ACADEMIC CEREMONIES. On Friday, November 11, the University of Gothenburg held its second Jubilee Doctor Ceremony, celebrating individuals who earned their doctoral degrees fifty years ago. Seven jubilee doctors were celebrated–including professor emeritus Christian Blomstrand–from Sahlgrenska Academy’s subject areas.
“It was a very special occasion, and so nice to see old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in fifty years. I really live in the present, and it feels strange that fifty years have passed since I earned my degree, but it’s also very nice for this to be recognized,” says Christian Blomstrand.
Significance of glial cells
In 1971, he defended his dissertation at the neurobiological unit of what was known at the time as the Department of Histology, supervised by Anders Hamberger. His dissertation was about protein synthesis and transportation of amino acids in nerve cells and glial cells.
“A lot of people were wondering why I was focused on glial cells, because so many people thought they were support cells of little interest. We now know that glial cells play a very important role in the brain, because they regulate the internal environment of the nervous system and the fluid surrounding all cells,” says Christian.
At a time when brain regeneration was not thought to be possible, Christian Blomstrand was among the small group of researchers who still believed in the ability of the brain to reshape itself. His interest in brain plasticity led him to stroke research. He describes his delight at the incredible progress that has been made and at having the opportunity to participate in work with a variety of new treatments that improve opportunities for preventing, treating in acute situations, and rehabilitating after a cerebral hemorrhage or cerebral infarction. Christian Blomstrand was also one of the founders of Stroke Centre West and the research foundation Stroke Invest, a passion that he has been working with in recent years.
AHA Festival on Thursday
Meeting the curious public is another one of his passions, particularly when it comes to the connection between cultural experiences and health. Turning 80 has not slowed down Christian. This week, he will serve as moderator at the AHA Festival for a seminar on art, architecture and the brain (Thursday, November 17, 3:00 pm, Chalmers RunAn).
“Never in my life have I regretted focusing on research. It is incredibly exciting to be curious, to seek answers to questions you ask yourself and younger colleagues. It also gives you the chance to help make society better.”
Dinner at Gothia Towers
Like the University’s other academic ceremonies, the Jubilee Doctor Ceremony is characterized by plenty of fanfare and flourishes, including speeches and music. The afternoon at Vasa Park concluded with a formal dinner at the restaurant Seasons in Gothia Towers.
A total of 24 jubilee doctors were celebrated from different faculties. The following were inaugurated for Sahlgrenska Academy’s scientific fields: Christian Blomstrand, Göran Bondjers, Olof K. Jonsson, Jan-Olof Karlsson, Anders Norström, Bertil Olsson and Staffan Smeds. Read more about the day and all of the jubilee doctors in the ceremony program.
BY: ELIN LINDSTRÖM
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG