People - Juni Palmgren

February 28th: New honorary doctor titles conferred by Karolinska Institutet

The Karolinska Institutet has conferred the title of honorary doctor for services to the university or the field of medicine to:

Juni Palmgren, Professor of Biostatistics at Stockholm University, Sweden
Jukka Meurman, Professor at the Institute of Dentistry at Helsinki University, Finland
Andrzej Werynski, Professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland

Juni Palmgren was awarded the title for her invaluable contributions to biostatistics as a research field at the Karolinska Institutet. During her time as visiting professor there, Professor Palmgren focused on the recruitment of top-level competencies so that there is now a well-functioning unit for biostatistics with internationally distinguished research scientists.

Professor Palmgren is a member of the Committee for Research Infrastructures (KFI) appointed by the Swedish Research Council and responsible for recommending how e-science strategies in Sweden can be developed. Their first report from 2006, The Swedish Research Council’s Guide to Infrastructure, is Sweden’s first long-term plan for research infrastructure. A summary of the key conclusions can be found here. The report will be revised annually, with the next update expected in the summer of 2007.

One of the tasks for the committee has been to try and make data more easily available. "Our vision is to use meta-clusters for storing data so that many users can access it from wherever they are."

The committee has put forward several proposals for fields of great potential, among others:

• Investigation of how databases for climate and environmental research can be coordinated so that data collected from environmental monitoring, for example, can be made more accessible to researchers.
• Investigation of how infrastructures for the Biosciences can be coordinated to enhance accessibility and facilitate large-scale analyses of information on plant, animal and human biology.
• Investigation of whether the large quantities of biomedical data stored in biobanks can be standardised and made available in a way that is legally and ethically acceptable.

One of the general principles on which the committee’s recommendations are based is that “research infrastructures and the data produced through their use should be made as openly accessible as possible to other researchers”. Professor Palmgren herself lives up to this principle of openess in science; she has published several papers in Open Access journals such as BMC Genetics, PloS Medicine, and Breast Cancer Research. On May 11th she will receive her cap, diploma, and ring from the Dean of Research of the Karolinska Institutet as confirmation of her new status.

See also a short interview with Juni Palmgren here.