on registers - stories about health data for better drug use, and Anja Sandström, Professor of Medicinal chemistry, explained the path From fragile peptides to drug candidates.

During Uppsala University's Professor Inauguration Friday 19 November, Sofia Kälvemark Sporrong, Professor of Social Pharmacy, will give the lecture Från bräckliga peptider till läkemedelskandidater (From fragile peptides to drug candidates). Tickets for the inauguration can be collected in the University Hall's stairwell from Thursday 18 November at 10:00 to Friday 19 November at 15:00.

New Professors at the Faculty of Pharmacy

Christel Bergström, Dep. of Parmacy
Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics
Advanced drug delivery systems & computational pharmaceutics

Andrew C Hooker, Dep. of Parmacy
Professor of Pharmacometrics
Pharmacometrics

Johan Lennartsson, Dep. of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Professor of Pharmaceutical Cell Biology
Pharmaceutical Cell Biology

Ola Spjuth, Dep. of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Professor of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics
Pharmaceutical Biosciences

Björn Wettermark, Dep. of Parmacy
Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology
Pharmacoepidemiology

Anja Sandström, Dep. of Medicinal chemistry
Professor of Medicinal chemistry
Peptides and Peptiomimetics in Drug Discovery

Sofia Kälvemark Sporrong, Dep. of Parmacy
Professor of Social pharmacy
Social pharmacy