• Sweden edition
 
SPONSORED ARTICLE
Stockholm University: at the forefront of Chemistry research

Stockholm University: at the forefront of Chemistry research

Published: 19 Apr 2011 18:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Apr 2011 18:19 GMT+02:00

With four Nobel Chemistry Prize winners through history and leading research in many fields of science, Stockholm University provides a unique environment for chemistry researchers and students.

Sweden has produced some of the world’s leading scientists over the centuries, including many pioneering chemists - and as the home of the Nobel Prize, Stockholm has a special place in the world of chemistry.

Chemists at Stockholm University have long upheld this tradition of research and innovation - four Nobel Chemistry Prize winners have been associated with the university, most recently to Paul J Crutzen in 1995.

Some of the most important chemistry research currently being undertaken at Stockholm is being carried out by Professor Gunnar von Heijne. The professor, who until recently was chairman of the Nobel Chemistry Prize Committee, researches on the assembly and structure of membrane proteins and is head of the Centre for Biomembrane Research at the university.

In 2008, von Heijne was awarded a €2 million European Research Council Advanced Grant, to research how cells make membrane proteins. These constitute a third of all the proteins in a cell and play a vital role in the way pharmaceuticals enter cells.

Membrane proteins are associated with cell membranes. More than half of all pharmaceuticals on the market have membrane proteins as their targets. In other words, the pharmaceuticals use membrane proteins as their ‘way in’ to cells.

“Many drugs ‘tickle’ the target cells by binding to the proteins on the membrane,” is how von Heijne describes the process.

This means that understanding more about membrane proteins will have big implications for the development of future drugs.

The Centre for Biomembrane Research is one of the leading research centres in the field, and has around 20 research groups, which study all aspects of biomembranes.

“There are only one or two places in the world that have this broad level of knowledge,” says von Heijne. It is building on the historic strengths of Stockholm University, which has long been a leader in the study of respiration and photosynthesis, both of which have involved research into membrane proteins.

“We realised we had a strong base to build broader-based research into membrane proteins.”

The strength of the centre’s research has attracted talent from around the world, with group leaders drawn from many countries, including from the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, the US and Germany.

“We don’t have to try very hard to find good, young group leaders. The centre has been a magnet for attracting people,” says von Heijne.

In addition, almost all post-doctoral students and most master’s students are from outside Sweden.

“It is rare that we teach a class at master’s level in Swedish, and when we do we find we’re using English terminology all the time,” von Heijne says.

The Stockholm scientific community is, of course, used to a high international profile. This is due not least to its association with the Nobel Prize. von Heijne spent twelve years on the committee that chooses the winner of the Nobel Chemistry Prize, chairing it for three years. In that role he sifted through thousands of nominations and spent up to two months a year working to find a winner.

The Nobel Prizes make Stockholm a particularly stimulating place for researchers; the university welcomes a steady stream of the world’s top scientists as seminar speakers, who are attracted by Stockholm’s Nobel connection:

“You would have to be in a very high profile research university in Europe or the States to see a similarly high-level set of people,” says von Heijne.

Stockholm’s strength in chemistry is not confined to biochemistry. Its first Nobel Prize winner, Svante Arrhenius, was considered one of the founders of physical chemistry, and the university is home to leaders in all areas of chemistry, including organic, inorganic and quantum chemistry.

In the latter field, Fahmi Himo recently received one of Sweden’s most prestigious scientific prizes, the 4.6 million krona Göran Gustafsson Prize, “for his development and application of quantum mechanical techniques for elucidation of enzymatic and homogeneous catalysis of chemical reactions".

“We have internationally-leading scientists in many research areas - and they all teach. Study here, and you are at the forefront of research,” von Heijne says.

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

NEWS_NOT_YET_IMPORTED
Today's headlines
'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Erik the Holy's skull and the crown, believed to be Sweden's oldest. Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

King Erik the Holy died 854 years ago, but scientists have just unveiled his skull at Uppsala Cathedral. READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

Swedish girls report more eating problems
Teen girls. File photo: Chloe Chaplin/Flickr

Swedish girls report more eating problems

A youth wellbeing report from Save the Children found that more teenage girls than in previous surveys reported having an eating disorder. READ () »

'Zlatan will be back for finals': PSG coach
Photo: AP

'Zlatan will be back for finals': PSG coach

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc said on Tuesday that he believed Swedish goal machine Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play again before the end of the season. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Advertisement:
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

712
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com