Medicor 2017 #3

Page 1

2017 #3

medicinska föreningen’s

student magazine



Humans of KI

Stories of the puzzle pieces making up KI THE 2017 NOBEL PRIZES 8



Prelude Vibrant autumn colors have filled Stockholm as the daylight slowly adjusts itself to upcoming winter. These days pave the way for an even more lively student life and a perfect atmosphere for the third issue of Medicor in 2017. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all new students at Karolinska Institutet! All of us in the Medicor team hope that we can turn you into devout readers of our student-run magazine through our captivating, inspiring, and educational publications. Our primary goal is to deliver a magazine that unifies all students by highlighting important multi-disciplinary issues spanning from our campus to the whole world. We all at some point have fallen into the pit of complaining. In fact, our everyday lives are full of small obscurities that sometimes get our best - the weather, the coffee machine, lunch cafeteria, late subways, workload, local news, global news... Yet, we forget that at any given moment, we each get to choose which half of the glass we will pay attention to. For this issue, we adopt an appreciation theme in order to express gratitude for the rich culture and diversity in our institute, to reinforce a community feeling, and to swing us towards a more positive outlook. Photo by Matthjis Dorst for Medicor

In our cover story, we bring humans of KI under the spotlight and catch glimpses of the daily lives of people with different roles, ranging from administration to the vice-chancellor. This series of interviews is a great chance to exhibit and celebrate the diversity of lives, stories, cultures within KI and KS. I would like to thank all the interviewees for sparing their precious time and being part of the story. Special thanks to our new vicechancellor Ole Petter Ottersen for allowing us to portrait him from a more personal objective. We believe that his vision and attitude will bring us the momentum we need. In line with the theme, we take a closer look at the international footprint of KI, remember the scientific contributions to various fields of medical science under KI’s roof, and dig deeper into the roots of Medicinska Föreningen. The Medicor team has been at the Nobel announcements for the prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Economics, and Physiology or Medicine. Make sure to check on our reports in which we tell you a little bit about this year’s winners. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to AnnMarie Dumanski and Jessica Balksö Nannini for letting us attend the Nobel announcements and igniting a pure journalistic excitement in our hearts. As you can see, there is no shortage of inspiration on this issue and we hope that we can encourage you to not only appreciate but also contribute to the advancement of the mankind. On the last note, I would like to extend an invitation to interested students who would like to be part of our team to contribute with new ideas and hone their skills. Remember, everything is a story and there are many ways to tell it. Come and Tell Your Story.

Warm regards, Yildiz Kelahmetoglu Editor-in-Chief Cover Photo: Erik Cronberg, KI Mediabank Cover Design: Yildiz Kelahmetoglu and Néstor Vázquez Bernat 2

Medicor Magasin Grundad 2006. Trettonde årgången. Utges av Medincinska Föreningen i Stockholm ISSN: 1653-9796 Ansvarig utgivare: Yildiz Kelahmetoglu Tryck och reproduktion: Åtta45, Solna Adress: Medicinska Föreningen i Stockholm Nobels Väg 10, Box 250, 171 77, Stockholm Utgivningsplan 2017: nr 1: mars, nr 2: maj, nr 3: oktober, nr 4: december. Kontakta Medicor: 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.






Find out more about KI´s brightest stars of the past.


Jöns Jacob is so much more than just a restaurant.



The phenomenon of confirmational bias from a neurobiological and ironical perspective.

SCIENCE SNIPPETS A glimpse in the latest findings in the research community.






New way of journalism asks you to get involved.


Tatiana Álvarez Giovannucci on the importance of clean sanitation.




NOBEL PRIZES 2017 Medicor reported from the Nobel Announcements of Chemistry, Physics, Economics, and Physiology or Medicine. Find out more about this year’s winners and their contribution to the advancement of mankind.


Meet with the team behind the student driven synthetic biology initiative iGEM.



Patrik Bjärterot retraces the path to the repuation the Nobel Prize enjoys today.


20 HUMANS OF KI Medicor brings the spotlight on the daily lives of the people working or studying at KI and KS.



Find out about the roots and founders of Medicinska Föreningen

The Union House is getting a facelift.. and you can be involved.






Tips and activities to get your creative world back to its glorious days.

A student guide to the underground nightlife in Stockholm

medicor Yildiz Kelahmetoglu • Editor-in-Chief Joanne Bakker • Associate Editor | Isabelle Wemar • Editor of Campus | Varsha Prakash • Editor of Science Zach Chia • Editor of Global Focus | Diana Čekatauskaitė • Editor of Culture Yildiz Kelahmetoglu, Joanne Bakker • Layout Design | Eric Cronberg, Jarda Zaroal, Yildiz Kelahmetoglu, Ulf Sirborn, Jakob Dahlström, Johanna Jangland, Camilla Svensk, Marianna Tampere, Paula Salme Sandrak, Olivier Mortusewicz, Ayla de Paepe, Matthijs Dorst, Isabelle Wemar, Eugenio Hansen, Andreas Praefcke • Photographers| Mauricio Barrientos, Varsha Prakash, Zach Chia, Isabelle Wemar, Yolande Rao, Sampath Narayanan, Néstor Vázquez Bernat, Alexandra Jurczak, Giovanni Cioffi, Adele Kastensson, Larsen Vornholz, Pontus Dannberg, Max Kynnig, Marianna Tampere, Ayla de Paepe, Patrik Bjärterot, Tatiana Álvarez Giovannucci, Anna Boytsova, Diana Čekatauskaitė • Writers | Lauren Lyne, Alexandra Edwards, Irene Kessler, Martin Axegård, Caitrín Crudden, Jennifer Feenstra, Carmen Fourier, Yolanda Rao, Ronan McCabe, Ming Hu, Tobias Goodden, Nigel Kee • Proofreaders | Nobel Media, Freepik, Pixabay, Joydeep • Illustrations


Aperture Autumn in Stockholm flies by in a breeze and Jaromír Zaoral’s objective captures what we all know: Winter is coming. Follow his photography adventure through his FB page: Jarda Zaoral Photography. Want to showcase your photography skills? Email us at and get a chance to see your photo here in the next issue of Medicor.



SmorgĂĽsbord By Mauricio Barrientos

Exchange programmes KI has agreements with 140 universities in 44 different countries. The programmes are divided into 4 categories. Erasmus / Erasmus + NordPlus INK & Linnaeus-Palme Ph.D. and Postdoctoral programs

Exchange in numbers Over 900 students, domestic and foreign, are involved in KI’ s exchange programmes each year. To KI

to KI

Europe Europe

America America Asia Asia

Oceania Oceania Africa Africa /


==55students students

University of Chicago

12 students

University of Minnesota

12 students

To the world to the World

KI’s International Footprint

National University of Singapore

24 students

Makare University

24 students

University of Chile

20 students

University of Sydney

23 students


THE 2017 Photo: Yildiz Kelahmetoglu for Medicor



he anxious silence in the Nobel Forum on the 3rd of October was broken at 11.30 as the secretary of the Nobel committee, Thomas Perlmann, announced that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to three American scientists, Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. This year’s Nobel Prize winners came as a surprise to the audience, that asked unusually few questions. The planet we live on is continuously rotating and we are simultaneously adapting to the regular day-night rhythm due to an intricate biological clock ticking inside us. This clock serves as an innate timing device for all the living beings on earth like plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria. The biological clock is controlled by many internal genetic factors and also external factors like light and temperature, but the mechanisms regulating this timing device and its functions have long been a mystery. The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize have together decoded the mechanisms regulating this biological clock and its importance for the normal functioning of living beings. The first step towards this prize-winning discovery began in 1984 when Hall and Rosbash at Brandeis University, US, and Young at Rockefeller University, US, independently of each other isolated a gene called ‘period’. This gene encodes a protein, PER, that fluctuates over a 24hour cycle in a self-regulating manner. PER accumulates in the cell during the night, but it is reduced in the morning: when protein levels are high, PER translocates to the nucleus, blocking the gene and preventing its own synthesis in a continuous, cyclic rhythm. But how does PER translocate into the nucleus and bind its own gene sequence? How is the level of the protein sensed by the cell in order to send a “stop” signal to the machinery? The sustainment of such meticulous circadian oscillations was still a mystery to most, including Hall and Rosbash. 8

The missing puzzle piece was found a decade later, when Michael W. Young discovered a second clock gene called ‘timeless’. He found out that the product of ´timeless´, TIM, worked together with PER, enabling it to enter the nucleus and block the gene.

Though the mechanism of circadian oscillations was better understood by now, the maintenance of the frequency of oscillations and its control was not clear yet. The answer to these questions came with Young´s discovery of yet another gene called ´doubletime´. This gene encodes a kinase, DBT, which helps to degrade

PER and to delay its accumulation in the nucleus, thereby adjusting the oscillation and contributing to a 24-hour cycle. The human body and its physiological functions have been fine-tuned over a period of millions of years to the timing of sunrise and sunset. The invention of electricity and artificial lights have had a great impact on our biological clock, since they interrupt our direct synchronisation to natural light-dark cycles, disrupting their ability to tune our biological clock. Apart from the most basic sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm also plays an important role in our hormone balance, mental alertness, our circulatory and immune system amongst others. Disrupting our natural clock can lead to serious health issues including myocardial infarctions. A dysregulated biological clock has also been implicated in diabetes and cognitive dysfunction. On the plus side, medical doctors are trying to incorporate their knowledge about the circadian clock in the clinic, leading for example to better timing of surgeries and medicine intake, optimized to be in sync with the daily rhythm of our body. •

Illustrations: © Nobel Media. Ill. N. Elmehed


Michael W. Young

Michael Rosbash

Jeffrey C. Hall

Born: 1949, Miami, USA

Born: 1944, Kansas City, USA

Born: 1945, New York, USA.

Doctoral degree University of Texas in Austin,1975

Doctoral degree Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge 1970

Doctoral Degree University of Washington in Seattle, 1971

Affiliation at the time of the award Rockefeller University, New York, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award Brandeis University, Waltham, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award Unaffiliated.

Contribution Discovered the role of PER and TIM genes in circadian rhythm

Contribution Discovered the role of PER gene in circadian rhythm

Contribution Discovered the role of PER gene in circadian rhythym

Prize share: 1/3

Prize share: 1/3

Prize share: 1/3


ECONOMIC ACTORS ARE EMOTIONAL Richard Thaler is the sole winner of the Economics Prize this year, “for his contributions to behavioural economics”. His win is seen in the field as being both controversial and well-deserved because his research into economics introduced psychological assumptions of the human, seen as antithetical to classical economics – that all economic actors are rational. The Nobel committee in its citation noted three key psychological insights Thaler used in his research: First, human beings show limited rationality. They make (financial) decisions

based on narrow ideas rather than taking everything into consideration and place a much higher value on items because they are averse to losing it (e.g. holding on to decreasing stocks when they should be selling). Second, human beings have social preferences for justice and fairness instead of self-interest. This was tested throught the Dictator Game that challenged a fundamental precept of Economics – that humans act in self-interest. Lastly, human beings lack self-control. This explains why most people would

chose to YOLO* rather than plan for the long term. He and his colleagues developed the Planner-Doer Model to explain this and also used this model to introduce the concept of Nudging and the Save More Tomorrow savings method (SMaRT) that has successfully helped individuals save more money for the future. YOLO: Colloquial Acronym for You Only Live Once, to do seemingly “crazy” things because “we only have one life”•


THE 2017 NOBEL PRIZES PHYSICS By Isabelle Wemar The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for their work on the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration, which led to the first observation of gravitational waves.

LIGO is the name of the observatory that houses the detectors. The observatory is an international project that began in the 1970’s, but its first groundbreaking

Gravitational waves are created when a mass accelerates; e.g. when an elevator goes up or two black holes rotate around each other. They spread across the universe at the speed of light, which has been one of the main obstacles in capturing them. They were first described by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity, but he believed they would never be measurable. Nonetheless, this year’s laureates managed to do that; using a pair of laser interferometers that can detect tiny vibrations in space.

discovery came more than 40 years later. On 14 September 2015 at noon, a small disturbance in the light pattern between the two interferometers was captured – the remnants of the gravitational radiation from two black holes that collided 1.3 billion lightyears away from Earth. Being able to measure gravitational waves, is a way of looking into the history of the universe. It also supports the theory of general relativity and gravitation as a curvature of spacetime. Since September two years ago, three more observations have been made, and with observatories in India and Japan underway, there are surely more to come. •

Photo: Isabelle Wemar for Medicor

CHEMISTRY By Yolanda Rao On Thursday, October 4th, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry to be Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson to recognize their contributions in developing cryo-EM imaging, a technique used to construct more effective threedimensional images of life’s biomolecules. Richard Henderson, a Scottish molecular biologist, generated the structure of a protein that harnesses sunlight to produce chemical energy, bacteriorhodopsin, at its atomic resolution in 1990. The first image at 7 Ångströms was the best result produced with an electron microscope and the second produced at atomic resolution was an achievement only previously possible with X-ray crystallography. Nevertheless, Henderson anticipated results for proteins oriented irregularly in the membrane. 10

Joachim Frank, a German-born biophysicist, tackled this problem. The development of a computer model by Frank that identifies and groups similar, fuzzy electron microscope images solved the problem by obtaining a series of high-resolution, two-dimensional images of proteins used to construct the final 3D model. The

elucidation of the ribosome’s surface is a result of Frank’s hard work. The finishing touch of this awardwinning discovery was the vitrification method developed by a Swiss biophysicist named Jacques Dubochet. He used ethane and liquid nitrogen to rapidly cool water that surrounds a protein sample to produce a glass-like fluid with disordered molecules – also called as vitrified water. In 1984, Dubochet acquired sharp images of hexagonal viruses against the background of this fluid. This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to three scientists who have put in tremendous work to improve cyroelectron microscopy. We celebrate their achievements and now anticipate even higher-resolution images of life’s exciting molecular machinery. •

Photo: Yildiz Kelahmetoglu for Medicor

Photo by @cikstefan

The best use of curiosity is research

Clinical Scientist Training Programme (CSTP) Do you want to explore your imagination, test your ideas and discipline your creativity? Consider a doctoral education at Karolinska Institutet. CSTP offers research funding for medical, dental, psychology and speechlanguage pathology students* interested in pursuing a Ph.D. The next call for funding opens in February 2018.

For more information: *Note that you have to have completed at least 6 semesters but still be a student when applying.



Like a diamond in the sky

By Sampath Narayanan

Since its inception, Karolinska Institutet has produced many great scientists who have made invaluable contributions to various fields of medical science. As scientists, we search for inspiration all the time. When an experiment fails or when we hit a low point in research, we constantly look for success stories that could spark motivation and guide us through the checkered path of our scientific career. Let’s travel back in time in order to remember, acknowledge and perhaps revel in such stories of excellence of the forefathers from our great institution.

The founding fathers

Looking at the past success of our institution, we wonder how the earnest scientific visions of Karolinska Institutet were originally conceived. The answer to that comes from the great mind of Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848). Jöns Jacob became interested in chemistry and pharmacy when he was studying medicine at Uppsala University. He would go on to discover various elements such as selenium, thorium and cerium. At the time, he was appointed as the Professor of Chemistry in the newly established Karolinska Institutet. He discovered the presence of lactic acid in muscle tissue and that it has two optical isomers. He devised an ingenious way of measuring atomic weights, which enabled the acceptance of Dalton’s

theory of atoms and formed the basis of the periodic table. Jöns Jacob for the first time described the phenomenon of catalysis, without which most of today’s world would still be medieval. Along Robert Boyle and John Dalton, Jöns Jacobs is regarded as the father of modern Chemistry. At Karolinska, he is credited for laying the foundations for the institution’s scientific orientation. A precedent for the importance of the role of women in public health was set when Nanna Charlotta Svartz (18901986) was appointed as the chair of the Professor of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet in 1938. Specialized in internal medicine, Nanna had to fight her way through every stage of her career in a

When your father is a Nobel Laureate, then perhaps the much-coveted prize becomes your birthright. Ulf von Euler (1905-1983) was born into such a legacy! His father, Hans von Euler Chelpin was a German chemist and the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1929. Ulf went to Karolinska Institutet to study medicine and defended his doctoral thesis in 1930 and was appointed as Assistant Professor in Pharmacology. He is credited for the discovery of four endogenous active substances: prostaglandins, vesiglandins, piperidine and noradrenaline. His research focused primarily on the mechanism of action of noradrenaline. He was ultimately awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work on neurotransmitters. Sune K. Bergström (1916-2004) was a biochemist from Karolinska Institutet whose primary research interest was lipid metabolism, mainly of cholesterol and the enzymes lipooxygenases. He was introduced to prostaglandins by Ulf von Euler which would bring him accolades from around the world. Soon, he would go on

to identify 6 different types of prostaglandins. He described the molecular structure of all prostaglandins together with Bengt I. Samuelsson (1934-present). Bengt was also able to show that prostaglandins were derived from arachidonic acid. His research further focused on the transformation products of arachidonic acid, which led to the discovery of various biomolecules including endoperoxides, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. Bengt is now widely regarded as the founder of the research field of lipid mediators. Sune Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson jointly received The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1982 for their work on prostaglandins and related substances. Axel Hugo Theodor Theorell (19031982) was born in Linköping to Thure Theorell and Armida Bill. He obtained his Bachelor of Medicine degree at Karolinska Institutet in 1924 and his MD degree in 1930 with a thesis on the theory of lipids of the blood plasma. He became interested in oxidative enzymes during his collaboration with Otto Warburg. His illustrious work led to the understanding


The Nobel Laureates

male dominated society. By the time she had defended her thesis on the diseases of the digestive tract, she had also taken up several administrative responsibilities at both the Serafimer Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital. Her application for the professor position attracted heavy criticism from public officials. Only recommendations from distinguished professors and a majority vote by Karolinska Institutet’s faculty tipped her in favor of receiving the position. In order to gain a perspective of the spirit of her time, it would take another 25 years after Nanna for the next female professor in public service to be elected.

of the mechanism of action of various oxidative enzymes, namely, peroxidases, catalases, flavoproteins and alcohol dehydrogenases. His entire career dedicated to the research of these enzymes earned him a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1955. Ragnar Arthur Granit (1900-1991) was a Swedish speaking Finn, born on the island of Korpo, separating Sweden from Finland. He was already a renowned neurophysiologist when he was offered a Professorship in Neurophysiology at Karolinska Institutet. His research work focused on the physiological basis of color perception in the eye. He showed that sensitivity to color is mainly concentrated in the red, blue and green areas, confirming biologically for the first time, the YoungHelmholz three-color theory. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye in 1967.


Photo: Ulf Sirborn, KI MediaBank

The vanguards of the recent past In 1959, with the curious case of a 30year old woman, a range of disorders attributed to the dysfunction of a single organelle in a cell, the mitochondrion, was unraveled. At the forefront of the study was a Stockholm-born clinician from Karolinska, Rolf Luft (1914-2007). His visionary ideologies helped bring about a paradigm shift in the conception of the pathophysiology of diabetes. His other contributions to the medical field include the introduction of hypophysectomy as a treatment for diabetic retinopathy, discovery of somatostatin in the delta cells of the pancreatic islets and the effects of human growth hormone on healthy and diabetic subjects. As a gesture of gratitude

Photo: Hulton Archive, Getty Images

This article would be incomplete without the mention of Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896). Although a controversial figure with the invention of dynamite and owning a huge arms manufacturing company, Bofors, he had humble beginnings and was aware of it. His philanthropic nature and hardworking attribute conflicted with his public image of the so called “merchant of death”. In search of a better legacy, he bequeathed 94% of his wealth to sponsor the highest academic awards one could aspire to achieve, the Nobel Prizes.

for his work, Karolinska Institutet has given the Rolf Luft Award for outstanding contributions in the field of endocrinology and diabetes.

Sixten Franzén (1919-2008) was once criticized for his unorthodox use of “fineneedle aspiration cytology”. However, it is one of the common tools used for diagnosing various cancers even today. Stumbled upon by the need for a rapid, safe and reliable method to identify cancers, Franzén developed and perfected the use of fine needles to obtain cell samples from the tumor mass. He was ultimately named the “Cytopathologist of the year” by the Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology in 2006.

In remembering these great scientists, we embrace their legacies and remind ourselves of the opportunity we have to become one among those stars shining bright above the Karolinska sky. •



Our “lizard brain” responds to contradicting information like it does to an attack By Néstor Vázquez Bernat

The Sokolov effect is the brain’s incapacity to accept information that contradicts one’s core beliefs. This effect is complementary to the confirmation bias, where we tend to trust information that fits our preexisting beliefs. To fully explain the Sokolov effect, and why it has been mainly forgotten by society, we first have to understand the life of the man who gave it its name. Vasily Sokolov was born in 1884 in Minsk (current capital of Belarus), son of Andrei Ilya Sokolov, of bourgeois descent, and Maria Orlov, youngest daughter of an influential nobleman. He had a quite happy childhood by the time’s standards, loved to play chess with his brother, and developed a devotion for reading from a very young age. Young Sokolov did suffer a devastating loss at the age of 7, when his beloved brother Mika (13) died from tuberculosis. Sokolov studied at the International Diplomatic School of Minsk until the age of 17, where he learned English, German and a bit of Latin and French. His grades placed him amongst the top of his class, with numerous extracurricular activities like chess or debate club, in which he also excelled. He started showing interest for many liberal philosophers, specifically for Karl Marx and his views of the problems of capitalism. He took special interest in The Communist Manifesto and the idea that the person who worked the land must own its bearings. In 1901 his parents sent him to study law at the University College of London to keep him away from the socialistic movement surging in Rus14

sia at the time. Ironically, it was there where Sokolov ended up meeting members of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), who were trying to incite the revolution from exile with the subversive newspaper Iskra (“Spark”).

“We are living in a world that we are not evolutionarily adapted to” Sokolov’s life changed in 1902 when Leon Trotsky escaped his forced exile in Siberia and joined Iskra. Trotsky quickly became one of Iskra’s more prolific writers and advisory to the editorial board, which was a maneuver orchestrated by Lenin to dampen the control of the socalled “old guard” on the board. Sokolov soon became a sort of apprentice of Trotsky, who seemed to fit the role of older brother that he lacked since the untimely death of his own. Leon also became fond of Sokolov and helped him become more and more relevant in the newspaper.

Sokolov and Trotsky were inseparable from then on, and stayed together through all the changes in the party until the Soviet revolution finally took place in October 1917. They did not always reside at the same place, but maintained constant correspondence. Both were strong believers of internationalizing the revolution and kept pushing the party towards that objective, which caused the falling out with Stalin, and their final exile to Cuba as a result. It was in 1937, with Sokolov away in London, when Stalin’s assassin ended the life of Leon Trotsky; this shocked a big part of the communist party and was the final blow to Sokolov’s belief in the Soviet project. Sokolov spent the rest of his life in the USA writing against the Communist Government in several publications, researching about mass control and how the public could be completely deceived without freedom of information. His research about the brain’s incapacity to accept information that contradicts one’s core beliefs (later called the Sokolov effect) gave him the recognition in the American Psychological Society and granted him the Nobel Prize in 1952. Sokolov finally

SCIENCE died at home in Berkeley in 1957 and his wife said that he was reading his old correspondence with Trotsky when it happened, with a smile on his face. We could have finished the tale here, and it would have been a mediocre story scientifically but hopefully an entertaining one nonetheless. Fortunately, it is not the goal of Medicor to spread falsehoods (much the opposite), so I am obliged to reveal that Mr. Vasily Sokolov is not real, neither is the Sokolov effect a thing (that we know of). He is a fictional character, conjured up by my considerably wild imagination. But despite being all fiction, this character illustrates a real effect, in fact, two complementing ones: the aforementioned confirmation bias and the backfire effect. What would you have thought if I had said that Vasily Sokolov, a Russian, invented capitalism? Or if I said that he invented the Snorkel mask? Or Scotch Whisky? Depending on your core beliefs you might have found one of those much harder to believe than the original; maybe the one about capitalism, right? What if I told you that Napoleon was not short for his time (1.71m) or that buying an ecofriendly car pollutes more than keeping your old one for 100000km more? I guess the first one is much easier to accept than the second one. The key to making Mr. Sokolov’s story believable was to make it compatible with most people’s beliefs. This is the backfire effect, which was beautifully illustrated in The Oatmeal, and is where our amygdala enters the game. Basically, our amygdala’s (also called “lizard brain” for its evolutionary origin) reacts negatively to information that challenges our core beliefs.

“Smart people are better able to generate counter arguments to evidence they don’t like.” It has been proven that when information that contradicts one’s core beliefs is heard, our amygdala fires, exactly as it does in the case of an attack. Although this somewhat primitive effect is not yet fully understood, it has been suggested to be a mechanism to protect our moral code and clear our minds of distress. This effect is behind many modern day challenges in scientific communication like homeopathy and anti-vaxxers. Even though ample information proves homeopathy to be a mere placebo effect and vaccines to be safe, these science-skeptics choose to cherry-pick the information

that soothes their amygdala’s and maintain their claims (Facebook, blogs, pseudo-scientific sites…). Could it be that the access to massive amounts of “information” is making us less informed because we cherry pick the news that agrees with what we believe in rather than the demonstrable facts? (Confirmational bias). The amygdala not only makes you aggressive upon exposure to contradictory information, it also solidifies your previous beliefs even more. A study by Professor David Redlawsk from University of Delaware has showed that you need to receive at least 30% of information contrary to your beliefs to even start being able to intake the contradictory data. But how can you reach this 30% if one has unlimited sources of information available to support any claim? Professor Redlawsk points out in an interview to the “You are not so smart” podcast by David McRaney that “We are living in a world that we are not evolutionarily adapted to”.

“People prefer an incorrect model over an incomplete model, in the absence of a better explanation they opt for a wrong explanation.” John Steinback (winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature) wrote “Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids”. Personally, the most frightening idea of the backfire effect is that we are unaware of its influence, since it just feels like an urge to correct the perceived misinformation. If at this point you are telling yourself that you are smart and very rational, and that makes you immune, think twice. Steven Lewandowsky in The Debunking Handbook writes that there seems to be no correlation with educational level. He points out the case of climate change, where people with more education appear to be more polarized on the matter. Dr. Lewandowsky tells David McRaney that “Smart people are better able to generate counter arguments to evidence they don’t like” and not much can be done without changing the elites who spread the misinformation. Hard does not mean impossible and the book by Dr. Lewandowsky outlines a series of tools to bypass this effect and convince somebody of the truth. First and most importantly, one cannot convince a firm believer who actively searches for

information that supports his claims because one will never reach that required 30% of correct information. Targeting the people that doubt or are skeptical will be much easier and, in time, might even help the firm believers rethink their views. Never start with defensive statements like “This is not true” or “I will prove you wrong”, that will only help to trigger one’s amygdala and make your arguments futile; instead, start by accepting their belief to get their attention, and later point out the argument’s flaws. Do not mention the myth you are trying to debunk since it will only kick-start their defensive reaction, just focus on the evidence. Keeping the statements short and not overwhelming will help reduce the amygdala’s stress. He also mentions that focusing on behaviors instead of beliefs might be easier, since our minds always adapt to our behavior. This seems to agree with the opinion of those who believe that, for example, vaccines should be mandatory, which would not only increase vaccine coverage, but maybe also slowly convince people of their safety. Finally, if one aims to change someone’s core beliefs one must not only disprove the myths, but also be able to fill the gaps generated in the individual’s logic. Failing to do so will most likely result in them trusting their myths despite the logical flaws - “People prefer an incorrect model over an incomplete model, in the absence of a better explanation they opt for a wrong explanation” Lewandowsky said. I would humbly add that you should become absolutely sure you are on the facts side before attempting to convince someone to join you.

“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids” To sum up, although the backfire effect seems to prevent people from believing facts and allows corporations, politicians or conspiracy believers to spread misinformation, there are mechanisms to avoid it and ensure the truth prevails. Those mechanisms might sometimes fall short in our times of alternative facts and real “fake news”, where anyone can go online and find an ocean of “information”. This is why critical thinking and skepticism is more important than ever, which science has already prepared us for - we must definitely not believe everything we read.•



Science Snippets By Alexandra Jurczak MYSTIC EXPERIENCE BROUGHT DOWN TO EAR(TH)


Scientists from Aix-Marseille University in France investigated Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) and found that the mystic and spiritual hallucinations could actually be caused by damage to the inner ear. OBE, as described by the patients, involved a feeling of floating outside their bodies in a state of lucid dreaming which can be triggered, an example of which is extreme physical trauma. Researchers not only found a correlation between OBE and symptoms like vertigo, dizziness and whirling sensations, caused by vestibular dysfunction, but also pointed out that psychological and neurological factors like depression, anxiety and migraines are involved. (Cortex, June 2017)

A new therapeutic approach using Zika virus has been developed for treating malignant glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor resistant to current available treatments. Researchers injected Zika directly into the tumor of a glioblastoma mouse model and observed that the animals live longer than controls with the same cancer and the tumor is significantly smaller just two weeks following injection. Scientists confirmed that the virus does not target non-cancerous cells and ensured that by introducing mutations, it will be sensitive to the innate immunity response and the infection will not spread from the targeted tissue. (JEM, September 2017)

Photo: Rakesh Karmacharya, Wellcome Images


STEM CELL THERAPY FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE Parkinson’s disease symptoms have been significantly improved in monkeys after transplantation with dopaminergic neurons generated from human adult stem cells (iPS). This could be seen as a step closer to bring iPS cells into the clinical setting to treat neurodegenerative disorders. Since the treatment was as effective as conventional pharmacology, researchers hope to start recruiting patients for this type of therapy within a year. (Nature, August 2017)

Photo: Lauren Holden, Wellcome Images

THE CLUE TO A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP Ever wondered why an exhausting training session gives you a great snooze? A recent study shows that Bmal1 (a clock gene required for circadian rhytms in mammals) plays a bigger role in regulating sleep when expressed in skeletal muscles than in the brain. Researchers were surprised to see that selective restoration of Bmal1 expression in muscle, but not in the brain of Bmal1 deficient mice, rescued the response to sleep deprivation and made the rodents sleep longer and deeper. These findings break the dogma of sleep exclusively regulated by the brain and open the possibility to treat sleep disorders through exercise. (Elife, July 2017)


Plastic pollution is everywhere, including our bodies. A recent study has shown that microplastics can be found in the salt, which you sprinkle on your food. Sixteen out of seventeen salt brands from eight countries contained polyethylene and polypropylene fibers, typically used to produce disposable bottles. Though the effect of plastics on human health is still unknown, researchers hope that this study will convince people to make more sustainable and environment friendly purchases. (Scientific Reports, April 2017)

ROBOTS AND STOMACH INFECTIONS How cool is that?! Researchers at UCSD used tiny robots to treat stomach infections caused by Helicobacter pylori in mice. These micromotors, loaded with antibiotics, travelled through the stomach where they neutralized gastric acid and treated the bacterial infection without the side effects usually caused by traditional drugs. The study boosts hope for using the robot technology for treatment of many diseases. (Nature Communications, August 2017) Photo: Komposita, Pixabay

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The Social Hub of Campus Solna - why the school cafeteria is good for you By Giovanni Cioffi

Photo: Outside of Jöns Jakob Berzelius at Solna Campus, by Eric Cronberg for KI Strategy 2018

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) was one of the the first professors at Karolinska Institutet and gave the university its scientific orientation. On campus there is a street and a lecture hall named after him, but for most students at KI, his name Jöns Jacob reminds them of something else: the Solna campus restaurant. It is Monday morning and the sky is that of a typical late September day: a very light gray screaming that fall is coming. After rushing through my morning routines, I run downstairs and get my bike. Intense time calculations about different routes follow - I need to get to campus early as I have not had coffee yet. Biking through the entry gates and past the somewhat oversized plaque spelling out the university’s name and year of foundation I feel relieved. I made it. I leave my bike outside Jöns Jacob, the most popular restaurant among students on campus. I get my coffee and spot some familiar faces walking towards the lecture halls. Time to move.

As a Swedish podcaster once said ”Some restaurants master the ability to find intricate names for very simple dishes. The best at this is by no doubt Jöns Jacob. There you get really exciting exotic names for a sausage and potatoes.” 18

“It has become the hub of the university, a place everyone passes through between intense mornings and afternoons.” Lunch break is a fundamental part of every school day. It is a chance to breathe out, cool off and switch from the fast pace of the lectures and labs to silly jokes and discussions with friends. Jöns Jacob is the embodiment of the rowdy quietness that lunch breaks represent – recess is meant to be quiet, but the restaurant at noon is anything but that. It has become the hub of the university, a place everyone passes through between intense mornings and afternoons. Students from different programs and cities within and outside of Sweden get together to enjoy a ”Baked pollock Vera-Cruz”.

I doubt there are any KI-graduates at the Solna Campus who do not have plenty of memories from the place that has come to be known as ”Jönsan”. Cafeteria food is indeed good for you because lunch breaks are not just about the food. Bland sausages and potatoes are great because they are so unmemorable, they will not steal your attention. They will stay put, quiet in their dish, while you look around and explore your surroundings. The fancy dish names only add to the entertainment of the experience, and you can just sit there, enjoying the moment and feeling like a small, yet thriving, fish in a big pond. •

Photo: Isabelle Wemar

After a few lectures, breaks and casual chatting about the past weekend, it is time for lunch. The eternal question and major cause of conflict among a group of friends at lunch time seems to be ”Where are we going to eat?”. Some have a lunch box while others do not. Some are going to eat at Jöns Jacob and others will not. A few of us have made up our minds. We get a table.

The company that owns Jöns Jacob is known for running school cafeterias across the country. The cafeteria-style food clashes with the academic and hightech environment, creating ironic discrepancies between Michelin star-worthy menus and high school flashback-causing food. Which is charming in itself. Also, french-named sausages and potatoes sound better than the mush I have in my lunch box.

Democratic biology


- making biology available to everyone By Adele Kastensson and Larsen Vornholz

In January 2017, a multidisciplinary team of 15 students with different cultural backgrounds and at different stages of their education started their 9 months iGEM adventure. The competition will draw to a close at the final conference in Boston where the team will showcase their project. What is iGEM? iGEM stands for “international Genetically Engineered Machines” and is the world’s biggest competition in synthetic biology, initiated at MIT in 2003. Synthetic biology is a fusion of versatile engineering and biology disciplines, where engineering principles are applied to biological components and systems. Currently, this student-driven project engages over 5000 students worldwide to work towards a common goal - to design and perform a mini startup like project that aims to solve a real-world issue with global impact. Who is part of iGEM Stockholm 2017? The team consists of students from KI, KTH, Konstfack and Hyper Island covering 7 study fields, 11 nationalities and equally representing genders. From KI, the students represent bachelor and master studies in Biomedicine, Toxicology, Bioentrepreneurship and Medicine.

“The 9 months journey is the most educational and rewarding experience of your education.” What are we doing? After months of intense brainstorming and researching, we finally settled on something we all found equally exciting: mucus. When researching this peculiar substance, we found studies showing heavily thickened mucus in the lungs of patients suffering from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis. This condition severely reduces these patients’ life quality. Thus, we decided to address this issue by developing a new treatment approach: lung probiotics. The probiotics - beneficial bacteria would reside in the patient’s lungs, sense when the mucus is too thick, and subsequently make it normal again by expressing mucus degrading enzymes in a selfregulating manner.

2017 iGEM Stockholm team. Photo: Jakob Dahlström

What have we done outside the lab? Besides the intense research, iGEM is also about raising awareness of synthetic biology and our project’s impact via public outreach. Therefore, we hosted a number of student seminars and organized a panel discussion about “Ethics of Engineering Life”. We were even invited to the Cystic Fibrosis Games in Stockholm to represent our project.

“iGEM builds character – but more importantly, it brings people together.” Furthermore, we also want to make biology more available - not just to the ones already belonging to the scientific community - but to everyone, leading us to coin the phrase “Democratic biology”. In our democratic biology campaign, we held a discussion about “Man vs. Machine” at Stockholm’s new innovation festival and hosted a station at Kids Hack Day to teach kids about biology. Boston - the grand finale Fortunately, our journey is not over yet. We are eagerly waiting to present

our results in Boston at the Giant Jamboree - the conference where all the iGEM teams present their work. To us, iGEM is more than a competition, it is an extraordinary learning experience where we have gained skills that no ordinary course could have taught us. The iGEM journey enabled us to grow on both an academic and a personal level as we learned to work better in a team, to listen, to take responsibility, and to believe in ourselves. iGEM Stockholm 2018? Do you want to be part of the iGEM Stockholm 2018? Make sure to apply at Be sure to watch our presentation in Boston via live video stream and to read the next iGEM Medicor article in December to hear more about the project outcome. •

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The History of Medicinska Föreningen By Pontus Dannberg

Medicinska Föreningen (MF) just turned 140 years but Karolinska Institutet (KI) has been around a bit longer. Founded in 1810 by then-reigning King Charles XIII on December 13, with the purpose of educating surgeons for the military, KI quickly grew larger. By 1861 it was given the right to give out degrees, standing as an equal to other universities. Around this time the student population’s desire for a movement or sense of unity was growing rapidly. Several attempts at creating a student society faltered, until the year 1877. The 21st of April 1877 will forever stand as a hallmark in KI’s history – the day MF, KI’s first student union, was founded. In the beginning MF consisted of 83 students, led by its first president Oskar Medin.

Väg 10 in Solna. Here we have remained, and the house has seen little change since the addition of the aula in 1985. Over the years, MF has grown in numbers. From the initial 83 members to the peak of 7 000 members before the mandatory membership was scrapped in 2010.

“In the beginning MF consisted of 83 students, led by its first president Oscar Medin.”

For ten years, MF acted as a social platform for students to meet each other, and as a measure to influence the education at KI. After eleven years of existence, the Swedish University Chancellor officially acknowledged MF as a student union and membership was mandatory to receive a degree from KI in the years to follow.

Since then the numbers have dropped to around 3 000 members as of today. Some increases have correlated with the growth of KI, for example when Hälsohögskolan, a university with several healthcare programs, fused with KI in 1998 and all healthcare educational programs came together under one university. Three years later, one of the student unions of Hälsohögskolan officially joined MF. When the physiotherapists’ student union also joined a few years later, MF was now home to all but the odontology students at KI.

36 years after its creation, MF found its first real home on Kungsholmen. Norr Mälarstrand 12 was the first permanent facility dedicated to MF, and would remain so until KI moved in 1954. With its university moving, the student union saw no other choice than to follow, and found their second permanent home, Nobels

MF has developed with time, but the active interest in the social life of the students has been consistent throughout the years. The committees organize everything from ski trips and student pubs to book circles. Some committees even date back almost 100 years, such as the events committee. Other parts of Medicinska


Föreningen are younger, like our male skit group, Spexet Corpus Karrolina, which recently turned 40 years old. The student influence exerted by MF has also been a constant since the acknowledgment from the Swedish University Chancellor back in 1888. Through representation in all of KI’s boards, MF has impact on the education and research. Medicinska Föreningen has always been, and always will be, run by the students, for the students. Just like in 1877, with Oskar Medin and his 83 compatriots, we hope that Medicinska Föreningen is, and will continue to be, a natural and welcoming place for all students to come together.•

Photos: MF Archives


MF President’s word

Nobels väg 10 has been the home of Medicinska Föreningen (MF) for over 60 years. Over the years we at MF have grown quite fond of house, especially since the addition of our Aula in 1985. Since then, our union house has taken a lot of wear and tear when hosting students and guests, including Nobel laureates and royalty. As joyful as these events have been, they have taken a toll on the building and it is now time for a restoration. The Union House Foundation (KHS), which owns the union house in which the whole of MF resides, decided a few years ago to start a renovation project. It has slowly been picking up speed and kicked off last year with an alumni mingle, attended by former students from as long as 50 years ago. The project has continued into 2017, and when KI gave us a fantastic present on our 140-year anniversary - a 7 million SEK contribution - it was time to step up. This August, we hired Anna Eklöf as the project leader for the restoration. Anna has a history here at MF, where she was the vice president between 2010 and 2012, and has now returned to help us steer this project in the right direction. With an invaluable combination of charisma, energy and professionality she is ideally suited for the task ahead. With Anna at the head of the project, things are going to start moving forward. The first step is to raise the money. To do this, Anna will lead a fundraising campaign, supported by MF, KI and worldleading fundraising consultants. The second step will be the construction of the future union house. Once complete, the union house will be transformed; it will be more versatile, with more study places and more suited to students’ needs.

If you are curious about the restoration, you may check out the MF bathrooms in 2018, as they will be first to go through the makeover. Now, Anna will not be able to do it all herself. And neither should she. What is a student union house, if not a house by and for the students? All union bodies of MF – the board, the different sections and committees – will be involved in some way, but if you are personally interested in becoming an integral part of the makeover of the century, this is your chance.

today. If you want to make a difference and try something new, do not hesitate to contact us or Anna. To read more about the project or how to get involved, check out our website,, which also recently went through a makeover, or email us or Anna at Together, let’s build a Union house that will last at least 60 more years. • Max Kynning & Pontus Dannberg President & Vice President Medicinska Föreningen

Union house renovation project leader Anna Eklöf The project is built on two main workgroups: one for fundraising, and one for construction. Each of these is made up of experienced professionals, former MF presidents and of course, the students of

Photo: Johanna Jangland for Medicor


Photo: Isabelle Wemar

The Union House of the Future

22 22


HUMANS OF KI Have you ever walked around at the campus of Karolinska Institute or at the Karolinska University Hospital and wondered what all these people are doing here? Most attention and appreciation is usually shown to the award-winning professors making break-through discoveries at the Karolinska Institute or to medical doctors contributing to curing complicated diseases. However, these successful stories are only possible because of the many people working behind the scenes. Scientists, students, administrators, teachers, technical personnel, they are all a part of the large puzzle that makes the Karolinska Institute and University Hospital the places they are today. Here, we highlight the Humans of KI by sharing the stories and glimpses of daily lives of people working or studying at the Karolinska Institute and University Hospital. Let’s sit back and hear what they are thinking and dreaming about.

Interviews by Marianna Tampere, Ayla de Paepe and Yildiz Kelahmetoglu Stories by Marianna Tampere and Ayla de Paepe

KI Flemingsberg Campus Interior by Camilla Svensk, KI MediaBank


“We should publish open access COVER STORY so all people could read it” Klas is a modern time librarian - working solely with online

databases and referencing tools. “One big part of my job is to read medical journals and index them for the Pubmed database. The other side is information searching using the databases and I also teach that to students.” “Next to working at one of the best university libraries in Sweden, it’s a really fun job and I think it’s a dream position for me.” Klas believes in open science. “We are engaged in a process of making KI an open science institution and I would like the leadership to focus more on that, especially knowing that we are largely financed by the government. We should publish in open access journals so all people could read it and use our research.” As a kid, he dreamed of becoming a professional football player and play the World Cup. “My mother is a librarian, and but I only remember running around the library and playing with copy machines.” His interests in librarianship came later during his physiotherapy studies at KI, while working evening shifts at different hospital libraries in Stockholm.

“Playing floorball really takes my mind off everything. It’s a way for me to meet friends and have fun.”

After becoming a father for the first time this summer, Klas is curious to see if his son will become a third generation librarian. “So far his interest in books is limited to whether he can eat them or not.”

Photo: Marianna Tampere for Medicor

Photo: Paula Salme Sandrak for Medicor

“We are different but in a way we are all the same” “I

enjoy very much the international environment of SciLifelab, I can practice my English and Spanish every day.” Iréne is an administrator at SciLifeLab, kindly welcoming every newcomer, organizing necessities for a smooth kick-off, as well as answering all the arising questions. “It’s a variety of things, never a dull moment.” Travelling the world has been a great merit to Iréne’s perspective on life. A volunteer trip to a kibbutz in Israel has left a strong memory. “They took us on a trip to desert, we walked around for 6 days and nights. After we made up the camp we were singing in a circle and at night you were so close to the sky, it seemed like you could pick down the stars.” If there is something everyone should do at least once in their life, Iréne finds it is going to another country or culture. “That gives you so much, you learn that we are different but in a way we are all the same.” Nowadays, her summer house in Gotland is Iréne’s utmost destination. Spending active weekends rebuilding an old farm from 1925 is blissful. “It’s really a lot of fun to see these old things becoming nice, but still keep the old. Of course I have a lot of help from my husband, but I’ve been doing quite a lot by myself.”


“On our floor we had a chilli competition, we measured our plants every Friday".



aving completed a systems biology post-doc in the US, Seattle, Karolina appreciates the accepting working environment in Sweden. “I think here at KI everyone’s opinion matters. There is more hierarchy in the US, so if you are somewhere up in the ladder, your opinions matter more.” In addition, she admires seeing students and professors intermingling and having the possibility to regularly listen to the best speakers. Being part of academia, but not driving her own research, she has landed on a fulfilling yet challenging position. In fact, she is more interested in helping labs carry out their individual projects. As a facility manager at the Eucaryotic Single Cell Genomics Facility at Scilifelab, she communicates with customers, explains the facility services and assists choosing which of the different methods could help to answer their research questions. “I think it’s especially rewarding to help researchers because some of them come to us with really challenging projects but they don’t know where to start.” Karolina finds observing people very inspiring. “I like to imagine what they’re doing or where they are heading. I think it’s an alive feeling.”

She sometimes starts her day during the week in a cafe with a cup of coffee working by herself. “Just reading old-fashioned printed newspaper, not so common anymore.”

Joseph is convinced the best part of the weekend is Monday morning. “I come in here sparkling with energy. Actually, it often happens that I don’t take any vacation for years.”

“I love interacting with people, it’s just who I am.” “Y

ou could say that Karolinska is a client to me, but that’s not how it works.” Joseph is an interpreter at Karolinska Hospital in Flemingsberg and helps out during doctor visits. “I actually work as a freelancer and get paid per doctor’s visit I translate at.” Originally he got a master in science and engineering, but he had trouble finding work during the 90’s. Since he is very social and speaks both Swedish and Arabic, he decided to start working as an interpreter. He worked for all kinds of occasions and organizations, Karolinska Sjukhuset being one of them. “Because I was working here a lot, I got schooled for translating in healthcare specifically. Since then I’ve been working here exclusively.” He also helps people in the hospital in between official patient visits, and is often found behind the scenes at the info desk. “It’s not part of my work, but I like doing it. I love interacting with people, it’s just who I am.”

Photo: Ayla De Paepe for Medicor


Photo: Olivier Mortusewicz for Medicor

“It’s especially rewarding to help researchers with their projects”

Photo: Paula Salme Sandrak for Medicor

“When I really know that I´ve contributed to closing a conflict, that´s really rewarding”


octoral student ombudsperson Sara, who wanted to become a female superhero as a child, dedicates her days to fighting for the good of Karolinska Institutet’s PhD students. “I assist doctoral students when they are in need of someone who supports them.” Employed by Medicinska Föreningen, she acts on conflicts that arise between students and the surrounding system, ensuring their full confidentiality and focusing on solving the problems. “I also get a lot of questions that students really don’t feel comfortable asking their department, so I contact KI, but in that way their identity will be kept anonymous.” Sara highlights the rewards of her job, witnessing and contributing to a process from A to Z, seeing the conflict detangling. “When I really know that I’ve contributed to closing a conflict, that’s really rewarding.” She also acknowledges the obstacles, which allow her to develop personally and professionally. “Doing this job I have to be self-reflective and patient, which I am generally not. The hurdles with this job are mostly my own.”

Photo: Oliver Mortusewicz for Medicor

Sara has been taught by her mother to find happiness in small details and moments, not from the larger scale. “I have figured it out recently, it is something I learned along the way. Seeing the ray of light that is super beautiful on my plant, or holding my daughter’s hand I can be perfectly happy.”

Once asked her most interesting experience, Sara gets excited. “I actually once witnessed and participated in a levitation act in India. We were levitated.”

“There are so many doctors who are really good at what they do” Football player, professional referee and physiotherapy student Emiliano covers all three aspects of sports. “I was a really good player back in Chile, I played with the professional teams as a teenager. But when I moved to Sweden with my family I didn’t continue with football, because I didn’t have any contacts to continue a professional football career here. Then I met a Chilean friend who was a referee here in Stockholm, which is how I got introduced to my new passion.” He has always been interested in training, but it was a teacher at school who introduced him to physiotherapy. “KI is a really big institute and therefore I get to meet a lot of people. There are so many doctors who are really good in what they do.” Emiliano’s dream for the future is to become a FIFA referee and to help people with neurological diseases as a physiotherapist. One of his brightest childhood memories originates from an adventure in the Andes. “I remember my friend had horses in the countryside of Chile. Once we went with horses to pick up other animals from the mountains to bring them back. Crossing one mountain, you reach even bigger one, and then another one.”

In the mornings, Emiliano has to surpass another kind of mountain. “I sleep too late. Sometimes I don’t eat breakfast because I like to sleep so I wait until the last minute and even an alarm clock doesn’t help.” 26


“Pupils should learn more about what we don´t know than what we do know” “Honestly, what is needed at KI is to make

education more prestigious, and I don’t say this only to you, it’s a message I report to everybody.” Ole Petter Ottersen, the new Vice Chancellor of KI, feels very strongly about education. His own path to science started with a biology book he read as a kid. “This book was brilliant, because it also told us what was not known. This is something that we all tend to forget in school. Pupils should learn more about what we don’t know than what we do know, because that kindles the curiosity and the fascination with science.” Ole finds Niels Bohr one of the most inspiring figures in science, even finding inspiration in art to solve his particle-wave duality problem, and combining science with politics. “So I guess that has also paved a way for my interests, not only to do science, but also to look at the political implications of science.”

So far, one thing has really surprised Ole during his time in Stockholm. “There is no barrier between the city and the sea. Stockholm is not only a world leading academic center, but also the best jogging city in the world.”

Photo: Matthjis Dorst for Medicor


“Except for my work, I have one big passion which is...”

As head of the Grants Office at KI, Björn is

involved in the contact between researchers and funders. “The researcher usually wants money to conduct research, but the funder wants something else. We are here to help so in the end we get the results that were expected from both sides.”

“If I could travel in time, it has to be to the future. It would be great to be on the first trip to Mars.”

Next to this, he is also in contact with other offices at KI, like the Career Service and the library, to bring science out into society. “The best way of doing that is through students, which will be the ones who carry this knowledge out into society for a real sustainable impact.” Björn’s busy and unpredictable schedule makes him appreciate hobbies that can carry him away for a while. “Except for my work, I have one big passion which is sailing, so the start signal for the ocean race around Gotland every year, that makes me happy.” As a kid, Björn wanted to become either a veterinarian, like his father, or an astronaut. This curiosity is still there.

Photo: Isabelle Wemar for Medicor

Photo: Ayla De Paepe for Medicor

“We get to know the patients from behind the scenes”

Madeleine and Lisa are medical secretaries

at the hematological center at Karolinska Hospital in Flemingsberg. One of their main tasks is to transcribe recordings from doctorpatient visits. “It’s great, we get to know the patients from behind the scenes and learn a lot about treatments,” they say, before stressing how they are bound by very strict confidentiality rules. “I’ve always wanted to do a desk job,” Lisa mentioned, “I like organizing and paperwork.” Madeleine on the other hand wanted to work in a store when she was young. “I tried it, it wasn’t as fun as I’d imagined.” Except for being an outlet for their natural tendency to organize, a desk job was also attractive since it gives one the chance to have a life outside of work.


“If we could run KI for a day, we would make everyone give compliments to the people around them.”

Being outside in nature with the kids is definitely one of the favorite pastimes, “After sleeping maybe,” Madeleine adds. Lisa totally adheres to the Swedish summer holiday ideal of taking four weeks off and traveling to Gotland or Greece for some sun, while Madeleine also mentions the interest for visiting historically important places. “The Second World War is very fascinating, maybe I’ll visit to Auschwitz some day.”


“I am just happy by default.” J

Photo: Ayla De Paepe for Medicor

ohanna is a lively medical doctor in hematology at Karolinska Hospital in Flemingsberg and on top of that, an Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet. “I am a clinical hematologist, that’s really who I am, but on the side I also have a preclinical research group. My third job is being a mother of three sons,” she says laughing, “so you can imagine that our babysitter and cleaning lady are very important!” The hardest part is, not surprisingly, time management. “I work between 70 and 80h per week, but not at the same place, so it doesn’t feel that much.” Meeting people is very important to Johanna, so if she could decide what would happen at KI for a day, she would organize a mingle party. “Everybody should come, not only the full professors, and the challenge would be to talk to as many people as possible.” Being from Stockholm herself, Karolinska was an obvious place to work for Johanna. “Additionally I was playing Bridge in the national team and that’s very Stockholm based, so I couldn’t really move. I was the Nordic and Swedish champion when I was around twenty.”

“I tell my students to talk to at least 10 people a day at conferences. Never be afraid to talk to others.”

Sökes! Läkarstudenter med digitalt DNA. På Doctrin hjälper vi existerande vårdgivare att ge sjukvård på smartare och effektivare sätt med hjälp av digitala verktyg. Just nu söker vi dig som är läkarstuderande (T7-11) eller nyexaminerad och som vill vara med och bidra till ta sjukvården in i

framtiden. Vi ser att du brinner för digital vård och har stor datavana. Kortfattat går arbetet ut att stödja vårt medicinska arbete med research och testning och anställningsformen är deltid. Visst låter det sjukt spännande?

Läs mer om oss här: Ansök här: 29


From the Nobel Prize to THE Nobel Prize By Patrik Bjärterot

On November 27th, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his will, which would eventually give life to one of the most famous and important awards in history, setting the standard for other awards (e.g. Lasker Prize - the American Nobel, Shaw Foundation Award - the Asian Nobel Prize). But it did not begin this way, Nobel was rich but despised. So how did Nobel, the father of dynamite, become the face of excellence in research, academia and a proponent of peace? In 1888, when Nobel’s brother Ludvig died in a factory explosion, journalists incorrectly thought that it was, in fact, Alfred who had passed away. Based upon this evidence, the reporter went on to write a scathing article, calling Nobel a “merchant of death” who only made his fortune by finding new ways to mutilate and kill. The error was corrected, but according to historians, Nobel was so troubled by his posthumous reputation that he decided to change his entire will. After Nobel’s death in December of 1896, his will came into effect. It did not take long before his will, and the crazy idea for a global prize, caught the international spotlight. An article published on May 30th of 1897 in the New York Times criticized the prize for being illconceived since the consideration for laureates limits itself at earth, “if the prize had limited itself to Scandinavian countries, the task would have been severe enough; but with the works of all the world to select from, how can any body of men, even of the broadest comprehension and the most liberal attainments, ever hope to settle fairly one in each department they can call the ‘best’.” Ingedrients for success The article went on to question how you could fairly select a winner among works of different languages, countries and cultures. However, it can be argued that the article in the esteemed New


York Times was more motivation than disincentive. Due to the early criticism, the prize had to gain credibility quickly. The first stage was the composition of the selectors. The selection and implementation of the Nobel Committee was a very critical process, it needed to be made up of credible people and the process had to be seen to be trustworthy.

Photo: Flickr Criticism that the award would be taking on too much responsibilities to accurately determine the best winners led to a very careful structuring of the committee. In the beginning, the medicine prize was handled by the entire professorial staff of Karolinska Institutet, which, in 1901, consisted of 19 people. Today, the

committee has increased to 50 professors. A second aspect of the success of the Nobel Prize is the prominence of the early laureates. In physiology and medicine, names like Pavlov, Koch, Golgi, Ramón y Cajal and Mechnikov were all in the list of laureates within the first 10 years of the award. These scientists were the fathers of their fields, widely acknowledged and esteemed. Their names created the pantheon of scientific gods and rubbed off on future winners who in turn added to the esteem (broadly speaking), resulting in a virtuous circle. As described by Robert Merton in 1956, “the Nobel Prize retains its luster because errors of the first kind where scientific work of dubious or inferior worth has been mistakenly honored are uncommonly few.” Third, there was the fact of money, which would create economic stability for the laureates, as well as sufficient funding for future research. While not exactly true today, the value of the $50,000 prize in 1900 was a veritable fortune in its day. This roughly worked out to $1.4 million today . The absolute real monetary value of the prize has shrunk to 1 million in today’s value (with each winner taking a portion of that amount). However, the above was not sufficient to make the prize a global benchmark. One of the biggest drivers behind the prominence of the Nobel Prize was the


Photo: Zach Chia for Medicor marketing. Years before the first prize was even awarded, it was already well known. Apart from the criticism of the sensibility of a global prize like in the NYT article, many other questions had arisen posthumously that needed answers that just could not be found. One of the most prominent questions was why Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, would award a prize in peace.

“The Nobel Prize retains its luster because errors of the first kind where scientific work of dubious or inferior worth has been mistakenly honored are uncommonly few” No one knows exactly why Nobel allocated part of his fortune to a reconciliation prize, and gave the honor of awarding it to Norway. The Norwegian Nobel Committee argues that Norway had a tradition of being less militant and thus was a better choice. It was also suggested that Nobel wanted to incorporate both Sweden and Norway in the prize, which at the time of Nobel’s death, were joined in a union, which meant that Stockholm and Christiania (Oslo) were both capitals. Controversy, a vital ingredient Over 100 years later, the Nobel Peace Prize still attracts controversy. It has had to endure two world wars and a smorgasbord of conflicts around the globe. Its choice of winners is regularly attacked for being political rather

than actually meaningful. Deserving individuals, such as Mahatma Gandhi (who fought for Indian independence in a non-violent struggle), were passed up for the prize (despite being nominated 4 times) while questionable choices such as President Barack Obama were made. President Obama was controversial because he won the award barely into his first year and presided over a United States continually at war during his two terms in office. The choice of President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia to win the 2016 prize was panned as being political - Santos’ attempt at a peace deal with guerrilla forces had fallen through barely days before. To add further insult to injury, earlier this year, Santos admitted that his 2010 presidential campaign had received illegal financial contributions from a Brazilian conglomerate. However, from a marketing perspective, the Peace Prize is a gold mine. Every year in October, the world is waiting for a name that they can spend hours, or even decades, debating. Recently, the Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been pressured to give back her award for her opinions regarding the violence in the Rakhine state. It is, in fact, arguable that if there were no controversy, the Peace Prize would not attract the attention or esteem that it has today. If every Peace Prize Laureate was incontrovertible, the 24 hour news cycle would sooner lose interest because there is no drama, and no drama means no viewers.

The idea that a single award can have such a huge effect/impact is intriguing because it gives a very small group of individuals great power in the advancement of science and mankind. On the other hand, the alternative of not awarding a peace prize would surely lower the range of interest. The award would become semifamous, intriguing only to those from a science background. As opposed to now, when google search graphs of “the Nobel Prize” resemble the reading of an electrocardiograph, with the peak on the day the laureates are presented.

“One of the most prominent questions was why Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, would award a prize in peace” Nobel, the father of dynamite and the merchant of death, used his fortune to advance the perspective of scientific research and academia. Even though his motives can be interpreted differently, the result is less questionable. Every year in October, the global eye is on Stockholm and Oslo to see who is getting the most prestigious prize in academia and peace. Thanks to over 100 years of intrigue, controversy, marketing, fame and controversy again, we all have something to look forward to every year. •

The importance of the Nobel Peace Prize gives good insight into mankind.



Truth cannot be sold – a new way forward for Journalism? By Zach Chia

European member-based newsrooms have shown that putting the reader and not the advertiser first can work. The model they have refined is now spreading across the world. It is a commonly used trope that technology has revolutionized the way we live, a cliché that the world is moving so much faster because of globalization, a platitude that the internet and capitalism make our lives better. The technological age has, however, not been an absolute positive. There have been unintended consequences because of these epochal changes. We have easy, quick, and free access to the constant bombardment of advertisements, unending drama on social media and a 24-hour news cycle with important breaking news taking place seemingly every hour. When we have access to so much for free though, it takes a lot to draw our attention. We don’t want to read an article if we can read a headline and make a snap 32

judgment. We are drawn to drama, our eyes peer to drama, and everyone likes free things.

“The first thing to note is that nothing comes for free. The second thing to note is that the currency of journalism and media is eyeballs not content.” But what does this do to our media consumption? And does it matter? The first thing to note is that nothing comes for free. The second thing to note is that the currency of journalism and media is eyeballs not content.

The business of eyeballs Eyeballs are influence because when we read or see something there is a chance we can get persuaded to do something, perhaps buying a product or vote a certain way. That is the whole reason why social media influencer is an actual job. Take another example, Buzzfeed is threatening the established media order in the United States because it has a winning formula for drawing eyeballs - listicles, quizzes, short bite-sized articles and a regular release of Youtube videos that go viral. To keep their business running with viewers who want free content, the content producers must find a different way to make money. These companies simply cannot approach the readers or viewers for money, as we can easily

GLOBAL FOCUS resort to following another media outlet free of charge. Thus, advertising has become a primary source of revenue for these companies. However, advertisers only advertise with the companies that have a large viewership that they want to court. For example, Breitbart’s readership is from the far-right. This means its content must be far-right in nature to secure their viewers and groups with similar, far-right elements, such as the National Rifle Association, which unsurprisingly, is a support source of the news network’s advertising. This means that unfortunately we are not the paymasters of our media, we are their product.

“We are not the paymasters of our media, we are their product” Our media is not independent of where its money comes from, in fact, it is wholly dependent on the money. Sheldon Adelson founder of the Sands Casino Group launched a free newspaper in Israel in 2007 to support a politician he liked and paid out almost 200 million USD in losses. The newspaper remains free and is the most read broadsheet in Israel today. The politician, Benjamin Netanyahu, subsequently became Israel’s Prime Minister in 2009. Similarly, news networks such as MSNBC and Fox News are also stationed on the left and right end of the political spectrum in the USA due to the political support from Brian Roberts, a pro-Democrat, and Rupert Murdoch, a pro-Republican, respectively. Then there are national level media groups like Al Jazeera, RT, and CCTV that are seen in some quarters as too closely aligned with their national governments’ interest (Qatar, Russia, and China, respectively) to report objectively about stories at home and abroad. Truth being sold to the highest bidder is obviously not a good thing, but without asking the journalist to go hungry, how can we get news that does not sensationalize but instead investigates and informs? One company that had tried for years to produce free content was The Guardian. It is run by a trust to guarantee the integrity of the paper although it also runs classifieds and advertisements. Things went really well for much of its history, however the digital revolution changed all that. Despite being a Prizewinning paper with a large reader base, The Guardian, has since 2011, been mostly a loss-suffering proposition with the company having to sack staff, cut costs, and introduce a membership scheme

to keep the paper free. It announced decreased losses (yes you read that right) for the 2016/17 financial year with plans to further reduce its “cost base” by 20% this coming year. Evidently, a business trust does help retain integrity, but does not ensure sustainability, especially in this new era of journalism. Thus, a new solution must be generated. And an answer has emerged via a new model of journalism: membership-driven journalism aka crowdfunded journalism. The idea is as follows: viewers want to read quality products, free from the influence of advertisers (not necessarily free from bias, but thoroughly researched and well-argued) and journalists need to get paid even as they want to live up to their most noble calling, so why not have the readers be the paymaster instead? Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to this idea would be whether consumers, who are accustomed to free products, would be willing to pay for something such as papers and reports. Crowdfunded journalism The first group to try crowdfunded journalism with some success was Spot. Us in 2008. The idea behind Spot.Us was that journalists would pitch stories to readers and the story that is successfully funded would then get written, a model that lasted until 2015. Its relative longevity was a sign that consumers were willing to pay for news but its eventual retirement was in part a result of the loss of journalistic integrity due to journalists trying to pander to what the readers wanted. The next game changer to arrive on the stage was De Correspondent from the Netherlands in 2013. Unlike Spot.Us., De Correspondent did not ask for funds for individual articles but embarked on a subscription-based platform. The journalists would write stories that they know about and in turn the readers are encouraged to challenge, debate and collaborate with the journalists, thereby retaining journalistic integrity. The idea certainly gained traction with almost 1.7 million USD raised in their initial

• • • • •

crowdfunding and beginning with 20,000 members. The company today has 56,000 members and growing, with plans afoot to have a United States spinoff, a clear example that a member-based newsroom that sells high quality independent reporting is feasible. Inspired by De Correspondent, Krautreporter was successfully launched as a member-funded newsroom in Germany in 2014. This was followed by El Español in Spain in 2015. Both these platforms raised more than 1 million USD in their crowdfunding calls as well. As of this year, Krautreporter is also planning to launch an English-language newsroom. This success has been followed by Sweden’s own Blank Spot in 2016 fronted by Martin Schibbye, Brit Stakston, and Nils Resare.

“... so why not have the readers be the paymaster instead?” Another site has been launched this year in Singapore – New Naratif. New Naratif aspires to eventually tell stories for the 600 million strong Southeast Asian community not just via long-form articles (articles 1000 - 20000 words in length), but also through comics and videos. Unlike the other newsgroups that have been based in countries with greater levity for freedom of speech, New Naratif plans to target the entire Southeast Asian region. However, due to the tighter controls on free speech in Southeast Asia, New Naratif is registered in the United Kingdom to protect the company and writers from clampdowns or lawsuits. No model is perfect however, and there are limits to any model. By being funded by members, but not entirely free, individuals without the financial resources would not be able to fully access such platforms. Often discussing long-form stories and not daily, applicable events, its influence will also be limited compared to that funded by governments or large corporations. It is, however, the best model of true journalism that we currently have. Will you read the product, or will you be the product? •

A selection of member-based newsrooms: De Correspondent (NED), 2013, Krautreporter (GER), 2014, El Espanol (ESP), 2015, Blank Spot (SWE), 2016, New Naratif (SGP), 2017, 33


#Igiveashit By Tatiana Álvarez Giovannucci

The World Toilet Organization (yes, there is one) wants you to count how many times a day you go to the bathroom. Feeling awkward? Defecation is one of many naturally occurring physiological processes that despite being essential are tabooed from our early childhood. Our reluctance to talk openly about toilets and other private matters not only affects us personally (impeding full self-consciousness), but may also blind us to a worrying social reality: 1 out of 3 people in the world, approximately 2.4 billion, still don’t have access to toilets. Out of these, 946 million defecate in the open. The Sanitation Crisis Sanitation is a broad concept used in the public health sector that refers to the safe and hygienic disposal of human excreta and wastewater. Inadequate sanitation rapidly contaminates water resources and spreads disease: it is estimated to cause 280000 annual diarrhoeal deaths (mainly affecting children) and transmit many other ailments like cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. All of this is virtually preventable by using a safe toilet. Consequently, one of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals is to secure the access to clean water and sanitation for everybody by 2030. India is one of the countries challenged by the sanitation crisis. Nearly 1 out of 2 Indians completely lack toilets, or have access only to quickly-built, unsafe facilities (e.g., pit latrines), according to UNICEF. In this critical situation, the consequences for the population go beyond public health. One example is the broadening of the gender gap: the dearth in toilets at school makes more than a quarter of Indian girls of menstrual age to drop out their studies. Women in rural parts of India walk in groups to protect themselves, as are often victims of taunts - and even sexual assaults - when relieving themselves alone in the outdoors. Sewage management not only challenges citizens in developing countries, as it also touches on issues of environmental sustainability. 34

Photo: With our current majority use of flushtoilets, we dismiss many opportunities: if properly treated, human waste can become a cheap and organic source of energy, compost, building bricks and even food. Entrepreneurs are now turning their eyes into the sanitation challenge, trying to tackle the issue while making profitable business. The World Toilet Organization The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a non-profit organisation created in 2001 as a global network that aims “to provide clean, safe toilets and sanitation for everyone”. The organization has become famous due to founder Jack Sim’s efforts to break the taboo nature of toilets. In order to promote sanitation policies in the political agendas worldwide, the WTO initiated the ‘World Toilet Day’ (WTD), made official by the UN in 2013. Now, every 19th of November the media provides coverage of several initiatives, both international and personal (watch ‘Matt Damon goes on strike’ on YouTube!). The organisation has also organized 15 World Toilet Summit & Expo events since its inauguration, with the objective of joining efforts from NGOs, academia, government, UN agencies and the private sector to come up with innovative solutions.

Solutions are nothing without implementation. Poor management and hygienic maintenance of sanitation facilities are equally serious problems. With the help of volunteer work, the organisation has many projects, mainly in Asia, focused not only on building facilities (e.g, the Rainbow Toilet Initiative), but also on education and local empowerment. These include basic hygienic lessons in schools and the World Toilet College, which provides sanitation workers with the appropriate training for the management and disposal of sewage. This year’s initiative for the WTD is called ‘The Urgent Run’. We can’t wait while a lack of access to sanitation affects billions of people’s health, education, safety and gender equality rights... as well as the environment and the economy! And in the words of the WTO: ‘What we don’t discuss, we can’t improve’ (maybe just avoid it while having lunch!). •


“Our reluctance to talk openly about toilets and other private matters not only affects us personally (...), but may also blind us to a worrying social reality”


“Sewage management not only challenges citizens in developing countries, as it also touches on issues of environmental sustainability”



Photo: Isabelle Wemar

Where did my creativity go? ... and how do I get it back? By Anna Boytsova and Isabelle Wemar

Creativity, noun. Stems from the adjective creative. It is common knowledge that creativity describes the ability to produce ideas and items with originality and artistry. Yet, creativity is much easier defined than executed. A prime example of this, is that we began this article with a definition of the word creativity, rather than of coming up with a catchy introduction of our own. Not to mention that we have refreshed our social media feeds about three times over since we began writing. Which is either explained by writer’s block, or pure laziness. Regardless, we are certain you can relate this to sitting at lectures, sketching caricatures instead of notes, and wishing you had the time to properly draw some-


thing. But once you get home and actually do have the time, you sit with your empty artist’s pad and unused palette for five minutes before you decide to keep up with the infamous K-family instead.

“We all love creativity, but we are much more eager to consume it than to produce it.”

We all love creativity, but we are much more eager to consume it – listening to music, going to art galleries, watching movies – than to produce it. Which is rather curious, as we now have the ability to be more creative than ever, with all our machines doing the heavy work, online tutorials readily available, and fine artists materials from all the world within our reach.


Failing to fail?

Sir Ken Robinson, in his famous TED Talk Do schools kill creativity?, offers a widely accepted explanation: the education offered in our schools is centered around being right, which makes us afraid of failure. Our grades, that essentially determine our future, are based on the number of correct answers we get on the exams. Furthermore, the positivistic disciplines – where the answer is either right or wrong – are held in much higher regard than the Arts, which cannot offer such binary conclusions. Sir Robinson argues that if you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with something original, citing Pablo Picasso: “All children are born artists. The problem is to remain artists as they grow up.” I am certain all of us can remember creating the most marvellous fantasy worlds as youths; fortresses of sand, valiant knights from stuffed animals, even our own secret languages. While we still enjoy fantasy worlds with fortresses, knights, and secret languages, we are no longer the producers, but rather consumers – Game of Thrones, anyone?

Be a creativity athlete

Just think of an athlete and his sport. To perform the sport at their very best, an athlete must train – a lot. By learning the basics, repeating the new knowledge and building upon that, he can display his skills in competitions and excel at what he does. The same rule applies to creativity; practise makes perfect. Many of our most beloved artists dedicated most of their time writing, painting or film-making before they became skilled enough to be recognized amongst their peers. A prime example of this is Leo Tolstoy. His widely acclaimed War and Peace was entirely rewritten eight times, some chapters revised up to 26 times. The number of handwritten pages of the final story stopped at 5202 pages.

Now that we have established what creativity is, why we adults tend to lack it, and what the use of it is – what is the solution? The root of the problem is the amount of time and resources we dedicate to being creative.

Get the ball rolling

It may seem hard to find time during the day to free your imagination, but remember that just 15-30 min is enough. You can do it while commuting, while taking a break from your occupation, or before you go to sleep. Drawing a little before turning the lights off can help you relax and fall asleep faster. Creativity does not necessarily refer to art. Scribbling some words, pondering solutions to scientific problems, or coming up with a totally new silly walk is creativity too.

“Failure is not the enemy, it is our fear of it that stands in the way of creativity”

“The same rule applies to creativity: practice makes perfect” Going back to Sir Robinson’s theory, it does make sense why we become more passive with adulthood. We are afraid that we are not good enough; of failing. You have not danced in thirteen years, much less choreographed – so why should you now? Leave it to the professionals. But, what we forget is that the professionals fail too. Sometimes a highly anticipated blockbuster movie becomes a box office boom, sometimes the underdog wins the favor of the audience. What seems to be simply a toilet and a load of piss can become the highlight of an art exhibition, quite literally. Creativity is about fun and challenging your mind, not success or failure; something kids understand better than we adults do. Additionally, doing something creative is one of the best ways of relaxing, trying out new ways of thinking and expressing emotions and thoughts. The next time you get upset, try writing down what you are feeling and reading it through, and you will see what we mean.

Eat well, sleep well, train well. No one can perform well if the machinery is unserviced. It is important to study and work well too. The human brain needs different kinds of challenges so that various areas of the brain may be activated, while giving other areas a break.

It is said that in order to become good at something, you must spend 10 000 hours doing it – and there is no reason why creativity would be exempt from that. Worry not, we know that the majority of you are unable to spend that amount of time on a hobby. Frankly, neither do we. But a way to build up your stamina, creatively speaking, is to employ the same technique you would use to improve your physical fitness. Exercise regularly and be sure to pressure yourself in a set amount of time. A few hours per week are enough to expand the limits of your creativity.

“Creativity does not necessarily refer to art” Likewise, you should not forget to rest. Being able to let the creativity flow, demands the ability to turn it off. An athlete must rest his muscles and let them rebuild, otherwise he will run out of steam.

Sometimes it feels hard to just start doing something that is creative. Usually that is not due to lack of energy or being lazy, but the uncertainty of what exactly the task is. Since the whole purpose of creativity is originality, there is no set goal or instruction on how to reach it. A solution to this is to begin with making a mind map and asking yourself: what do I want to do? Do I have all the materials I need? What do I want this to look like? What is my inspiration? When do I want to be finished? Setting some guidelines for yourself, based on the answers to these questions, can help you see the contours of your work – then it is much simpler to begin filling them in.

Look for your 10,001st way

Creativity is an essential element for humanity and its development. Its absence would have a stranglehold on us by keeping our mind and spirit in the stone age. Our modern community was built step by step by people thinking outside the box and finding solutions to everyday problems by employing their creativity and learning from their mistakes. Like Thomas Edison said about his process of inventing the lightbulb: “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that will not work”. Failure is not the enemy, it is our fear of it that stands in the way of creativity. And if you can spend 63 and a half hours bingeing Game of Thrones, then you can certainly spend as much time practising your own creativity. •



A night out? Dig deeper By Diana Čekatauskaitė

Berlin, London or Amsterdam are usually the go-to cities for a great night out. Is Stockholm on the list? Rarely, yet somewhat undeservedly so. When I first moved to Sweden and asked where to go for a night out, all roads led to Stureplan. (Un)fortunately, it did not take me long to realize that it could not give me the kind of a night out I wouldprefer (DISCLAIMER: this is an entirely subjective opinion). After a few less-than-enjoyable nights, I tried to convince myself that taking a long bath was the best way for me to relax after a stressful week. A few such weekends later, I reached the point of boredom where I realized that bathing myself to oblivion was not doing anything to help getting my mind off something. I needed to dance it off.

Backdoor. Some clubs recently had to close their doors, but definitely not due to lack of interest (some more-anticipated events sell out weeks before). Most blame Sweden’s strict laws that make the alcohol license (the club’s main revenue source) past a certain time exorbitantly expensive (it is no secret that ravers stay up late). Others mention police raids due to its prejudice on drug use there or simply neighbours’ complaints.

Since going to Stureplan was out of the question already, and most of my friends were also new to Sweden, I needed to start digging. I was hungry for new venues, new tunes, new people. The only criterion was not to hear a single song from the Top 40 list throughout the night. What I managed to find was a blossoming underground scene for any taste: disco, funk, house, trance, loads of techno and everything in between.

its communal feeling”

For a city this size, Stockholm has quite few established regular clubs dedicated to this scene. This is probably why 'The Capital of Scandinavia' has not made it to Europe’s party map just yet. Of course, there is always the trusted Under Bron (and its lovely seasonal outdoor extension Trädgården) or an LGBTQ-friendly 38

“The one striking thing about this movement is Therefore, a night out in Stockholm feels more like an adventure. The underground scene largely functions on social media: there are dozens of pages (Aftermath Management, Suburbia, Technostate to name a few), groups and accounts that notify you when the next so-called svartklubb (a black club in Swedish) is taking place, while the locations largely remain secret. You register under a provided link a couple of days in advance and receive the location, sometimes just before the event starts. Some locations are more permanent and regular than others, some shut down, some reopen. There have been events in public saunas (fortunately not in use), abandoned warehouses, train carriages, forests etc. It can be frustrat-

ing in the beginning to plan a night out a week in advance, but it is more a matter of getting used to the Swedish passion to plan everything. Besides, the queues are rare because the guys who would start a why-did-we-not-get-in argument with the bouncer usually do not make it this far. If you have a ticket, you are 99% welcome. Everyone is. The one striking thing about this movement is its communal feeling. A lot of promoters are doing this as a side job from the sheer love of music. They often coordinate among themselves not to book famous artists for the same weekend, letting each other at least break even. The crowd celebrates inclusivity and mutual respect (I have never seen a single fight happen) and I have met probably some of the most fascinating people there. Unlike in some places, they do not come to show off, they come to let loose and simply enjoy. How could you not if you are dancing your bottoms off to a brilliant 80s funk vinyl selection outside the city hosted by the Lighthouse while being offered watermelons and grapes and affordable beer? So, a warm welcome to you, my fellow ravers and new converts. See you on the dancefloor. •




31 OCT


Trevor Robbins, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, will give a lecture on “the neural basis and neuropsychiatric implications”.


Various Cınemas Across Stockholm The festival is recognized for its ability to promote and offer a venue for young and unestablished filmmakers.

11 NOV

17 NOV


By Yildiz Kelahmetoglu

Nobels Väg 10, 15:00 - 18:00

The union house in Solna will be open to everyone! Fun stations across the house where all MF organs will be represented! In the evening, there will be a student dinner party.


18 8-19 NOV NOV


11 DEC


Blåslaget’s concert is here. Be prepared for surprises along with a musical feast. The concert is followed by a “sittning”. Concert: 100kr Concert and dinner: 300kr Concert and alcohol free dinner: 250kr Sign up:



Tıckets and Program:

A keynote talk by Melinda Gates will be followed by a dialogue with students, interactive panel discussions with researchers and policy makers as well as a mingle. The event is for FREE and light food and drink will be served but the registration is not open yet.


Nobels Väg 10, 15:00 - 18:00

Aula Medıca, Karolinska Institutet 09:00 - 13:00

NOV 1 / JAN 7


What is student influence? Who can be a student representative? You will find out even more in this event. It’s free and there is pizza!

Register here:

Eastmansvägen 10–12

A unique exhibition that opens on Nov 1st at Sven-Harrys Art Museum and will be on display until Jan 7 2018. A number of researchers at Karolinska Institutet participate by displaying images of normal and disease states.

Nobels Väg 10, 17:00 - 19:30

15 NOV

Aula Medıca, Karolinska Institutet 09:00 - 13:00 Nobel Laureate Edvard Moser will discuss his groundbreaking discoveries about the human “GPS” system, followed by presentations from this year’s winners of the Science & SciLifePab Prize for Young Scientists. Registration is FREE and lunch is included.


10 DEC

Nobels Väg 10 Students’ Nobel NightCap is created by students to celebrate the Nobel laureates. Taking place after the Nobel Banquet the 10th of December, it is a magical occasion with a different spectacular (and secret!) theme every year. This year the SNNC is hosted by Medicinska Föreningen. 39

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

medicinska föreningen’s student magazine


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Become a member today! Become a member today!


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