Physician and scientist with ambition to create space for people to share knowledge about body and health

October 15, 2019

You have been part of the vision process for Forskaren right from the very start. Tell us about your experience.

I got involved via my friend, Angela Sperandio at Doberman, Vectura’s innovation partner. A few years ago, I had an idea to create an exciting, fun and educational meeting space focused on the body and health for both children and adults. A sort of learning and discovery centre for the body. The idea began life as a place like Junibacken, the interactive children’s cultural center in Stockholm, or the Tom Tits science museum. It ended up taking a different direction and now I’m working with Andreas Blom, the creator, curator and founder of the experimental theatre project Satans Demokrati, on an experience-based theatre piece about our bodies, health, research and the future.

I think that the vision process for Forskaren was really exciting. It was influenced by lots of different parts of society with researchers, engineers, economists, artists and politicians all giving input. I think interesting and important things can develop through this kind of interdisciplinary collaboration.

What do you think that Forskaren can bring to Hagastaden?

I believe and hope that Forskaren will help ordinary people become more aware of their bodies and health. So we can all recognise how amazing our bodies are and become more open to learning about how they work and how best to look after our them, both physically and mentally.

So we think about how we live and eat to look after our bodies and even our planet, considering the environmental crisis we face. What happens if the temperatures rise? Will malaria or dengue fever become a problem in Sweden? And what happens if we run out of clean water? Will we start having to worry about cholera?

How is Forskaren relevant to you and your organisation?

As a physician and a researcher, I want people to learn more about their bodies and their health. The more knowledge you have, the better you can look after yourself and your loved ones.

Right now, there are lots of public health issues in our part of the world such as obesity and the problems that this can cause like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even depression. In my field of infectious disease, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest concerns worldwide, with a number of people already dying due to a lack of antibiotics for certain strains of resistant bacteria. This mostly affects people who are already very ill and have to spend a lot of time in hospitals.

What do you think is most important about Forskaren’s role as an innovation partner within life and health?

I hope that Forskaren will become an informative space where people can access reliable information about diseases and epidemics that they may have seen covered by the media. A place where people can learn about current research and what the future will look like. A place where people can discuss important issues such as vaccinations, organ donation, genetics, AI and more. All with a firm footing in the facts and the latest research.

Forskaren will be a space for innovative thinkers that offers opportunities to develop businesses and knowledge exchange. What do you think the workplace of the future will look like? And how can Forskaren contribute?

I think that the Forskaren’s biggest advantage will be its physical proximity to different disciplines and researchers across institutions such as Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design. These physical encounters will inevitably allow great ideas to grow and develop in ways that will be very important to us all.

ANNA NORLANDER IN BRIEF

Age: 45

Family: Husband and three children aged 9, 12 and 14.

Lives: Normally in Södermalm, Stockholm, but is currently completing a post-doc in Seattle.

Background and connection to Hagastaden: Infectious disease physician (studied at Karolinska Institutet), working 50% at the infectious disease clinic and 50% at the department for cell therapy and stem cell transplantation, both at Karolinska. She defended her thesis within stem cell transplantation ten years ago and is currently living in Seattle, completing post-doc research.

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