Symposium 2023

The Future of Life Science: Healthy longevity, next-generation therapeutics, and precision health 

May 4- 5 2023, Engelsberg Ironwork 

Moderator: Anya Sitaram, a documentary producer and professional conference moderator specialising in health, science, environment and international development. A former BBC World news anchor, Anya is a founding director at Rockhopper Media, an award winning television and film production company. Anya began her career as a BBC trainee before becoming ITN Health and Science Correspondent and later a presenter on the BBC’s flagship science programme Tomorrow’s World. Anya regularly moderates at high-level events for the European Commission and UN bodies.


The session focuses on healthy longevity and the biological and societal factors contributing to today's health and life expectancy. How is health distributed in the world today? How does the aging process affect disease processes and susceptibility to debilitating conditions? What can we expect in the future regarding the ability to increase the number of healthy years for each of us? 

  • Ola Rosling is President & Co-Founder of Gapminder Foundation which he founded together with his wife and his father. In 1999, Ola led the development of the Trendalyzer software, which was acquired by Google in 2007. At Google, Ola and his team delivered the Motion Chart as part of Google Spreadsheets. As Product Manager for Google Public Data, Ola helped democratize access to Public Statistics by developing the infrastructure needed to make official statistics part of Google Search results. Ola and Anna returned to Gapminder in 2011 to develop free teaching materials for a fact-based worldview. In 2014 Ola coined the term Factfulness, which Gapminder promoted in order to make the education about Sustainable Development less ideological and more fact-based. Together with Anna and Hans Rosling, Ola wrote the Factfulness book, launched in April 2018.
  • Sara Hägg is Associate Professor in Molecular Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research focus is on epidemiology of aging with a specific interest in biological aging mechanisms and the association with age-related traits such as frailty and dementia. She currently leads several large scale projects with a focus on age-associated diseases, e.g. Alzheimer´s disease, cancer and Covid-19, with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Research Council.
  • Peter Ottsjö is a journalist and author of the book “Forever Young – My and Humanity’s Dream of Immortality.” His message revolves around the potential for advancements in geroscience, artificial intelligence, and preventative and precision medicine to significantly extend human healthspan and lifespan. He discusses how these breakthroughs can transform society and emphasizes the importance of redefining aging as a disease. Drawing from his personal health perspective, he advocates for a proactive and informed approach to personal well-being.


The session focuses on the development of therapeutics in the coming years. What new types of therapeutics are expected to reach the market? What benefits will they provide and what challenges need to be solved? How can advanced therapeutics be made accessible at reasonable costs? 

  • Karina Thorn is currently the CVP and head of the newly established ‘RNA and Gene Therapies’ area at Novo Nordisk. She has a PhD in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. After working several years in Boston, US, Karina joined Novo Nordisk in 2014 as a Principal Scientist. At Novo Nordisk, she has been driving research projects both as a project leader and as innovation focus group chair within rare disease research. Furthermore, Karina has served as department manager and been instrumental in establishing a broad palette of external Novo Nordisk partnerships, as a result of her passion for unlocking therapeutic innovation via emerging technologies. Karina has committed her career to improving the lives of people worldwide living with serious chronic conditions. 
  • Anna Falk has over 25 years’ experience in stem cell research. After a PhD at Karolinska Institutet, postdoc at Cambridge University and leading her own research group for eleven years, she is now as Professor at Lund University. Her current research focuses on: 1) the use of stem cells to create cellular models of the human brain for investigating mechanisms causing neuropsychiatric disorders; 2) the development of novel cell therapies for brain and spinal cord, capitalising on the feature of stem cells as an unlimited starting material for any cell therapy product. 
  • Johan Rockberg is Professor in Directed Evolution and Antibody Technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden. Director of GeneNova, an innovation milieu in precision health aimed at developing platforms for increased efficacy, safety and availability of Gene Therapies. Current research focus is on engineering of proteins, cells and viruses for increased productivity and precision in targeting using combinatorial methods, OMICS and synthetic biology. Johan is a cofounder of Strike Pharma AB developing scalable cancer vaccines and Abclon South Korea developing novel CAR-T cell-therapies. 
  • Maria Rankka is a health tech entrepreneur and angel investor. She is a co-founder of diagnostics start-up ABC Labs, and executive chairman of the stem cell production company Cellcolabs. In addition, she serves at both for-profit and nonprofit board of directors. Maria was the Chief Executive Officer of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) between 2010–2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Uppsala University. In 2013, she completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 


The session focuses on the research and development that enables tailoring disease prevention and treatment based on differences in people's individual factors such as genes, environment, and lifestyle. How will the interplay between basic research, computational analysis, and the development of diagnostics result in new treatments? What is the status of the implementation of precision medicine and precision health? How will the roles of pharmaceutical companies change in the new and evolving healthcare landscape?  

  • Claudia Langenberg is Director of the Precision Healthcare University Research Institute at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and Professor of Computational Medicine at the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité, Germany. A Public Health Physician by training, her research is focused on the genetic basis of metabolic control, and her team studies its effects on health through integration of molecular with clinical data in large-scale patient and population- based studies.
  • Adil Mardinoglu is professor and an expert in the fields of Systems Medicine, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. He works as a group leader at Science for Life Laboratory (Scilifelab), KTH - Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He is also Professor of Systems Biology in the Center for Host-Microbiome Interactions, King’s College London, UK. Adil is leading a team of 30 researchers working in the area of computational biology, experimental biology and drug discovery to develop treatment strategies for Metabolic diseases, Neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancers.
  • Samuel Philip Nobs is Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Systems Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel. He graduated with a degree in Biomedical Science at Victoria University of Wellington and the Australia National University, followed by postgraduate studies in Immunology and Microbiology at ETH Zurich. He completed his PhD in Immunology at ETH Zurich and in 2017 joined the Host-microbiome interactions group of Eran Elinav as an SNSF and EMBO fellow.
  • Jakob Tellgren is Vice President and Head of MSD operations in the Nordic and Baltic region since July 1st, 2019.  Between 2016 and 2019 Mr. Tellgren served as a Global Brand Leader based at Merck & Co., Inc. headquarters, known as Merck in USA and Canada, and MSD in the rest of the world. Prior to this he was the Managing Director of MSD in Sweden and has also been based in Germany and Switzerland. Mr. Tellgren holds a BSc in business administration and economics from Uppsala University complimented with further studies at Harvard Business School, Stockholm School of Economics, the National Defense College and SNS. Mr. Tellgren serves on the board of directors of LIF – Swedish Trade Association for Research Based Pharmaceutical Industry, and Research!Sweden Agenda for Health and Prosperity. He is also the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Sweden.


The session focuses on how the emergence of novel advanced therapeutics, precision medicine, and new insights into prevention will affect our lives today and tomorrow. Implications on a global scale and for the individual will be discussed. To enable healthy longevity, what is needed from research, healthcare systems, and society? How can the hurdles for preventive care be addressed? Can we anticipate the emerging challenges connected to longer lifespans? 

  • Sarah Neville is the Global Health Editor for the Financial Times. She has been with the paper for more than 20 years, working in senior positions including public policy editor, analysis editor and UK news editor. Previously she worked for regional newspapers and a specialist medical magazine. In 1995 she spent several months on the Washington Post after winning the Laurence Stern Fellowship. Sarah has been shortlisted for a number of other awards in recent years, including the Orwell Prize and Health Journalist of the Year. 
  • Lars Sandman is Professor of Healthcare Ethics and Director of the National Centre for Priorities in Health at Linköping University. He is ethics advisor to the National Board of Health and Welfare, part of priorities councils at national and regional level, and chair of the Sahlgrenska university hospital ethics council. His research focuses on normative analyses of challenges related to priority setting in healthcare. He is frequently commissioned by the healthcare system to make ethical analyses of challenging issues, e.g. genital surgery for gender dysphoria or uterus transplantation. 
  • Eskil Degsell is vice chairman of Swedish Brain Tumor Association, and patient- and next of kin representative at malignant brain tumor pathway at Karolinska University Hospital. He currently leads a project aiming to improve the cancer care by mapping and strengthening all roles (CareMaps) and relationships (CareMapping) from diagnose to death. The project is funded and supported by several patient and next of kin organizations, Regional Cancer Center Stockholm-Gotland, Forte and The Swedish Cancer Society. Eskil is associated to research at Karolinska Institutet (the PCM program) and Gothenburg University (GPCC). He is also affiliated to Biobank Sweden.