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medicor

2016 #3

medicor medicinska fÜreningen’s

student magazine

16 Self-driving cars 20 Nobel prizes 2016 26 Yellow fever 33 The justifiable procrastination guide

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Prelude Dear readers, It is a great pleasure for me to introduce the third issue of Medicor 2016. I still remember those autumn days in October 2015, when I first started working for Medicor as editor-in-chief. Summer was longgone and autumn had come early, immersing us in a world of warm colors. Most of us in the editorial team were new additions and it was up to us to join efforts and produce a magazine that would uphold the standards of the previous Medicor teams. Or ideally: make it even better! It was on one of those autumn days that my birthday fell. I stayed up late working on the layout design trying to make every detail perfect. I was full of excitement over the nearing release of our first issue. As I write this editorial today, the same feelings emerge, only that this time I have the pleasure to work with a new editorial team. Your dedication and enthusiasm has been essential in creating the first magazine of this semester.

As a welcome to all new students at KI, we have several articles on how to make the most of your time as a student - in and out of university. Don’t miss out on our favorite brunch places, upcoming events at KI, the different organizations that you can join if you become a member of Medicinska Föreningen, and our tips to become a fluent Swedish speaker among other interesting articles. We also touch upon the debate of self-driving cars and the current yellow fever outbreak that is gathering international attention. We discuss the dangers of the Scandinavian sun in relation to skin damage and take a look at the reality behind university rankings. I would like to end this editorial by sending special thanks to AnnMari Dumanski and Jessica Balksjö Nannini. Attending the Nobel announcements would not have been possible without your help. I would also like to thank the new and established members of Medicor. Your commitment and passion are the cornerstone values upon which this magazine thrives. We are always looking for talented new students that would like to become part of the Medicor Team. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Come and Tell Your Story.

Sincerely, Teresa Fernández Zafra Editor-in-Chief

Cover photo by Saket Milind Nigam for Medicor 2

Photo by Jingcheng Zhao for Medicor

For this issue, Medicor had the opportunity to attend the press conference for the announcement of the Nobel prizes in Chemistry, Physics and Physiology or Medicine. On the day of the announcements, we reported live on different social media channels and here we cover a little more about each prize and the importance of the laureates’ discoveries.

Medicor Magasin Grundad 2006. Tionde årgången. Utges av Medincinska Föreningen i Stockholm ISSN: 1653-9796 Ansvarig utgivare: Teresa Fernández Zafra Tryck och reproduktion: Åtta45, Solna Adress: Medicinska Föreningen i Stockholm Nobels Väg 10, Box 250, 171 77, Stockholm Utgivningsplan 2016: nr 1: mars, nr 2: maj, nr 3: oktober, nr 4: december. Kontakta Medicor: chefredaktor@medicor.nu www.medicinskaforeningen.se http://medicor.nu Frilansmaterial: Medicor förbehåller sig rätten att redigera inkommet material och ansvarar inte för icke beställda texter eller bilder, samt tryckfel. Upphovsman svarar för, genom Medicor publicerat, signerat frilansmaterial; denna(e)s åsikter representerar nödvändigtvis inte Medicors eller Medicinska Föreningens. Freelance material: Medicor retains the right to edit incoming material and does not take responsibility for unsolicited texts or pictures, and printing mistakes. The contributor agrees that, through published and signed Medicor material, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of Medicor or Medicinska Föreningen.


Photo by Jingcheng Zhao for Medicor

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Overture 12

KI CAMPUS 10 12

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get involved @ KI The Aftermath of Paolo Macchiarini

Science

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14 15

SCIENCE SNIPPETS

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self-driving cars

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SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY PIONEERS sizzle: the science of sunburn

NOBEL PRIZES 2016 Find out more about this year’s winners and their contribution to the world.

Global Focus 24 26

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university rankings yellow fever outbreak

Culture

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28 30 31

BLÅSLAGET

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BRUNCH ON

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PROCRASTINATION GUIDE

IMprove your swedish

35 COMICS

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BALLET FOR BEGINNERS

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medicor

Teresa Fernández Zafra • Editor-in-Chief Saket Milind Nigam • Executive Director & Director of Photography | Jessica De Loma Olson, Joanna Kritikou • Web Managers | Zach Chia • Editor of Global Focus | Sibel Ilter • Editor of Campus | Veronika Kremer • Editor of Science | Joanne Bakker • Editor of Culture Teresa Fernández Zafra, Isabelle Wemar, Veronika Kremer • Layout Design | Saket Milind Nigam, Jingcheng Zhao, Oliver Ljong, Manon Ricard, Sayoni Chakraborty, Puck Norell, Sandra Mekidiche, Zach Chia, Carl Vikard, Shahul Hameed • Photographers | Frida Hellström, Mina Saleem, Camille Wilhelmi, Teresa Fernández Zafra, Joanna Kritikou, Bethel Tesfai Embaie, Sigrun Stulz, Olivia Miossec, Caitrin Crudden, Se whee Park, Sibel Ilter, Veronika Kremer, Zach Chia, Devy Elling, Ben Libberton, Petter Johansson, Teodora Petrova, Yildiz Kelahmetoglu • Writers | Zach Chia, Ethan Chia, Ben Libberton, Martha Nicholson, Olivia Miossec, Isabelle Wemar, Stefan Håkansson • Proofreaders | Markus Karlsson • Comics Coordinator | Anny Truong, Eveline Shevin, Mikael Plymoth • Comic Illustrators | Matheus Dyczynski, Freepik.com, flaticon.com • Infographics

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Aperture Hjärnfestivalen On September 7-11th Stockholm celebrated its first brain festival. This event took place in different locations down-town and aimed to bridge the gap between researchers and the public.

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Smörgåsbord

Penicillin One of the most famous accidental discoveries of all times was made by Prof. Alexander Fleming in 1928 in St Mary’s Hospital, London. After a short vacation, Fleming came back to the lab to find that one of his petri-dishes containing Staphylococcus bacteria had been left open and became contaminated. Strikingly, the mold that contaminated the culture was able to prevent bacteria from growing around it. This discovery lead to the invention of penicillin - the first antibiotic.

Pacemaker

It was 1956 when Wilson Greatbatch was working on building an oscillator that could record heart sounds in Buffalo, New York. Greatbatch made the mistake of installing an incorrect resistor, which resulted in the oscillator giving off a rhythmic electrical impulse. He then realized that his device could serve as a pacemaker, which at that time was the size of a TV. Greatbatch’s first pacemaker was implanted on a 77-yearold man whose life was extended 18 months extra thanks to the device.

By Teresa Fernández Zafra 6


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medicor

Accidental discoveries and self-experimentation

Viagra In the late 90s, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer was testing compound UK-92480 for the treatment of hypertension and angina pectoris. Interestingly, the drug did not exactly work in the way they expected. This magic blue pill was having an interesting side-effect that made study participants reluctant of giving up the treatment: they were having longer-lasting penile erections. In 1998 the FDA approved this drug - now known as Viagra - for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Annual sales reached 1.934 billion dollars in 2008….and are still going strong.

Helicobacter Pylori Australian researchers Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren discovered Helicobacter pylori in 1982. Despite their efforts, they were unable to convince the scientific community that this bacterium was the source of gastric ulcers. In desperation, Marshall drank the bacteria and developed gastritis. He then cultured his own gut biopsy and found that H. pylori was still there, proving that it was the cause of his gastric disease. Moreover, as an additional proof, he recovered fully from the gastritis by taking antibiotics, which killed the H.pylori he had drank. Marshall and Warren won the Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize in 2005.

LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesized in 1938 by Albert Hofmann in Basel, Switzerland. He aimed to produce a respiratory stimulant that could treat various conditions. In 1943, Hofmann

accidentally absorbed some LSD through his fingertips and felt something. Full of curiosity, Hofmann decided to consume LSD and bike home during which he experienced the powerful psychoactive effects of

LSD. Although he believed that LSD could be used in the field of psychiatry, LSD instead became popular as a recreational drug. Today, fans of LSD celebrate “Bicycle Day” in honor of his unexpected discovery.

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18/11 INNOVATION DAY FOR KI STUDENTS Aula Medica, Solna conference.ki.se/innovationday/

19/11 BLÅSLAGET CONCERT - Storslaget Medicinska Föreningen, Solna facebook.com/events/565661736954374/

21/11 MEDICINSKA FÖRENINGEN ELECTIONS Medicinska Föreningen, Solna

tinyurl.com/gubpmtm

25/11 QUEEROLINSKA PUB

KI CAMPUS

EVENTS 8

NOV.16 DEC.16

Medicinska Föreningen Pub, Solna medicinskaforeningen.se


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29/11-03/12 FLIX SPEX Medicinska Fรถreningen, Solna medicinskaforeningen.se

01/12 KI WORK ENVIRONMENT DAY H2 Grรถn, Huddinge internwebben.ki.se/en/ work-environment-day-2016

07/12 NOBEL LECTURE - Yoshinori Ohsumi Aula Medica, Solna @ 2.30pm nobelprize.org

13/12 LUCIA BALL Medicinska Fรถreningen, Solna medicinskaforeningen.se

Photo by Oliver Ljong for medicor9


KI CAMPUS

Ways to get involved at KI By Mina Saleem & Camille Wilhelmi As a new student at KI it can be difficult to meet new people, therefore getting involved with numerous committees and organizations at school could be very helpful. Furthermore it will enable you to get the most out of your experience at KI. There are two KI campuses, one in Solna and one in Huddinge. Most of Medicinska Föreningen´s activities are arranged in Solna since this is where the student association’s building is located. This is where all the proms, gasques and popular Friday Pubs take place. Here are a few of the prominent organizations and societies that you might be interested in joining. The international committee organizes several different activities throughout the year that enables both swedish and international students to interact with one another. Some of these events, organized by Global Friends, include; a tour of Stockholm, international dinners in which students bring food from their own culture, as well as language@ KI which is a language program in which international students learn swedish by the help of Swedish students at KI. E-mail: intcom@medicinskaforeningen.se Programutskottet (PrU-Group) organizes all the wild parties and pubs! As well as traditional big events like the “Luciabalen” and the “Amphioxgasquen”. There are smaller parties as well such as Oktoberfest, movie nights, etc. Every Friday from 4pm to 10pm you can come over to the Pub Night in the basement of MF. There you can have a beer with your friends to start the weekend or just chill out after classes.

between the students and the life sciences sector. As a member of the Business Committee you’ll widen your network, gain lots of experience, and develop your personal and social skills, that will aid you in the development of your future career. But most importantly, it is about meeting people from all over the world, getting friends and having lots of fun! E-mail: nu@medicinskaforeningen.se The administration committee (Förvaltningsutskottet – FU) takes care about Medicinska Föreningens infrastructure. The committee is responsible for renting of the students union house and Solvik, the economy of the student union, member registration, communication and MFs employees. FU has several subgroups who take care about specific subjects; Computer committee – takes care of the IT infrastructure Librarian – takes care of MFs library Sports cabin committee – responsible for Solvik, MFs summerhouse Lights and sounds group – responsible for light and sound infrastructure in the union house Tomb keeper – responsible for MFs tomb Archivist – responsible MFs archive E-mail: fuo@medicinskaforeningen.se

Do you want to know more about PrU? Would you like to test your skills as bartender on Friday nights? Don’t hesitate to ask! E-mail: pruo@medicinskaforeningen.se

Corpus Karrolina is Medicinska Föreningen’s male acting society. The main character of the show is always an influential/strong/funny woman with a story interpreting a historical event, written in rhyme and gilt with song and dance. On stage there are only men, but most of them like to act as women. Behind the acting troupe is the backbone of Corpus Karrolina, dedicated groups of members creating the decor, the costumes, the makeup, the choreography, the musical arrangements, the band, the food and the parties! For more information visit www.corpuskarrolina.se

Business Committee (Näringslivsutskottet – NU) handles Medicinska Föreningen’s contact and collaboration with the life sciences companies and organizations. NU aims to widen the career opportunities and promote collaboration

Flix is Medicinska Föreningen’s female skit sorority. Each fall the sorority produces a humoristic and highly interactive skit that is composed of different songs and dance routines. However, during the springtime, flix joins forces with Corpus Karrolina and helps in the creation of cos-

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tumes, scenery, music, fika and sound/ lights. You can also see Flix performing at the different gasques and parties that are held at the school throughout the year. For more information visit www.flixspex. se Blåslaget is the student orchestra of Medicinska föreningen, and Dragplåstret is the show dance group of Blåslaget. Blåslaget is a wind-orchestra and their repertoire ranges from Strauss to Lady Gaga. Blåslaget and Dragplåstret perform at most of the great parties taking place at KI, as well as openings and welcoming ceremonies for new KI students. Email: ordf@blaslaget.se Stroket is a forum for KI students who play string instruments, who want to meet new people and make wonderful music together. They perform at various ceremonies and parties at KI and also arrange our own chamber music concerts on a regular basis. For more information visit www.stroket. se Queerolinska is a student organised LGBTQ association at KI. Their goal is to engage in different issues that affect the quality of the education and the university environment, as well as to organize social activities such as pubs and movie nights on a regular basis. E-mail: queerolinska@medicinskaforeningen.se The Equal treatment committee ensures fairness in education and Medicinska Föreningen, in terms of gender equality, age, disability, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and sexual choice. The Equal treatment committee has the aim that everyone should be treated equally. Every human being has certain preconceptions and certain prejudices. However, to be aware of this is the first step. They want everyone to feel welcome and safe at KI. Everyone should be respected as they are and every student should be able to be seen and heard. E-mail: lbn@medicinskaforeningen.se


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KI CAMPUS

Photo credit: Jingcheng Zhao Photo credit: Shahul Hameed

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KI CAMPUS

Photo credit: Gunnar Ask, Dagens Medicin

The aftermath of Paolo Macchiarini

By Frida Hellström Medicinska Föreningen’s president In March, Medicor reported about the aftermath of the situation at Karolinska Institutet (KI) about the documentary on Paolo Macchiarini. On the 5th of September, the official investigation of the case led by Sten Heckscher was reported. The report gave answers but also raised more questions – what happens now? The Macchiarini case – a recap Paolo Macchiarini was recruited as a guest professor at KI in 2010. At the same time, he was employed as a surgeon at the Karolinska University Hospital where he conducted experimental surgery on tracheas. All patients treated with this experimental surgery at Karolinska University Hospital died, which lead to the termination of his employment as a surgeon at the hospital in 2013. Despite this, KI decided to prolong his employment. Several reports of suspected research misconduct reached KI in 2014, but in 2015 Paolo Macchiarini was declared not guilty. In the beginning of 2016, SVT broadcasted a documentary about the surgeries and the case was brought to the public eye. This lead to several investigations, changes in the KI leadership, and a lack of trust by students and staff at KI as well as by the public. The investigation In February, Sten Heckscher was appointed to lead the investigation of Paolo Macchiarini’s work at KI from his recruitment to January 2016. The report was published on the 5th of September and was aimed toward 8 critical points: 12

• • • • • • • •

The recruitment of Macchiarini in 2009-2010 Whether KI holds any responsibility for the surgeries performed at the hospital The prolonged employment in 2013 The prolonged employment in 2015 Macchiarini’s research conducted at KI Macchiarini’s subsidiary posts KI’s handling of the suspicions of misconduct in research KI and laws

Results The investigation found that KI was the most at fault regarding the recruitment, the prolonged employment in 2013, the reporting of subsidiary posts as well as the following of rules and laws. But KI does not stand without guilt on any of the eight points. In detail, that means: •

The protocol for recruitment was faulty but also sidestepped due to head-hunting from the Vice-Chancellor at the time. Instead of looking through all the past employments that might have included mistakes, KI should focus on creating a better protocol for the future.

KI has taken credit for the surgeries, which means that even though KI does not stand responsible for them KI cannot be free from blame. After the employment at the hospital was terminated in 2013, it is highly questionable that the employment at KI was prolonged. The prolonged employment in 2015 was defendable due to the ongoing investigations of misconduct in research. The reporting of subsidiary posts should have been reviewed – Macchiarini did not report any subsidiary posts despite only 30% employment at KI and known other employments. The investigation shows that KI, in general, has had issues in following rules from the government – “KI seems to have a nonchalant view of rules”.

In the information meeting with staff and students on the 8th of September, Sten Heckscher commented on some of the work going forward. He stated that it is “a primitive, vulgar and poor way to reason” to demand those responsible to step down. Sometimes, the responsible thing to do could be to not resign.


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KI CAMPUS

The recent timeline of Macchiarini’s case The events from 2010 to February 2016 were covered in detail in the Medicor issue 2016 #1. March 2016 • Henrik Grönberg steps in as acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor. • The government asks to renew the KI university board and four board members are asked to step down. • The role of the Ethics Council is to be reviewed. April 2016 • Paolo Macchiarini is relieved of his duties. • New KI university board is proposed.

Photo credit: Staffan Larsson, Läkartidningen

August 2016 • The Karolinska University Hospital investigation of the case is presented. It is clearly stated that the Karolinska University Hospital is responsible for the transplants.

September 2016 • 2nd - The president of the KI University Board Lars Leijonborg asks to be relieved of his duties. • 5th - The report on the investigation led by Sten Heckscher is released. • 5th - All remaining board members appointed by the government are asked to step down. • 5th - Vice-Chancellor at the time of Macchiarini’s recruitment, Harriet Wallberg, is relieved of her duties as University Chancellor. • 6th - The KI university board directs the acting ViceChancellor, Karin Dahlman-Wright, to create an action plan. • 9th - Paolo Macchiarini is found guilty of misconduct in research according to the Central Ethical Review Board. • 15th - A nomination committee is appointed to propose candidates for the board.

Both employees and students have a responsibility to question and critically review all information given and decisions taken. This is true not only in science but also in creating an organization of high quality and trust. Information should always be given to a Vice-Chancellor even if they did not ask for it. What happens now? The acting Vice-Chancellor, Karin Dahlman-Wright, has been given the task of creating an action plan to deal with

the issues reported in the investigation. New rules regarding reporting subsidiary posts have already been established. The case of misconduct in research has been reopened. And the KI leaders are continuously discussing the culture at KI. The latter is something that Medicinska Föreningen takes a big part in, in order to make sure that students can feel safe at KI – especially in reporting things that are disconcerting. Medicinska Föreningen is a big part of KI’s work in the aftermath of Paolo Mac-

chiarini’s case through student representatives in the KI university board, the Vice-Chancellor decision meetings, in the Vice-Chancellor Management Group, and the Board of Higher Education. •

DO YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN MAKING KI A BETTER PLACE? Become a student representative! See more at medicinskaforeningen.se

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Science

Science snippets By Joanna Kritikou Neglected diseases now have a single cure Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness are caused by different parasitic infections and have for long been neglected because they afflict some (20 million) of the poorest people on Earth. If left untreated, they can all be fatal. Treatments up to now have been expensive and with severe side effects. However, researchers have reported a potential cure for all 3 diseases as they are all caused by similar parasites (kinetoplastids). Using a selective inhibitor of the kinetoplastid proteasome they found unprecedented in vivo efficacy, with mouse models of the 3 diseases successfully clearing parasites. (Nature, August 2016)

Photo credit: USFWSmidwest (Flickr)

Lab-grown corneas Researchers have successfully grown cornea cells in a petri dish. They developed ultra-thin polyethylene hydrofilms, upon which they were able to make sheep corneal endothelial cells (CECs) proliferate. CECs are responsible for maintaining the transparency of the cornea but they deteriorate with age as vision begins to decline. When transplanted back to the sheep, these films could significantly restore optical transparency. It goes without saying that this technique might substitute corneal transplants for those suffering from impaired vision. (Avanced Healthcare Material, September 2014)

Birds may protect against West Nile virus Referred to as the modern “geese that saved Rome”, Northern cardinals have been shown to provide a major defensive line against the West Nile virus in Atlanta, Georgia. The mosquito-borne disease has infected an estimated 780,000 North Americans since 1999. Georgia has proven surprisingly immune, considering that 1/3 of Atlanta-area birds have been infected. The virus is known to circulate among animals and only sometimes spill into nearby human populations. Northern cardinals are far less likely to have enough virus circulating in their blood to transmit the disease back to feeding mosquitoes. (American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, August 2016)

Tiny mind-controlled robots Science fiction seems to have come to life in a publication where researchers used what they refer to as mind-controlled nanorobots. One of the biggest problems in treating mental illness is that symptom flares are unpredictable. These nanorobots could be injected into patients’ brains and, after detecting abnormalities in neuronal activity, release the medication they are carrying. The robots consist of a shell of DNA strands and iron oxide nanoparticle “gates” that can open or close depending on the surrounding electromagnetic energy. (PLOS One, August 2016) Photo credit: Madaise (Flickr)

Immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease The monoclonal antibody aducanumab has been shown to reduce Aβ plaques in mice and now patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In a transgenic mouse model of AD, the antibody has been shown to enter the brain, bind Aβ and reduce both its soluble and insoluble form. In patients, monthly administration of aducanumab for one year was accompanied by a slowing of clinical decline. This is the most promising drug in the AD field in a very long time. (Nature, August 2016)

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano (Flickr)

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Remember the ice bucket challenge? It actually directly funded a major breakthrough in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. Wholeexome analyses of 1,022 familial ALS (FALS) cases and 7,315 controls were conducted, making it the largest ever study of genetically inherited ALS. Researchers identified a significant association between loss-of-function NEK1 variants and FALS risk. Even though NEK1 is only associated with 3% of all diagnoses, treating the NEK1 gene will successfully revolutionize the lives of around 168 people every year – and that is something. (Nature Genetics, September 2016)


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Science

Science

Pioneers of the future in synthetic biology Not a straight path in sight - students take steps into the unknown By Bethel Tesfai Embaie & Sigrun Stulz Photo by Manon Ricard Building a project from the ground up Imagine being a principal investigator - setting up research projects, determining experimental strategies, coordinating a team of scientists. Then put yourself into the shoes of a CFO, responsible for acquiring funding and managing finances. Or a speculative designer, producing visual art and graphics to engage people from all walks of life in your passion. We are all of this and more; iGEM Stockholm 2016 consists of 14 students who have spent close to a year initiating, financing and conducting a project in synthetic biology. Our team members have diverse educational backgrounds and experiences; from biotechnology, to medicine, to design and currently or previously studying at Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Konstfack. We came together in January in order to take part in International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM), the world’s largest competition in synthetic biology, organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Boston. The competition drives students to go above and beyond their fields of study to tackle societal issues using genetic modification. With over 300 teams competing from numerous renowned universities worldwide, iGEM encourages students to collaborate and expand their projects to create a stronger team foundation and synthetic biology network.

A call for young thinkers, explorers and innovators iGEM is a platform for innovative and creative students to think outside the box. It allows visions to become practical and science to become accessible. The competition is an incredible opportunity to partake in challenging project work, in a novel yet growing field of research. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the competition, iGEM connects various students from molecular biotechnology and medical biology to art and design to work together to form potential scientific solutions to critical medical and environmental problems. It also encourages curious students to participate in and take responsibility for fundamental aspects of research: project development, experimental planning, genetic engineering and system characterization. Moreover, the participants are required to reach out to the community to increase awareness of their project theme and aim to have a global impact. Finding our footing in a world full of possibilities When faced with having to single out one project from all of our ideas, one aspect of the iGEM competition made a big impression on us - we were completely free to pursue any project, independent of supervisors’ interests or the pressure to achieve high-impact publications. We seized this opportunity to create SMITe - Spider Silk

Mediated Infection Treatment, a wound dressing designed to help cure chronic wounds by attacking the bacterial biofilm which encapsulates and protects bacteria within. We planned to attach ‘combat proteins’ that degrade biofilm, to a scaffold made of recombinant spider silk; a nonimmunogenic, biodegradable material that’s fascinating in its own right. Now, after a summer filled with equal measures of hard work and fun, chronic wounds are still far from being cured but iGEM Stockholm 2016 has celebrated many achievements. We organised the Nordic iGEM conference, hosted open workshops to promote synthetic biology, tested biofilm-degrading enzymes and - what matters most in the true spirit of iGEM - we grew together and improved as a team. Although only a small part of our journey now remains; finalising our website and attending the Giant Jamboree, the three-day conference in Boston where all teams from across the globe meet and present their projects, we’ve been warned that iGEM has a funny way of getting under your skin. So if you’re thinking of joining iGEM next year, prepare to see us around! •

instagram: igemstockholm twitter: igemstockholm facebook: iGEM stockholm web: https://wiki.igem.se/ 15


Science

Self-driving cars Taking humans out of the equation By Olivia Miossec

Last month, the already-innovative company Uber launched its first self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, USA. Goodbye sharing economy, hello robot-driven market. It joins companies such as Tesla, Google and Ford in the race for the ultimate autonomous car. The car that will not only calculate the shortest route to work, or control your cruising speed on the highway but allow you to entirely let go of the wheel. Can this truly exist outside the pages of a science-fiction novel? And maybe more importantly, is this something we want? When you think of driverless cars, your mind may conjure Will Smith valiantly fighting robots aboard his fancy Audi in ‘I, Robot’ or Bruce Willis doing stunts among the flying vehicles in ‘The Fifth Element’. Maybe you shudder at the thought of Stephen King’s killer car ‘Christine’.

We are asked to become passive supervisors of our vehicles A number of companies are in the autonomous-car building race, but driverless cars today are nothing like these futuristic examples. First of all, completely driverless cars, such as the model championed by Google, are not available for public consumption, and may never be. Uber’s newly launched ‘autonomous’ taxis come with a driver and a front-seat engineer. While Tesla does have its selfdriving Model S on the market, this car is made to facilitate driving not replace it. Not really the dream automobile the movies envisioned for us. But we are getting there. Tesla’s Model S, while not entirely driverless, does offer self-driving features such as steering within a lane, changing lanes, breaking or speeding up without any human input. How does this work? For now, these cars have 360 degree cameras that act as their eyes. In suboptimal weather conditions, such as darkness or rain, they also use radars and ultrasounds, sensing obstacles miles away. The car’s software then registers all this information and gives appropriate commands to the vehicle. In this way, the software mimics the human cortex, but without the interference of human emotions – those that fuel our road rage, distract our attention from the road or cloud our senses. Unfortunately, 16

this technology is still not sophisticated enough to replace us. So while they can relieve us from the more mundane tasks of driving, Tesla’s cars still require drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times in case any complex or confusing situation arises. Just as a pilot with his plane on autopilot, we are supposed to give up our role of ‘main driver’ for the arguably duller task of ‘supervisor’. Does partial automation then pave the road to driver safety? Can humans work and successfully collaborate with AI? We are asked to become passive supervisors of our vehicles without physically interacting with the gears, pedals or the wheel. Arguably, this requires skills almost paradoxical to the promise of self-driving: constant alertness and quick thinking. Considering the frequency of accidents related to texting while driving, can we trust people with more physical freedom but increased mental taxation? This was tragically disputed by the recent fatal crash of a Tesla Model S. The car’s software could not distinguish a white truck against the bright morning sky. Even though Tesla had stipulated that the drivers should keep their hands on the wheel, the driver (it is believed) was watching a film at the moment of the crash. He was thus not alert enough to take control once the software failed. A similar phenomenon, and a possible premonition, is the ‘automation addiction’ encountered in aviation. In recent times, pilots appear to rely more and more on autopilot, which can lead to decreased alertness, and ultimately, inability to respond appropriately to technology failures. An infamous example is the Rio-Paris 2005 crash. While the problem initially began with a technical failure and loss of autopilot, it was the subsequent unpreparedness and erroneous response of the pilot that led to the plane’s ultimate dive into the ocean.

Would we drivers run into similar risks when relinquishing our power to technology? Would we still be able to rely on our senses and skills if our self-driving cars fail us? Is it then a possible solution to simply take the human out of the equation? This is the ambition of Google and its own fleet of self-driving cars. Unlike Tesla, they believe that self-driving cars should have no driver or steering wheel. Besides cameras and radars, they rely on the technology of ‘Light Detection and Ranging’ or Lidar. It consists of a cone-shaped device that rotates atop of Google’s cars, continuously shooting laser beams at every angle around the vehicles. As the light bounces off different objects, a real-time 3D map of the environment is created. An advantage

Driverless cars could provide increased autonomy to individuals with limiting handicaps over Tesla’s simple lasers is that Lidar can detect the shape and not only the presence of different obstacles. This, along with the cameras, the smart software, and redundant systems in the case of failure, is hoped to be enough for a car to drive itself. Unfortunately, there are still many problems to be solved before launching into an Isaac Asimov short story. The ‘eyes’ of the self-driving cars are imperfect. When lane markings are missing or covered by snow, we can adapt and rely on other environmental cues. By contrast, the ‘eyes’ and ‘brains’ of self-driving cars are not sophisticated or flexible enough to do this. Similarly, they simply cannot deal with bridges. With only emptiness ahead and no environmental cues around, the software cannot situate these bridges


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medicor

Science

Photo credit: Marc van der Chijs Follow (Flickr)

within their internal map. Therefore, for now, we can revel in the fact that while we, humans, may be easily distracted, at least we can drive across bridges without falling into the water (or most of us can). Another possible limitation in this utopian/dystopian scenario? Humans. Our emotions and irrational behaviour always seem to get in everyone’s way. Google cars have quite successfully driven around themselves, although they have been reported to be involved in twenty accidents. However, fifteen of those accidents were due to being rear-ended by a human-driven car. A journalist experiencing a ride in the autonomous Uber car noted that the driver usually had to take control of the commands when other manual drivers did something illegal. It seems that the smart software cannot comprehend why a car in a left-turn lane would turn right. The developers forgot to add ‘awareness of human stupidity’ into the algorithm. Furthermore, while human drivers often communicate their intent to each other through universal hand gestures or light signals, things may get more complicated once self-driving cars are on the road with us. How does one wave to a driverless car to go ahead at an intersection? Would a driverless car understand that it needs to let you back up into a parking space? Is the solution then to eradicate humandriven cars completely and have only selfdriving cars on the road? This would reduce the imperfect and erratic situations these poor cars would have to face in our presence. Vehicle to vehicle communica-

tion could be implemented in order for each car to transmit their intent and register that of others. Driving could then be more predictable, harmonious and safe. Ultimately, what would these cars provide us beyond the important albeit questionable feature of safety? They could give increased autonomy to individuals with limiting handicaps, such as blindness or reduced mobility. Drunk driving would

Self-driving cars may encourage us to further retreat from the real world and into our own bubbles be a thing of the past. Children could be picked up from school while their parents are at work. And maybe more importantly, our minds would be free from the taxing and repetitive act of driving. We would use our time more efficiently, with cars driving on as we sleep. The interior could be completely redesigned so that passengers could face each other, bonding and talking. Cars could become like mobile homes designed to increase our comfort during day long road trips. On the other hand, a fear shared by many is that increased safety while driving comes at a cost. Self-driving cars may indeed encourage us to further retreat from the real world and into our own private bubbles. As manual driving becomes

only a thing of video games, we may lose even more contact with our surrounding environment and disappear further into the alternate realities of our smart devices. While today we text, email, tweet or snap on crowded buses and subways, tomorrow we could be doing so in the confinement of our own cars. Is this truly a solution in a world where people already favour screens over faces and software over human relationships? Should we not instead encourage people to connect, empathize and communicate rather than allow them to ignore each other on the streets as they consult their social media and dating apps? There is also the question of big data. Today, all traces of our internet activity are shared and sold to companies and government agencies. With Google cars on the road, imagine the amount of information accumulated of your daily travels, your monthly trips or your location. Imagine every inch of our society being scanned by those 360 degree cameras! This is an extreme, dystopic and slightly paranoid view of things, but it is still an important one to consider. Ultimately, while there has been a lot of progress in the development of driverless cars, many questions and uncertainties still remain to be solved. Only the time, blood and sweat of Silicon Valley engineers will answer them. •

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Science

Sizzle

The science of sunburn By Caitrin Crudden Illustration by Matheus Dyczynski

As the sunlight fades from our Swedish world very quickly, we take a look at the nature of our relationship with the sun, and the potential danger our Scandinavian sun worshipping habits may hold. As I sit here, a few weeks after my south-east Asian vacation, peeling skin like a strange snake lady, it’s an apt time to ponder the frustrating trauma of sun induced skin damage. As a native of Ireland, I am blessed with skin so pale that it can only be classed as white in the summer months, as throughout the winter I’m a definite blue, and as a result seem to burn no matter how much I bathe in sun cream. Let’s take a moment to follow the sun light that we of Swedish residence spend the summer chasing, as winter ragged darkness has turned us into hypnotic moths. So you are on the beach, near or far, and you present your skin in worship to the great big ball of fire in the sky to feel its soothing warmth. Let’s, for a moment, hypothetically climb aboard a sunray and follow it earthwards. The ray of interest is ultraviolet (UV) light, a light that is of higher energy than that which we can see with our eyes. The protective ozone layer filters out the highest energy and most dangerous UV-C radiation, but it lets through some UV-A and UV-B, which reaches our poised beached bodies. As you feel the warmth, your skin is being bombarded with UV rays. If you 18

are not of a naturally dark pigmentation, this UV is detected by pigment producing cells in your skin called melanocytes. These cells rush to protect you against potential damage and start producing and redistributing a dark pigment called melanin. You can think of them like putting up lots of tiny brown umbrellas to protect the deeper down and more important cells (more on that later), and over time a tan will develop.

When the UV-B ray hits the DNA, connections between nucleotides form that are not supposed to be there At some point in time, an ancestor of mine acquired a random mutation in a melanin producing gene which meant that they were unable to produce this protective pigment any more. Normally, if a mutation arises which is particularly detrimental to an individual’s heath, it will not spread, because that carrier will be less likely to produce offspring, due to ill health or early death. In the case of melanin non-production, this is likely to

have stuck around because this ancestor had already migrated to an area of the world where direct sun exposure was not common enough to pose a high risk (logical, if you have ever experienced the 300 odd days of rain in Ireland per year). And hence, those with a milk-bottle like complexion like my own are more susceptible to sun induced skin damage, because we cannot produce that protective pigment melanin. Or to wrap up my metaphor, we do not have any little brown umbrellas, and are therefore much more likely to get wet. It is important to note here, whether the melanin protective mechanism is present or not, (darker pigments are still not completely protective, UV-B can still sneak through in some parts), dangerous UV-B rays reach the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. Even if you do have the ability to tan, unfortunately this process takes quite a period of time, and therefore a lot of damage can be done before your protective layer kicks in. In the meantime, UV rays penetrate the cell layers and enter individual cells, whizz past their cram packed contents and hit that central bag, the cell nucleus. The nucleus holds the genetic blueprint, the DNA, which carriers your genetic code in four


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molecules called nucleotides (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine), A binds to T, C binds to G and they make up the rungs or steps on that DNA twisted ladder picture you have in your head. The UV-B ray hits the DNA and jiggles about the delicate chemistry with its high energy. This causes “dimers” to form – connections between nucleotides that are not supposed to be there. As UV ray after UV ray come crashing into the DNA, and the delicate structure takes a beating, the cell environment starts to panic. Very quickly, blood vessels dilate and extra blood rushes into the skin, to nourish and aid those stressed cells. All this extra blood makes your skin appear red, swollen and hot to the touch. Inflammation then sets in, in a bid to repair the damage, increasing the swelling and pain.

Damaged cells will sit like a ticking time bomb under your skin A cell is designed to be able to recognize DNA damage, and to act to repair it, or in instances where the damage is too great, to initiate cell death so that these errors are not passed on to the next generation of cells. Most of the badly damaged cells in your outer most skin layer that experience UV-B damage will initiate apoptosis (cell death), die and shed off, hence the typical skin peeling after a bad burn. Even if something is not working within

the cell repair pathway, and one damaged cell manages to survive, its potential for harm is not too great, as it will be shed off very soon from your ever regenerating outer skin layer. That, in itself, is an innate protective mechanism; your outermost and most “exposed” cells will flake off and die instead of sticking around to pass on potential damage. The real danger lies in the cells that sit deeper within the skin layers. These cells are longer lived cells and give rise to many more daughter cells in their lifetime. These stem cell-like cells provide the upward movement of new epidermal cells to replace shedding skin. If these cells are hit with UV-B rays, and acquire DNA damage, and some of them manage to survive it, here you have the potential starting point of cancer development. This single damaged cell can survive and acquire more and more mutations, which make it grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a mass of damaged daughter cells, a tumor. These cancers are of the basal-cell and squamous-cell cancer variety, the most common types of skin cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, arises when the damage occurs directly in those melanocytes, the melanin producing cells. As you recover from your sun exposure, your burn slowly fades as the inflammation dies down, new cells are rushed through to compensate for all those damaged cells on the surface. You peel away to a fresh new skin, and you awe at how

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䈀愀猀愀氀 挀攀氀氀  挀愀爀挀椀渀漀洀愀

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your body has worked the wonder that it is and regenerated itself. All is well again with the world. But crucial damage a few layers down may be done and will not be repaired that day. These damaged cells will sit like a ticking time bomb under your skin.

It takes one damaged cell to cause cancer In contrast to some other cancer types, the rates of skin cancer are on the rise quite dramatically, due in part to an increase in damaging sun exposure habits. In Sweden alone, there are 45,000 new cases every year. Despite having a sun-deprived climate Sweden peaks the European statistics, due to sun-seeking habits and Solarium tanning. Although a melanoma caught early is easily treated with local surgery, but if caught late, and already malignant (spread throughout the body) the 5 year survival is soberingly low at 15-20%. Malignant melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in Sweden. The repair and regeneration ability of the human body is awe-inspiring. But it is not infallible. The higher the exposure to mutagenic agents, the greater the chance that a mutation will arise that cannot be repaired. It takes one damaged cell to cause cancer. Look after your skin.

匀焀甀愀洀漀甀猀 挀攀氀氀   挀愀爀挀椀渀漀洀愀 匀焀甀愀洀漀甀猀  挀攀氀氀猀

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Nobel

THE NOBEL PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE By Veronika Kremer Photo by Sandra Mekidiche Yoshinori Ohsumi from Japan

has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy” by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet. To his own surprise, he is the single winner of this year’s award worth 8 million Swedish kronor, joining only 38 other sole Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine. Autophagy, derived from the Greek term for “self-eating”, is an essential mechanism of degradation and recycling of cellular material in eukaryotic cells that supports a number of important physiological processes. When cells are starved or otherwise physiologically stressed, autophagy is turned on to rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for renewal of cellular components. Cells can use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria after an infection. But autophagy also operates continuously at basal levels, eliminating damaged proteins and whole organelles, thereby maintaining cellular homeostasis. Disruptions in the autophagic process are linked to cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and the negative consequences of aging. Although autophagy had been known since the 1960’s, it was not until Yoshinori Ohsumi’s paradigm-shifting studies in baker’s yeast in the 1990’s that the mechanism and the physiological relevance of this fundamental process were understood.

The discovery of autophagy In the mid 1950’s, the Belgian scientist Christian de Duve discovered the lysosome, an organelle containing proteolytic enzymes that could digest cellular contents, which earned him the Nobel Prize. Further observations revealed a new type of double membrane-bound vesicles, the autophagosomes, which could transport large amounts of cellular cargo to the lysosome for degradation – the term autophagy was born. But despite some indications of the importance of autophagy, the research on the lysosome and its yeast pendant, the vacuole, was largely left to flounder. “The vacuole was thought to be just a garbage can in the cell, and not very many people were interested in its physiology, so I thought it would be good to study transport in the vacuole because I would not have much competition”, Ohsumi said in an interview with the Journal of Cell Biology in 2012. Being fond of light microscopy, Ohsumi came up with a simple, but efficient idea: He would engineer yeast cells that lacked vacuolar proteolytic enzymes and observe any changes to the vacuole after he induced nutrient starvation. Indeed, within hours of starvation, vacuoles filled up with vesicles (called autophagic bodies) containing cytoplasmic components because they could not be degraded – Ohsumi had proved that autophagy exists in yeast cells!

Yoshinori Ohsumi Born: 1945, Fukuoka, Japan Affiliation at the time of the award: Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan Prize motivation: “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy”. Prize share: 1/1

The process of autophagy 1. Formation of the autophagosome. Cellular material targeted for degradation is isolated from the rest of the cell within a double-membraned vesicle called the autophagosome. 2. Fusion with the lysosome/vacuole. The autophagosome’s outer membrane fuses with the lysosome/vacuole. 3. Degradation of the autophagosome’s inner membrane. The autophagosome’s inner membrane is released into the lysosome/vacuole and digested by proteases. 4. Degradation of cellular material. As the target cellular material is no longer protected by the autophagosome’s inner membrane, it is also degraded by proteases in the lysosome/vacuole.

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Nobel

PRIZES 2016

More importantly, with these engineered yeast strains that accumulated autophagic bodies upon starvation, Ohsumi now held a unique tool in his hands to study which genes were involved in autophagy. By inducing random mutations in individual yeast cells and screening them, yet again, under the microscope in starvation conditions, one of Ohsumi’s first PhD students found the first autophagy-defective mutant. The mutant could not accumulate autophagic bodies in the vacuole and died quicker than not mutated cells in starvation medium. The responsible gene was named autophagy 1 or APG1 (the nomenclature later changed to ATG). Screening thousands of mutants following this method, Ohsumi quickly identified 14 more essential genes required for autophagy. Not settling for that, Ohsumi’s lab cloned the ATG genes and characterized the functions of the proteins they encoded. Their ground-breaking studies revealed how stress signals induced autophagy and delineated the

dynamic cascade of proteins and protein complexes that underlie autophagosome formation and elongation before it fuses with the vacuole.

The road to Nobel Yoshinori Ohsumi was born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan, and received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in the field of molecular biology. Although the 1970’s were the “Golden Age” of molecular biology, Ohsumi struggled to find a position in Japan as the results from his PhD work in E.coli were poor. His adviser suggested a postdoctoral position at the Rockefeller University in New York, where he was to establish in vitro fertilization in mice. “That was the hardest time in my life. I grew very frustrated”, Ohsumi told the Journal of Cell Biology. Fortunately, he soon got the opportunity to switch to studies of DNA duplication in yeast. Back at the University of Tokyo as a junior professor, Ohsumi continued to work with

yeast, but this time he focused on the vacuole. Eventually, at the age of 43, Ohsumi started his own laboratory and took up work on protein degradation in the vacuole – the rest is history which led up to his Nobel Prize nearly 30 years later. Ohsumi is currently professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. • Nobel Laureates Drawing: Ill. N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016. Sources: The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine - Press Release”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 12 Oct 2016. http://www. nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2016/press.html> Yoshinori Ohsumi: Autophagy from beginning to end. Caitlin Sedwick. J Cell Biol Apr 2012, 197 (2) 164-165; DOI: 10.1083/jcb.1972pi The process of autophagy: Modified from: http://www.ohsumilab.aro.iri.titech.ac.jp/researcheng.html

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Nobel

THE NOBEL Physics By Se whee Park Photo by Sayoni Chakraborty The 2016 Nobel prize in Physics

has been awarded to three British professors David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz for their work in the “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”. Topology is a mathematical field of study that investigates how properties of a space change when it is subjected to deformations. Fitting in with Kanelbullens dag, Thors Hans Hansson, a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics, held up a cinnamon bun, a bagel and a pretzel, “topologists only care about one thing, the holes”. A cinnamon bun has no holes, a bagel has one and a pretzel two. No matter how the bread is stretched or compressed their topological properties, in this case the holes, would not change. Topological changes are not gradual; they occur in discrete whole-numbered steps. Still holding up the pastries Hansson continued, “Now I challenge you to imagine what is half a hole. You cannot have half a hole”.

The three Nobel laureates discovered the relationship between this mathematical principle of topology and the quantum behaviour that occurs in unusual phases of matter like superconductors, superfluids, or thin magnetic fields. Quantum behaviours are usually observed at very cold temperatures (near absolute zero, 22

-273°C), where resistance ceases. It is at these extremely cold conditions that superconductors that conduct electrical flows with no resistance and superfluids with vortexes that spin forever, can exist. In the 1970s Kosterlitz and Thouless noticed that atoms layered singularly in a sheet called a “flatland” changed phases in topological steps by forming vortexes. Thouless also showed how electrical conductance in a Quantum Hall Effect model increased in precise discrete steps even though the magnetic field applied to it had a smooth transition. Later in the 80s, Haldane reported his discovery of a new type of topological material by looking at chains of magnetic atoms with even atomic numbers. “Suddenly people were realising that this was a tremendously rich field of topic” Haldane said online during the Nobel announcement. Since their discoveries

there has been several successive findings of unexpected topological states of matter as well as the development of topological insulators, a substance that both conducts and insulates electricity simultaneously. The laureates believe that there will be an ever increasing growth within this field of research, or as Hansson put it “Scientists are hoping for practical applications for new electronics, new materials [and] components of quantum computers.” •


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Nobel

PRIZES 2016 CHEMIsTRy By Sibel Ilter Photo by Puck Norell “This year’s nobel prize in chem-

istry is about the world’s smallest machines,” announced Göran K. Hansson, secretary general at the Royal Swedish academy of Sciences, shortly before awarding the Nobel Prize in chemistry to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Bernard L. Feringa and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart.

nents could be controlled by threading a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle in order to move the ring along the axle. What he had developed was a rotaxane, a dumbbell shaped molecules with a donut ring in between it. The addition of heat furthered the control of the molecular machine, and molecular lift and molecular muscle were developed. The ring was able to slide up and down as well as contract and expand. Eight years later, in 1999, Feringa from University of Groningen in the Netherlands became the first person to develop the molecular motor. He used the idea of adding energy to produce spinning motions. He subsequently used motors to rotate a glass cylinder 10,000 times larger than the actual motor and also created a so-called nanocar by linking several motors together.

Humans are still far away from the age of huge commercial nano-robots. The world stands on the precipice of a huge paradigm shift but it is still unsure what to do with the invention. In a phone call from the Royal Academy of Sciences, Feringa mentioned the Wright brothers. People were excited and optimistic once the first flying machine was constructed in the early 1900s, yet the world still seemed unsure what to do with the knowledge. “And today we have Boeing 747s,” Feringa concluded. Nano-machines await their Dreamliner moment. •

The Nobel Committee reasoned their decision by awarding the chemists for the design and synthesis of molecular machines so small they could be standardized on a nanometer scale: “A thousand times smaller than the width of a hair!” Molecular motors, elevators, muscles, even nanocars were some of the things mentioned by the Nobel Committee to describe the molecular machines invented by chemist-trio. Jean-Pierre Sauvage works at the University of Strasbourg in France. In 1983, Sauvage successfully linked two ringshaped molecules to form a chain by a mechanical bond. When one ring moved, the other one would move in relation to it. His team had, in effect, created a nanoscale mechanical device. The ability of one ring to move another is foundational to machines. But the device could not yet be controlled. In 1991, Stoddart working at the Northwestern University in Illinois, United States, demonstrated that the ring compo23


Global Focus

Ranking the Rankings

Do rankings matter and what do they mean?

By Zach Chia The season of university rankings has drawn to a close and KI’s rankings this time around make for good reading. KI improved its rankings in the Shanghai-based, Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) from 48th to 44th and retained its 28th position on the London-based Times Higher Education (THE) ranking. As of the time of writing the subject rankings from the third major

Rankings provide a metric to judge how well a country is performing rank index (Quacquarelli Symonds, QS) has not been released. KI is not ranked in the QS index as it is considered a specialist institution. But beyond a cursory glance and the feel good glow when the university does well, do these rankings actually matter, and how? University rankings matter, just ask India. In 2012, India’s Higher Education regulatory board announced rules that would only allow Indian universities to partner with universities ranked in the global top 500. According to Webometrics, there are around 10,000 tertiary institutions worldwide. India is not alone. University rankings are increasingly being used by governments, administrations, academics and students when making decisions. In 2013 the South Korean government launched a third iteration of its human resource project (BK21) targeting the hiring of top foreign faculty in a drive to boost its research at both basic and applied levels. Part of the metrics used to determine the success of the programme is the eventual rankings of their universities. In 2015, the Singapore law ministry revised its list of approved foreign law degrees. A total of 8 British universities were removed from the list sparking concern from university authorities, students and parents alike. University World News noted that in its recommendations the Singapore Institute of Legal Education remarked that the rankings were “reviewed and updated to better reflect the current rankings of UK law schools”. Obviously, how the rankings are viewed depends on the pair of reading glasses one wears. When the rankings make for good reading, they are seen as 24

affirmation of the good work of the institution. When the rankings turn into a nightmare, there is criticism of the metrics as well as consternation over the results. Academic papers have been written over both the ranking systems as well as whether countries should amend policies because of these rankings. Apart from national pride, these rankings matter to governments because advancement in research and engineering success has been correlated with economic development and is a powerful marker of a developed country. Rankings provide a metric to judge how well a country is performing. The fact that research is seen as an engine for economic growth is part of the reason behind the rapid rise of Asian universities in these rankings. Despite its popularity, global university rankings are a relatively new invention, appearing first in 2003 with the Shanghai-based Academic Ranking of World Universities and signalling the maturation of the age of Higher Education as an economic commodity (think of the buzzword, knowledge-based economy).

A good ranking system needs to negotiate many different higher educational landscapes across continents It was launched by the Shanghai Jiaotong University with the aim of ranking the academic excellence of universities worldwide and to measure the gap between these top Universities and China’s universities. The metric developed then was relatively au courant with the academic literature on world-class universities namely: excellence in research; leading academics; academic freedom and an atmosphere of intellectual excitement; internal self-governance; adequate facilities, administrative and technical support; and sufficient funding for research and teaching. A British version was released in 2004 when Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds jointly produced the rankings, the two later became independent and ranked universities on their own metrics. Picking up on the deficiencies of the Chinese ranking, the British version argued that there was more to a worldclass university than a narrow, science-

heavy, award-focused, history-biased methodology could measure. The former three are the main players currently in the ranking business. Although newer ranking systems such as the Centre for World University Ranking and the U-Multirank have been established in the last few years, the most attention continues to be paid to the former three. Ranking universities across the world is tricky business. A good ranking system needs to negotiate many different higher educational landscapes across continents. The Bologna Process which was first signed in 1999 to standardise and harmonise European university standards is still an ongoing effort. Attempting to measure European universities on its own is difficult enough, but a global ranking must compare nations too. And no regional community has unified higher education to the level of the EU. At the same time, within each educational setup are varying types of institutions such as private liberal arts colleges and science heavy universities. A good system of measure needs to compute a metric to measure large institution with perhaps more than 30,000 students against a small college with barely 5000 students. Then there are comparisons between research intensive universities and teaching heavy universities. It is a mammoth task. In spite of all these challenges, the human need for resolving uncertainty (who is best) is more compelling than the interpretive limitations posed by the rankings and consequently rankings have grown in importance, with policy makers, parents, students and academics using this metric to determine which universities to apply to. But what should the interested individual pay attention to and what do these metrics say? The best place to start would be to understand what each ranking looks at. The ARWU evolved out of a Chinese initiative to measure its ranking compared to other universities so the metrics are designed to penalize Chinese universities and make them work harder. The ARWU rewards research intensive universities and cumulative awards (Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals etc). As such the variations and jumps are much rarer – universities are huge cruise ships, they don’t change course within a few months


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Global Focus

Photo credit: Zach Chia for Medicor

and see effects in a year. As these metrics are academic heavy, the view provided is one of academic excellence. However, the ARWU uses a century worth of data, which according to its critics has the tendency to punish younger universities that do not have such a history. In a comparative assessment the younger and more dynamic universities lose out, the best examples can be found in Asia, where the fast rising universities in Asia are mostly young (less than 50) and barely make a blip in this ranking.

Current rankings are silent on student quality European Universities with unique histories also lose out. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin were removed from the system as these two successor systems could not agree on which of their former Nobel winning faculty belonged to whom (among them a certain Albert Einstein). The QS ranking is reputation heavy, so how the scholars and employers feel will heavily determine the rank. This means that it will be useful tracking what the academics think and by extension where they would prefer to go to. The QS system is more responsive but less rewarding of awards and achievement, which has its drawbacks – since the argument would be that it is overly subjective. The converse would be true with the ARWU. The THE ranking is also a reputation heavy system with attempts to balance that off with more objective parameters such as how many times a research paper is cited; in a way it is the most balanced in intention – whether the proxies chosen are good indicators is another thing.

This broad overview also reveals at least five things that the rankings do not study. First, the rankings are silent on student quality. The assumption is apropos that the more highly ranked institution should attract better achieving students. But this flies in the face of empirical observations. Students from India’s IITs are some of the most sought after graduates worldwide, and yet the highest ranked IIT (IIT Bombay) placed in the 351th to 400th band in the THE rankings and 219th in the QS rankings. Basically student quality does not affect rankings. Second, there is also no strong measure on teaching. The closest proxy used is the staff/student ratio with the idea that the smaller the ratio the better the teaching. It doesn’t however take into account the size of the different departments; how many staff are actually teaching students or more subjective measures like how effective the lecturer is. While the idea of teaching and research being antagonistic opposites is more myth than fact, there is no correlation (in either direction) between teaching standards and research quality in any direction. Third, student outcomes are not included in the measures. Employment statistics are not something that university rankings look at. While the ideal end of education is the broadening of the mind, the practical reason for higher education is to reach a better start platform in a career. Not all rankings consider this. Fourth, hard rankings do not capture the intangibles. This is a generally elusive factor that may play a role in why prestigious colleges are preferred. The same reason why thousands of students apply to Dartmouth College (for example) de-

spite it not ranking highly on these rankings. The late John F Kennedy’s entrance essay to Harvard captured this succinctly “I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university…To be a ‘Harvard man’ is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.” Fifth, data on publications are taken from the ISI or Thomson Reuters that rank only English-medium journals. This has the effect, as argued by academics, of showing an Anglo-American dominance that is more biased than it truly should be and penalising non-English major countries. Some have argued that part of the reason Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands perform very well in these rankings is down to their adoption of the Anglo-American model in science.

Publications are taken from only Englishmedium journals Despite its flaws, in this age of global mobility university rankings perform an important role of measuring the broad Higher Education landscape. All the three major rankings do a fair job at measuring the academic reputation and research output of an institution but not the educational quality of the institution nor the employment outcomes of the student. For nations that want to measure the scientific economic output of their country these matrices serve their purpose. For students, the overall trend is probably more helpful and informative than the minute specifics and it pays to know what is being measured. •

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Global Focus

From footnote to headline

– a yellow fever outbreak

By Devy Elling

Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the painful lesson yellow fever is teaching us

in the 1930s a powerful vaccine was developed and occurrence had decreased tremendously.

In December 2015, a case of yellow fever in Luanda, Angola was detected. This was the first case that birthed a full blown outbreak in Angola and its neighbouring countries. Distant countries like China have also reported cases of yellow fever linked to Angola, making this the most serious outbreak since the 1930s.

By the turn of the millennium, the last frontier of the disease was West Africa. Since the Yellow Fever Initiative was launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006 no major outbreaks had been detected in West Africa. The world seemed safe from the once fatal infection. The disease became a footnote in textbooks. Yet, the epidemiological yellow fever almost poetically jumped from the textbook to reality.

The first written record of yellow fever was in Barbados in 1647 and the virus had gone on to plague humanity for almost three centuries. Yellow fever was (and still is) particularly virulent in West Africa and South America. However, this does not mean that other regions are immune. One of the most infamous incidents linked to yellow fever was the Philadelphia (then the capital of the United States) plague of 1783 which wiped out 10 percent of the whole population.

The first reported case in Angola in December 2015 proved not to be an isolated incident but the first drop in a flood of infections. The number of suspected cases in Angola continued to rise in the beginning of 2016. Because the brunt of the disease was in West Africa, vaccination campaigns against yellow fever were not prioritised in Eastern, Southern and Central Africa (Angola is a southern African nation) and any in these populations remained vulnerable to the virus.

A virus of such proportions demanded steps to eradicated it. Money and research was poured into studying the disease and

The Angolan Ministry of Health ordered 5 million vaccine doses to vaccinate her citizens in Luanda from further spread.

However, the order size was not enough to allow for a mass vaccination of the whole Angolan population (21 million) to prevent further transmission. Barely a month later Democratic Republic Congo and China reported cases in connection. Uganda and Ethiopia followed closely with reports of related infections. The Chinese case was particularly worrying as Asia has not had a history of yellow fever outbreaks. The outbreak reporting system ProMED mail warned that Asia’s luck might run out, as vaccine stockpiles in the continent were insufficient. Should the infection spread in Asia, there would be almost no Asian country prepared to deal with the fall out. In April this year, Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated, “[the yellow fever epidemic was] the most serious outbreak of yellow fever that Angola has faced in 30 years”. The European Disease for Control and Prevention (ECDC) reported an increase in the number of cases and mortality. While national governments seemed to have dropped the ball, the WHO was much more prepared. In fact, the WHO responded to yellow fever outbreaks quick-

WHAT IS YELLOW FEVER? –– A viral infection caused by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. –– There are approximately a million cases globally occurring sporadically and not as part of an outbreak, located mainly in Africa and South America. –– Transmission occurs in three ways; sylvatic (mosquitoes passed virus from monkeys to humans), intermediate (mosquitoes commonly have contacts with humans), and urban transmission (mosquitoes do not need other primates to infect humans). –– Urban transmission is common, and has become most dangerous due to increase travel. –– No symptoms are shown in incubation period, about 3-6 days after contact with virus. –– 15% of all individuals with flu-like symptoms, e.g. nausea, muscle ache, loss of appetite in acute phase and the development of jaundice and failure in other bodily systems in toxic phase. 26


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Global Focus

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org

er than to Zika or Ebola. Only a few weeks after the first case was detected, they collaborated with international groups to start mass vaccination campaigns in Angola. Besides the mass vaccination campaigns, mosquito control and surveillance were conducted in different parts of the country. The crisis seems to have eased, all in 4000 Angolans, 2400 Congolese and 90 Ugandans have been detected in this time. The death toll stands at 400. Fortunately, no new cases have been identified, suggesting a decrease of disease transmission. By the time Science interviewed them, the WHO was in the position to clarify that the outbreak was not an emergency because the international spread had decelerated and vaccine supplies were recovering. The outbreak broke because of our human ability to forget history. It may have happened in Africa today, but it does not mean a similar outbreak cannot reappear closer to home. Two years ago, we heard devastating counts of lives lost due to Ebola. Last year, we heard about Zika, and earlier this year, it was yellow fever. And yet the yellow fever story is different. This is not an unexpected, unplanned disease. The spread happened because yellow fever was not properly prevented. The steps required to prevent yellow fever are fairly direct - vaccination and contact avoidance with mosquitoes in high-risk areas. However, due to inadequate vaccination campaigns, at-risk populations had not been immunised in many parts of the world.

How can we improve our healthcare systems in order to prevent a disastrous outbreak of previously treated diseases in the future? Vaccine could be integrated into each country’s health policy. This would have the effect of lowering the risk of contracting a disease. On a logistical front, compulsory vaccination would have the best reach of all potential at risk individuals. Yet, there is a cultural component to every country or region. A compulsory vaccination may reach a huge chunk of the population, but it can also have an adverse effect when the population feels as

Eventually, yellow fever became a mere footnote in textbooks though they are forced to get something injected in their body without fully understanding what it is. Small populations in backward regions have been known to reject vaccine treatment. There is also a growing anti-vaccination trend particularly in some developed countries. The best solution to this is by spending on public health education for the general public. While the practical steps are straightforward, the decision making process is more complicated. First, inadequate vaccination campaigns may be overshadowed by other competing priorities. The recent successful history against yellow

fever would further drive down the priority of yellow fever vaccination. A lack of commercial demand would lead to a fall in production, which would result in rising cost per drug and longer lead times for production. Second, in places where yellow fever is not prevalent, how does the government fund a vaccine that is desperately needed? Few governments are in a position to subsidise vaccination of a potentially unimportant disease. Third, controls on foreign travellers to and from the country. Visitors might not always have against different diseases in foreign country. With increasing travel within and between nations, transmission risk follows the same pattern. Can countries with high transmission risk enforce some control about visitors’ health coverage without hurting tourist numbers? This year, we have seen how an outbreak created chaos in the health sector. We sometimes forget that diseases, such as yellow fever, existed. Our complacence would be our failure. As the yellow fever outbreak has shown, diseases that have previously occurred can happen again. Healthcare policy and lessons must be learnt from this near scare – we must continually watch that the footnotes do not again become headlines. A sustainable solution is more complex we think, yet a solution needs to be derived because complacency is a dangerous option. • 27


Culture

Ballet for beginners: A review of Midsommarnattsdröm at Kungliga Operan By Ben Libberton

Despite coming from the land that gave us Billy Elliot, I’ve never really been interested in ballet. However, living in Stockholm and having the Kungliga Operan showing Midsommarnattsdröm on my doorstep, how could I resist attending my very first ballet performance? My friends and I arrived just in time which actually means, we arrived a little late. We were seconds away from being refused entry, which I would have known if I wasn’t so culturally challenged. You can’t interrupt a ballet performance, people, you just can’t. It didn’t help that we were all taking photos in the beautifully decorated lobby. Staircases led up on all sides and in the middle stood a tall midsummer pole, covered entirely in hay. It was spectacularly lit to cast long and quite eerie shadows which, in retrospect, fitted in very well with the performance we were about to see. We hurriedly entered the showroom on the second floor after a slightly panicked detour trying to find the right seats. 28

Without knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the first act. After having lived in Sweden for three years, I could appreciate the parody that the show made to the typical behavior of Swedes (native and adopted) at midsummer. There was drinking, fornication, bicycles, flowers and a whole lot of hay. One of the most memorable scenes was the midsummer feast itself which was performed by the cast in slow motion and reminded me of an epic battle scene from a movie. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen midsummer nights like that. All of this was performed on a stage that went much further back than I had seen before which made the show all the

more impressive, especially as we had a slight aerial view. The curtain dropped and I felt like I had been thoroughly entertained. Fortyfive minutes passed in the blink of an eye and I had laughed, listened to great music and witnessed stunning c h o r e o g r a p h y. Having said that, I was quite happy to escape for a while as it felt like the temperature of the room had been steadily ris-


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Don’t miss out: The opera “Barbaren i Sevilla” (The Barber of Seville) Now - Dec 15 The ballet “Nötkäpparen” (The Nutcracker) Nov 25 - Dec 3

Photo credit: Hans Nilsson for Kungliga Operan

ing since we sat down and I was ready for some air, and possibly a beer. The bells rang to call us in for act two and I composed myself to cope with the heat once again. As I settled into my seat, I was expecting more of the same. Act two however, was entirely different. If the first act was the dream, then the second was the nightmare. It was dark. It was abstract and in parts, downright weird. I felt like I was in a Salvador Dali painting. As a complete ballet noob, this is all the commentary I can offer. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I spent quite a lot of time looking for meaning where there might actually have been none. My dancer friend Dr. Erika Olsson explained it to me, “Contemporary dance can look at phenomena, behavior or society in order to highlight absurdity rather than creating a storyline. Many choreographers aim to create a sense of reflection on a situation or an emotion around

a given theme. When watching a contemporary dance piece, you don’t have to look for a story but instead focus on the movement of the dancers and the mood on stage, then focus on how it makes you feel, or if it makes you think of something about society. Every audience member can take something different away from the performance depending on their own thoughts and experiences.” So that was my mistake, I should have focused on the elements of the dance itself which were undoubtedly very impressive. This is good to know as I will surely be attending the ballet at Kungliga Operan again. While Midsommarnattsdröm has finished, the Autumn and Winter schedule are crammed with an exciting mixture of opera and ballet. If you are ballet noob like me, I recommend that you put on your finest clothes and make an evening of the ballet. •

Tips for other noobs: Be on time! An introduction to the show will be held (in Swedish) 45 minutes before its start. Wear a smart outfit. Tickets for students and people under 26 are cheaper when booked online. Lunch concerts are shown during weekdays for 275 SEK. If you want to take a look at the building, guided tours to the Kungliga Operan are held on Saturdays for 120 SEK. Visit: www.operan.se 29


Culture

Blåslaget celebrates its 30 year anniversary at MF! By Petter Johansson Tuesday evenings are the highlight of the week for some 40 members of Medicinska Föreningen. It is time for the weekly rehearsal for the wind orchestra Blåslaget and its dance group Dragplåstret. At this particular time of the year, there’s a lot to prepare for. Blåslaget has been a popular and active part of Medicinska Föreningen since its founding in 1985. The repertoire is mainly dominated by both Swedish and international popular music, arranged for an orchestral setting. Occasionally, jazz tunes and classical pieces are also being performed. At most of the major parties at KI, such as the welcoming party for new students in September and January and the Lucia Ball in December, Blåslaget is responsible for the much appreciated musical entertainment. In addition, the orchestra and dance group regularly perform outside the walls of MF, performing for, and cooperating with, other student musicians and dancers in the rest of the country. Each year, for example, Blåslaget takes part in a major student orchestra festival – ”Studentorkesterfestivalen” – taking place in May in either Uppsala or Linköping. However, what Blåslaget is currently rehearsing for is arguably the highlight of the year for the orchestra and dance

group. 2016 marks the 30 year anniversary of Dragplåstret, and of course, that should be celebrated. As is the tradition for these anniversaries, it will be celebrated with a large concert starring the musicians and dancers together, though with more focus on the dance performances of Dragplåstret. The dance group was founded one year after the founding of the orchestra. Last year, a similar anniversary was therefore held for the orchestra. Former members of Blåslaget were a significant part of the audience, as were members of other student orchestras. The concert will resemble a sort of musical drama, with a light, humorous script that has been written specifically for the concert. The title of the concert is called ”Storslaget!” – Swedish for ”grandiose” – and the theme of the script is about the origin of Dragplåstret. The concert will be performed in Swedish, but most songs will be familiar for international ears. The evening calls for various nonmusical preparations on behalf of the Blåslaget members, such as writing the script, rewriting the lyrics of known tunes that will be performed, as well as acquiring or creating the theatrical props used on stage. In addition, the mu-

sical preparations are quite intense, as there are lots of new songs and choreographies to rehearse in order to perform them during the concert. It sure is tough, but most of all, it’s fun! Blåslaget’s weekly rehearsals at 6.00 pm every Tuesday are a fun and rewarding break from the studies. Musicians and dancers get to practice their hobby as well as meet new and old friends. Although the performing standards are ambitious, Blåslaget welcomes members of various musical and dancing experience. Enjoying performing with each other is the most important thing to strive for. Any MF member who plays either a wind instrument, drums, guitar, bass, piano, sings or dances, is welcome to join Blåslaget! The anniversary concert will take place at the auditorium of Medicinska Föreningen, on the 19th of November at 4.00 p.m. Tickets cost 100 kr and can either be acquired at the entrance on the day of the concert or in advance by accesing the Facebook event “Storslaget” which has been shared in the KI Students group. Of course, the event is open to all, and it’s a great opportunity to experience what the members of Medicinska Föreningen can accomplish together! •

Photo credit: Carl Vikard

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Vågar du prata svenska?

Culture

8 ways to overcome the anxiety of speaking Swedish

By Teodora Petrova If you are trying to learn Swedish, you may have already discovered that this is no small feat. There are free courses you can take (Swedish for immigrants or Language@KI), as well as a range of apps and websites (Duolingo, Memrise, Rosetta Stone), which will boost your reading, vocabulary, and grammar skills. But daring to incorporate speaking Swedish in your daily life still remains the hardest part. That is why I will offer some inspiration for you to break the language barrier and advance towards proficiency, while exploring Stockholm and engaging in fun activities.

Beginner: 1. Just go for it. Next time you order fika, do it in Swedish! Start by saying the simple: “En kaffe och en kannelbulle, tack!”. Be prepared that you will be asked: “Är det bra så?” (“Is that all?”) and “Vill du ha kvittot?” (“Do you want to have the receipt?”). Just answer: “Ja, tack!”, say “Hej då”, and you are done! After performing this routine a few times, you will be more confident asking other simple questions in shops or on the street. Do not get discouraged if you get a response in English; we have all been there! You may yourself switch back to English, if you find it hard to keep up. Just try again the next time; the first steps are always the hardest. 2. Museums/exhibitions/fairs. Learn to combine the pleasant with the useful.

Whenever you are in a museum, pick up the Swedish brochure instead of the English one. Alternatively, gain some cultural insight by visiting the unceasing events around the city. For example, Sthlm food and wine, the largest fair for food and beverages in the Nordics, will take place on November 10-13. If you are interested in photography, choose the parallel event Fotomässan instead. 3. Language cafes/Literature circles. Most libraries around Stockholm offer the opportunity to not only practice your conversation skills, but also read books suitable for learners and discuss them once a week. Just google “Språkcafé” and “Lättläst bokcircel” to find the one nearest to you.

Intermediate: 4. Music. Stop skipping the Swedish songs on Spotify, and try to understand and memorize the lyrics. This will also help you to interact with the Swedes on the next night out; sing along instead of standing awkwardly because you do not know the song. Check out the latest tune from Laleh, for example “Aldrig Bli Som Förr”. 5. Movies. You will be pleasantly surprised by the Swedish movies, in regards to production value, plot, characters, and most importantly, humor. This season we recommend “Jag älskar dig – en skilsmässokomedi” (“I Love You – A

Divorce Comedy”), which follows an estranged couple through a series of uncomfortable situations. You can also see “Flykten till framtiden” (“My Future Love”), the story of a 20-year old with an incurable heart condition who travels to the future and falls in love. Moreover, each movie has Swedish subtitles, in case you do not trust your listening skills. 6. Attend events/seminars at KI. For example, the Student Health Center regularly organizes lunch seminars in Swedish, both in Huddinge and Solna.

Advanced: 7. Sign up for a course. Maybe you will feel more comfortable practicing the language with people who share the same passion as you! Sports and dance classes, cooking workshops, etc. around the city are mostly offered in Swedish. However, they warmly welcome English speakers. Are you up for such a challenge? Check out the Stockholm Krav Maga Center in S:t Eriksplan (self-defense courses), Sthlm Raw in Hornstull (raw fika desserts course), or find your own at kurser.se. 8. Volunteer. Why not learn Swedish, while doing something good? You can find many opportunities on the Voluntärbyrån official website, including organizing fika for elderly people, charity fundraising, helping kids with their homework, or answering a hotline. Lycka till! •

Photo credit: Simon Paulin (imagebank.sweden.se)

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Culture

Keep calm and brunch on

There are only two reasons to get out of bed on the weekend: 1/ Scheduled laundry 2/ Brunch

By Olivia Miossec

Oh the glorious brunch, the young hipster’s favourite meal of the day. It is simultaneously the perfect cure for that ‘one rum coke too many’ hangover and a much needed push to start the dissertation-writing day. Luckily for us, Stockholm has quite a decent number of lovely brunch spots. Here are some suggestions:

The popular one: Greasy Spoon

Tjärhovsgatan 19, 116 28 Stockholm Warning: This British hipster brunch spot at the heart of Södermalm is insanely popular and also happens to not take reservations. About 50% of the times I go, the wait is about one hour. To avoid this scenario, it is best to either show up before 10 am, during the week, or befriend someone living nearby who can pop down and put your names on the waiting list. I have yet to achieve the latter. Luckily, with a second restaurant recently opened at Hagagatan 4, the chances of getting a table within the hour might increase. Although this may be an inconvenience, the menu is definitely worth the early wake-up. There are very few places in Stockholm that can offer fluffy Americanstyle pancakes, or a typical full English breakfast (bacon, sausages and eggs). If you also enjoy being immersed in absolute hipsterland, you will be happy to know that the waiters wear overalls, the wallpaper depicts vintage scenes of social inequality in London and the jukebox stands prominently in the corner of the room. Personal preference: The decadent banana maple French toast with freshly pressed orange carrot juice; guaranteed to keep my blood sugar and spirits high throughout the rest of the day. 32

The fancy one: The Mosebacke Jazz brunch, Södra Teatern

Mosebacke Torg 1, 116 46 Stockholm A brunch with live jazz music? Is this heaven? Oh yes. But 275 SEK per person? Is this hell? Maybe a little. Joking aside, the amount and diversity of the food offered is enough to fill you up for the next six meals. So you can see the high price as a good long-term investment. The neverending brunch buffet includes the classic pancakes, waffles, breads, cheeses, meats, and eggs in all their forms. Even the coffee and tea selections are fancy. It is decadence at its very best, all of it enjoyed to the sounds of breezy live jazz tunes played by local bands. Unlike most brunch places, this one requires a reservation. You can book a table either in the Cornelis room or the Matsalen. We opted for the luminous Cornelis room, which is all windows and impossible views, but unfortunately, the jazz tunes emanating from the Matsalen barely reached our eager ears. I would definitely try the latter next time. Personal preference: Everything! Try everything! Eat everything!

The healthy one: Café Pom & Flora

Bondegatan 64, 116 29 Stockholm This cozy brunch spot lost in a corner of Södermalm may be my ultimate favourite. Although tiny inside, its ‘off the beaten trail’ location and the staff’s ability to fit a space-defying amount of tables and chairs means there’s always a spot free for you. They usually have a decent breakfast menu deal, at around 110 SEK. During summer, this included poached egg and avocado on full cereal bread, yoghurt topped with different berries and nuts as well as bottomless cups of coffee and tea. The menu, scribbled in permanent marker on a long roll of paper, will vary from season to season, but always includes a delicious variety of healthiness and hipsterness: from grilled cheese and ham croissants to more health conscious chia puddings. Due to its popularity, the café will open a second place in Odengatan 39 this coming November. Personal preference: avocado and cream cheese on Levain bread. This combined with a ‘superbowl’ of yoghurt topped with honey will help me survive any hangover or impending deadline. •


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The Justifiable Procrastination Guide

medicor

Culture

By Yildiz Kelahmetoglu

Dear fellow student, we know how hard it gets when you are overwhelmed with assignments, group work, lectures and laboratory reports. We know that you sometimes fall into the warm lands of procrastination and spend your time watching cat videos only to feel guilty afterwards. Worry no more! Medicor is here to guide you through a more satisfying, productive and refreshing procrastination. We call it The Justifiable Procrastination Guide. PRODUCTIVE PATH If you want to hold on to the “learning something” feeling, we got you covered. khanacademy.org is a free learning platform for everyone. You can go through health and medicine or biology to refresh your knowledge before exams or try to figure out how housing and mortgages work as an investment for the future. The learning style is a mixture of listening to podcasts and watching infographic YouTube videos. The narrator doesn’t just bombard you with information but visually guides you over the maps, bullet points, drawings and timelines if necessary. In a similar way but covering different topics, lynda.com could be your new best friend to feel productive while procrastinating. Using your KI login, KI Library gives you the privilege of having free access to more than 1,500 courses with topics ranging from photography to marketing. You can either watch a single video on how to edit images or complete an entire course.

PUB QUIZ NIGHTS What about brushing up or showing off the cultural knowledge you accumulated throughout your life? In the land

of ABBA and Ingmar Bergman, there is no shortage of movie and music trivia nights. Every Thursday is Wirström’s trivia night held in English. “The Three Amigos General Knowledge Quiz” and “Film and Music Quiz” alternate weekly. Plus, they have free entrance, which is always great for a student budget. Bar Brooklyn at Debaser Strand also holds Film and Music Quiz nights with free entrance. The quiz nights are in Swedish and come with quite tempting prizes for the winners, such as a 500 SEK voucher for concerts at Debaser, DVDs or movie tickets. The questions in the film quiz might come in the form of video clips, soundtracks or voice recordings, which make them charming puzzles to solve. Tip: Go there with your friends and form a team of 4 to have a great competitive and fun vibe.

MUSIC To let off some steam and give yourself to the rhythm, you might resort to Stockholm’s music scene offering a variety of genres. If you are an indie lover, book your ticket to the Local Natives concert on the 19th of November or The Temper Trap on December 9th in Debaser Medis. Although at this moment the tickets are not on sale, watch out for The Head and

The Heart who announced a concert on January 15th in the Södra Teatern. A guilt free visit to Debaser Strand (for free) will enrich your cross-cultural fusion music ear as DJ Cabezóns Tropical Psych will be playing Latin American and African 60s-70s tunes on November 26th.

EXHIBITIONS You might prefer letting some experience and knowledge diffuse into your brain through a museum exhibition. Surely you will leave the Nobel Museum with a lot more wisdom than when you walked in after seeing the “Experiment - Ideas, Tools and Nobel Prizes” exhibition. It aims to push you towards thinking about experimentation as a vital instrument that changes how we look at the world and allows us to seek answers to questions. Among many other Nobel Prize winning experiments, Marie Curie’s radioactivity measurements and May Britt Moser’s rats will be there to inspire you. Here is a reminder for the free admission Tuesdays 5pm to 8pm, otherwise the student ticket is 70 SEK. •

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At Innovation Office we help students with ideas within medicine and health. A mobile application, a care program or a medical device – we have the competence to take your idea to innovation. All of our services are available free of charge. Visit us in Aula Medica, Campus Solna or at ki.se/innovationoffice. At Innovation Office we help students with ideas within medicine and health. A mobile application, a care program or a medical device – we have the competence to take your idea to innovation. All of our services are available free of charge. Visit us in Aula Medica, Campus Solna or at ki.se/innovationoffice. At Innovation Office we help students with ideas within medicine and health. A mobile application, a care program or a medical device – we have the competence to take your idea to innovation. All of our services are available free of charge. Visit us in Aula Medica, Campus Solna or at ki.se/innovationoffice.

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Photo: Jingcheng Zhao Photo: Jingcheng Photo: ZhaoJingcheng Zhao

Hi there! Hi there! Do you want to develop Hi there! Do you want to develop science and health care? Do you want to develop science and health care? science and health care?


Photo: Jingcheng Zhao Photo: Jingcheng Photo: ZhaoJingcheng Zhao

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COMICS

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Tell your story Everybody has has aa unique Everybody uniquestory. story. Youcan can share share itit in You in many manyways. ways. Come tell Come tell yours. yours.

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