Faculty of Medicine

Lund University


History of the Faculty

Lund University 1666

The city of Lund has been a centre of culture and higher education for almost a thousand years. The first institution of higher education in Scandinavia, a Franciscan monastery, was formed in the early fifteenth century and is considered to be the predecessor of Lund University. At that time the southern province of Skåne still belonged to Denmark, but it came under Swedish rule following a war with Denmark that ended with the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. Skåne's new masters worked hard to turn the reluctant population into Swedes and Lund University was found in 1666 to help to accomplish this goal. Originally four faculties were established: Law, Medicine, Theology and Philosophy.


The Beginning

The Faculty of Medicine appointed two professors, Erasmus Sack and Johan Jacob Döbelius. Döbelius was the driving force behind the first teaching clinic in Lund, which Eberhard, Professor of Practical Medicine, converted into the first university hospital in 1768. This hospital continued to evolve into today's modern Skåne University Hospital in Lund.

Female Students

Hedda Andersson, the first female medical student, enrolled at the Faculty in 1880. She was also the first female student at Lund University. It was tough for women at first – during the remainder of the 1880s only seven other women followed in her footsteps. Gertrud Gussander was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in medicine after presenting her thesis in surgery in 1912. In 1965 Dora Jacobson became the Faculty's first female professor. Dora Jacobson emigrated from Berlin when she was prohibited from working as a doctor in Germany because of the "Aryan clause". She worked at the Department of Physiology in Lund and made breakthrough discoveries in endocrinology.

The Faculty is Growing

In 1948 the Faculty of Medicine incorporated the hospital in Malmö, which has gradually grown and evolved into today's fully equipped and internationally recognized teaching and research hospital. A Clinical Research Center (CRC) has been built on the hospital campus in Malmö. The Biomedical center (BMC), which lies adjacent to Skåne University Hospital in Lund, was inaugurated in 2001. Lund University is adjacent to Ideon, Lund's science park for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Together with science parks in Malmö and Copenhagen, Ideon forms the highly respected Medicon Valley.

Three Strong Research Fields

Over the years the Faculty has achieved international acclaim mainly within three fields of research. The first is neurobiology – the Faculty's flagship. Key breakthroughs in the early 1960s laid the foundation for research in the fields of neurochemistry, neurophysiology and neurohistochemistry. Each of these fields has its own prominent figure: Bengt Falck, David Ingvar and Bo Siesjö. Bengt Falck and Nils-Åke Hillarp developed a method to show the presence of important neurotransmitters in neurons. Their work was published in 1962 and became one of the most cited articles in medicine and the physical sciences. David Ingvar also made a breakthrough in neurobiology by linking brain function with blood flow measurements to different parts of the brain. Bo Siesjö was responsible for the third contribution, which made it possible to study more closely the brain's metabolism in various circumstances.

Ultrasound and epidemiology are other cutting edge fields. When cardiologist Inge Edler and physicist Hellmut Hertz took the first films of an ultrasound echo from the interior of the heart in 1952, they laid the foundation for a diagnostic technique that has long been in clinical use at hospitals all over the world. Neurosurgeon Lars Leksell and obstetrician Alf Sjövall quickly realised the potential of the ultrasound for their respective disciplines. Epidemiology became an area of strength in part because of the classic studies initiated in 1947 by psychiatrist Erik Essen-Möller and three colleagues, who tracked the incidence of different personality types and psychiatric diseases in the population in the rural community of Dalby, outside Lund.

Industrial Products 

The Faculty of Medicine's research has also resulted in several industrial products. The artificial kidney, discovered by Nils Alwall and developed by Gambro is one such product and radiologist Torsten Almén's development of the non-ionic contrast media and collaboration with the company Nycomed is another.

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