Honorary Doctors 2010

The University of Kuopio invited 16 distinguished individuals to receive the award of Honorary Doctor in the Conferment Ceremonies June 10-12th, 2010. Honorary doctorate is the most prestigious acknowledgement that the academic community can bestow on an individual. Some of the Honorary Doctors have been chosen by the faculties and some by a larger university community of the University of Kuopio.

University of Kuopio Honorary Doctors

A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences Honorary Doctors

Faculty of Pharmacy Honorary Doctors

Faculty of Business and Information Technology Honorary Doctors

Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences Honorary Doctors

Faculty of Medicine Honorary Doctors

Faculty of Social Sciences Honorary Doctors


Martti Ahtisaari

President Martti Ahtisaari has been chosen as Honorary Doctor of Social Sciences.

President Ahtisaari  has made a distinguished career with the United Nations and the Finnish Foreign Ministry and was elected as President of the Republic of Finland in 1994. Upon leaving office as President in February 2000, Martti Ahtisaari has taken several tasks in international peace-mediation and conflict resolution.

President Ahtisaari is founder and Chairman of the Board of Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), a Non-Governmental Organisation to continue his legacy in helping the international community in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and post-conflict statebuilding. He has acted as a facilitator of the peace process between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, chairman of an independent panel on the security and safety of UN personnel in Iraq, as the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and Personal Envoy of the OSCE CiO for Central Asia as well as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the future status process for Kosovo.

President Ahtisaari has positions in numerous non-governmental and non-profit organisations, such as Co-Chair in European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey, and Chairman of the Governing Council of Interpeace. He is the Director-At-Large of the ImagineNations Group, member of the Silatech Board of Trustees, and member of the Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

President Ahtisaari has received numerous awards. In December 2008 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is an Honorary Doctor of 19 Universities.

Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen

Designer Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen has been chosen as Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) H.C. 

Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen is known for combining high quality, creative artistic work with industrial production. She graduated from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 1974 and has ever since been one of the leading Finnish fashion designers.

 She has reformed Finnish clothing industry through her international knowledge and experience of marketing and materials production. In her collection of unique products she has experimented with combining ideas from classic sculpture with textile and fashion design. During the past few years she has expanded her work to the design and production of jewelery, ceramics and glassware. Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen actively takes stand for the maintenance and development of crafts and industrial production know-how in Finland. She has taught fashion design in the University of Art and Design Helsinki, her work has been presented in various exhibitions in Finland and abroad and she has received many recognitions such as the Kaj Franck Design Award in 2004. Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen lives and works in Kuopio.

Pekka Puska

Professor Pekka Puska has been chosen as Doctor of Philosophy H.C.

Professor Puska is currently the Director General of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland (THL). Prior to his present position Professor Puska was the Director General of the National Public Health Institute (KTL) and, before that, the Director for Noncommunicable Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva.

He was, for 25 years, the Director and Principal Investigator of the North Karelia Project: prevention of cardiovascular diseases in the province and later on in all of Finland. The results were outstanding, about 80% decline in annual heart disease mortality among the working age population and a dramatic general improvement in public health took place. At the WHO, Pekka Puska directed the work on integrated prevention of NCD targeting the main risk factors through broad health promotion, national programmes, policy measures and regional networks.

Professor Puska has had numerous major positions in Finnish and international health related public and nongovernmental organizations. In Finland, he has been a Member of the National Parliament and currently he is the chair of the National Nutrition Council, the President of Finnish Heart Association and the chair of the Board of the UKK Institute for health promotion. He is also the President of World Heart Federation, the Vice-President of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) as well as the vice-chair of the Governing Council of the WHO International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC). Professor Puska is Honorary Doctor of the St. Andrew's University (Scotland) and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He has received various awards, such as the Annual WHO Health Education Award, the WHO Tobacco Free World Award, the Nordic Award for Public Health and the Rank Prize.

John Martin

Professor John Martin has been chosen as Doctor of Medicine H.C.

John Martin works as Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at University College London. Professor Martin is a highly respected consultant physician and researcher of cardiovascular diseases. He has, among other things, made original discoveries of the significance of platelet production in myocardial infarction and the role of vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF in protecting the walls of blood vessels.

Professor Martin holds numerous positions of trust and he has been awarded various awards such as the Queen Victoria Eugenia Chair at the Complutense University and the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology. He was also finalist for European Commission Descartes Prize for Research. Professor Martin has written the constitution document of the European Heart Health Charter. He is founder of the European Critical Care Foundation and currently he is leading the establishment of the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at University College London. Professor John Martin has made long-standing research collaboration with Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala and they are co-founders of Ark Therapeutics, a gene medicine company based in London and Kuopio.

Ole Petter Ottersen

Professor Ole Petter Ottersen has been chosen as Doctor of Medicine H.C. 

Ole Petter Ottersen is Professor of Medicine and Rector (President) of the University of Oslo. Professor Ottersen is recognized for his outstanding research in molecular neuroscience. His current research focuses on investigating molecular mechanisms involved in the development of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disease, with a special emphasis on the role of cellular water balance and glutamate excitotoxicity.

The study aims at unraveling the molecular basis for cell death and edema development in stroke and other neurological conditions, and explores the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease and temporal lobe epilepsy.

Until taking up his position as the University President he was Director of the Center of Excellence for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience and a coordinator of a the Nordic Center of Excellence of Molecular Medicine. He is editor-in-chief of Neuroscience - one of the most highly respected neuroscience journals and the official journal of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO).

Professor Ole Petter Ottersen has received numerous awards and recognitions such as the Jahre Prize for young scientists, Lundbeckfondens Nordiske Forskerpris/Nordic Research Prize and the Jahre Prize for senior scientists. He holds several positions of trust in international organizations such as panel chairman in European Research Council (ERC). Professor Ottersen was a member of the panel for the A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy during the research evaluation of the University of Kuopio in 2008.

Per Artursson

Professor Per Artursson has been chosen as Doctor of Pharmacy H.C. 

Per Artursson  works as Professor of Dosage Form Design at the Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University. He has made a significant career in the research of pharmacy, especially in drug absorption, disposition and delivery. He has made globally pioneering research contributions in the development of in vitro models for the prediction of drug absorption through small intestine.

Professor Artursson is on the editorial boards for the leading scientific journals in the pharmaceutical sciences and has received various awards for his research. He is among the most cited pharmacology researchers in the world.

Per Artursson has been doing fruitful research collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Kuopio. Also pharmacy students have benefited from this collaboration and have had opportunities to do research in Professor Artursson's laboratory. Professor Artursson was a member of the panel for the A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy during the research evaluation of the University of Kuopio in 2008.

Liisa Turakka

Professor emerita Liisa Turakka has been chosen as Doctor of Pharmacy H.C. 

Liisa Turakka came to work at the University of Kuopio in 1973 and took upon the task of establishing the degree programmes in pharmacy which were launched the same year. She worked in Kuopio for 15 years, part of this time as Associate Professor and Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Upon leaving the University of Kuopio Liisa Turakka took leading national assignments. She worked as Director of the Medicines Laboratory until 1993 and Head of Department at the National Medicines Agency until her retirement in 2006. Professor Turakka was the first Finnish member of the European Pharmacopoeia Praesidium. Her other international and national positions of trust include assignments in the National pharmacopoeia, the Nordic Council on Medicines and the European Medicines Agency EMEA, the Academy of Finland and the Universities of Kuopio and Helsinki.

After her retirement, Liisa Turakka has continued aa Adjunct Professor (Docent) of the University of Kuopio. In 2008-2009 she was invited by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to conduct a regional decentralization study in context of the establishment of the Finnish Medical Agency.

Silvia Gherardi

Professor Silvia Gherardi has been chosen as Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) H.C.

Silvia Gherardi is Professor of Sociology of Work and Organization at the University of Trento and Director of the Research Unit on Communication, Organizational Learning, and Aesthetics (Rucola). Silvia Gherardi is recognized for her research of learning and knowing in organizations especially in relation to technological change.

Professor Gherardi's interests span also the themes of gender, narratives, safety, and organizational cultures. She has developed the methodology of practice-based research, which is one the most interesting research topics in organization research. Many of her books and articles are classics in the field of organization theory.

Professor Gherardi has been nominated as honorary member of EGOS (European Group of Organizational Studies) and she is Honorary Doctor of the University of Roskilde. Professor Gherardi visits Finland regularly and she visited the Department of Business and Management of the University of Kuopio in spring 2009.

Erkki Oja

Professor Erkki Oja has been chosen as Doctor of Philosophy H.C. 

Professor Oja is one of the most recognized Finnish neural networks researchers. He works as Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and as Director of the Centre of Excellence for Adaptive Informatics Research at Helsinki University of Technology.

The research centre investigates intelligent data processing methods and their various practical applications. He is also the chairman of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering of the Academy of Finland.

Professor Oja is member of many Finnish scientific associations, such as the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Academy of Technological Sciences. He is a Fellow of international organizations such as IEEE, IAPR (International Association of Pattern Recognition) and INNS (International Neural Networks Society). He is also member of organization committees of various international conferences and editorial committees of scientific journals. He is Honorary Doctor of Uppsala University and Lappeenranta University of Technology. He has received numerous international awards such the Pioneer Award of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society.

Erkki Oja worked as Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Kuopio during 1981-1987. During that time he made a great contribution to the establishment of teaching and research of computer science at the University of Kuopio. Professor Oja was the chairman of the panel for natural sciences during the research evaluation of the University of Kuopio in 2008.

Ilkka Virtanen

Professor emeritus Ilkka Virtanen has been chosen as Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) H.C. 

Ilkka Virtanen retired as Professor Operations Research and Management Science in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Vaasa in 2008.

During the early years of his scientific career, he worked on maintenance and reliability problems. Later he directed his research into general systems theory, investment analysis problems, entropy analysis and financial statement analysis and stock market applications. He has through the years been especially interested in the application of mathematical and statistical modeling in industry and business. During the last ten years Ilkka Virtanen has focused on future studies. He worked as the chairman and a member in the Finland Futures Academy. He is an honorary member of the Finnish Society for Futures Studies.

Professor Virtanen has made an exceptional career in higher education administration and expert tasks. He worked as the Rector of the University of Vaasa, as a member of the Finnish Council of University Rectors, as a member of a working committee of the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council. He has also been a member of board in various education and research foundations.

Professor Virtanen has taken many tasks in the evaluation of Finnish higher education.  In 2006 Ilkka Virtanen was invited by the Ministry of Education to conduct an evaluation of educational networks in business and economics in Eastern and Northern Finland. In 2008 he was the chairman of the panel for  the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Department of Business and Management during the research evaluation of the University of Kuopio.

Ernst Hunziker

Professor Ernst Hunziker has been chosen as Doctor of Philosophy H.C. 

Professor Hunziker works as Director of the Research Centre of Regenerative Medicine for Skeletal Tissues at the University of Bern. He is one of the best recognized and long-standing figures in research of musculoskeletal tissues and diseases, such articular cartilage or osteoarthritis. His expertise in histological and histomorphometric methods, especially when applied for bone, epiphyseal cartilage and articular cartilage, is of superior standard.

Professor Hunziker has studied the maturation of cartilage structure and composition during normal growth, and focused on the microstructural changes in cartilage during development of osteoarthtritis. At present, he has a strong interest in applications that aim to repair cartilage using tissue engineering methods.

During the years Professor Hunziker has developed a close research collaboration with the Department of Physics and the Department of Anatomy of the University of Kuopio. He has contributed actively both to research and postgraduate training. Collaboration with the researchers at the University of Kuopio has led to the publication of many high-level scientific articles; as evidenced by the Perkins Prize for a joint study in 2003.

Juhani Ruotsalainen 

Juhani Ruotsalainen has been chosen as Doctor of Philosophy H.C.

Juhani Ruotsalainen is a carpenter and a long-term naturalist, who is specialized in Basidiomyces. During the years he has expanded his activities from ordinary collection of mushrooms into their systematic study, focusing especially on the genus Russula.

His studies have lead to a better clarification of the taxonomy of this genus. In the course of his studies he has both found novel mushroom species in Finland as well as discovered completely scientifically novel species of Russula. In his latest studies Juhani Ruotsalainen has in collaboration with the Universities of Kuopio and Helsinki introduced molecular biological methods for mushroom taxonomy. His expertise has been utilized in both Finnish and international academic mycological education.

He has been nominated as an Honorary Member of the Kuopion Luonnon Ystäväin Yhdistys (KLYY) (Kuopio Naturalists' Society). Juhani Ruotsalainen´s scientific work is a remarkable evidence of how an enthusiastic amateur– in the best sense of the word – can still today give valuable contributions to scientific research. He also represents a continuation of a tradition of amateur natural scientists among the members of KLYY. This tradition has flourished already before the University was established and today, in collaboration with the University, it faces new opportunities and horizons.

Kai Simons

Professor Kai Simons has been chosen as Doctor of Medicine H.C. 

Professor Simons works as Group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. Until 2006 he was also Director of the same Institute, which aims at combining modern molecular biology and cell biology.

Professor Simons has been especially successful in creating strong research units. Prior to his recruitment in the Max Planck Institute, he made a long career in European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. In EMBL he started a cell biology research program, which developed into a leading European cell biology research unit.

Professor Simons' impressive scientific work includes nearly 300 publications, most of which have been published in the highest ranking scientific journals. He is without doubt one the internationally most recognized Finnish researchers. Professor Simons has been a major influence in the science policy field in Europe and globally. He has been the editor of a number of significant scientific journals. He is member of seven scientific academies, such as the American Academy of Art and Science. He has been awarded numerous prizes such as the Federation of European Biochemical Societies Anniversary Prize, the Anders Jahre Prize, the Runeberg Prize, the Academia Leopoldina Schleiden Medal and the Matti Äyräpää Prize. He is an Honorary Doctor of the University of Oulu and the University of Leuven and has been invited as an honorary lecturer in international conferences. He is also the chairman of the European Life Scientist Organization.

Rudolph Tanzi 

Professor Rudolph E. Tanzi has been chosen as Doctor of Medicine H.C.

Rudolph Tanzi serves as the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. He is also Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Professor Tanzi is one of the leading researchers in the field of Alzheimer's disease and he has made a significant contribution in studying the underlying genetic background of this disease.

He co-discovered all three of the early-onset Alzheimer's disease genes, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin (PSEN) genes and has significantly contributed to our understanding of their roles in familial Alzheimer's disease. These discoveries have led to the development of potential drug therapies, some of which are currently in clinical trials. He has also co-discovered numerous genes for late-onset Alzheimer's and autism.

Professor Tanzi has published over 350 papers including many in the leading scientific journals, such as Science, Nature, Neuron, New England Journal of Medicine, and Cell. Professor Tanzi has received several awards in medicine, including the Metropolitan Life Award and the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer's disease research. Professor Tanzi has had a long-standing research collaboration with the Department of Neurology at the University of Kuopio. Over the years, the University of Kuopio has greatly benefited from this collaboration in research which aims to find novel risk genes for Alzheimer's disease and their role in the disease pathogenesis.

Sirkka Lauri

Professor emerita Sirkka Lauri has been chosen as Doctor of Health Sciences H.C. 

She has had a leading role in the development of education and research of Finnish nursing science. Her research targets have been decision making in nursing, knowledge base and theory of nursing, health care work, care of cancer patients and documentation of nursing. She has made pioneering work in studying and improving nursing practices.

Sirkka Lauri worked as the first Professor of Nursing science and prior to that as Assistant Professor at the University of Kuopio. She led the establishment of the Finnish Post-Graduate School in Nursing Science during the 1980s. She worked actively towards the establishment of the Finnish Association of Nursing Research and she was the first editor-in-chief of Hoitotiede (Nursing Science) magazine. She has held several positions of trust for example in the Universities of Kuopio, Joensuu and Turku, in the Ministry of Education, the Academy of Finland, the Higher Education Council and in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. She has worked as scientific scholar in the University of California (SF) and as a visiting professor in the University Of Manitoba, Canada. Sirkka Lauri retired from the post of Professor of Nursing Science of the University of Turku in 2002.

Steven Shardlow

Professor Steven Shardlow has been chosen as Doctor of Social Sciences H.C. 

Professor Shardlow is Foundation holder of the Chair of Social Work at the University of Salford, England, where until recently he was the Director of the Institute for Health and Social Care Research.

Professor Shardlow's current research interests are in the following areas: evidence-based policy and practice, particularly in respect of social work with children and families and older people; welfare and social capital; applied professional ethics; comparative research in social work; professional knowledge and education, and research utilisation. His publications and text-books in these fields have been internationally recognized and have been translated into various languages.

Professor Shardlow is editor-in-chief of Journal of Social Work (SAGE). Previously he was chairperson of The Association of Teachers of Social Work Education (ATSWE- UK) and UK representative on the Executive Committee of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW). He has worked as a social work practitioner and manager. He has been awarded as researcher by national and international financiers. Professor Shardlow has collaborated with the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy at the University of Kuopio since the beginning of the 21st Century. This collaboration has improved the development of comparative research of social work in particular.

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