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Deliang Chen och Gunnar C Hansson
Photo: Johan Wingborg
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Deliang Chen and Gunnar C Hansson receive medal from H.R.H. The King

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Deliang Chen and Gunnar C Hansson receive H.R.H. The King’s Medal of the 8th size with the ribbon of the Order of the Seraphim for outstanding contributions to climate research and medical research, respectively.

Deliang Chen is a professor of physical meteorology at the University of Gothenburg and holds the prestigious August Röhs chair in physical geography.

"It is a great honour and I am delighted about receiving this medal. I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I am grateful for the support of the leaderships of Gothenburg University for my international commitment," says Deliang Chen, who receives the medal for outstanding achievements in Swedish and international climate research.  

Internationally known for his climate research

Deliang Chen is internationally known for his extensive climate research and for his commitment to bringing climate research to society. For example, he is the coordinating lead author of the forthcoming IPCC report. 

Deliang Chen's most important field of research is about the development of a new approach to describe atmospheric circulations. The research provides an improved understanding of climate change and its effect on air pollution, marine ecosystems, sea level and sea ice in and around Sweden. 

Deliang Chen is also a leading researcher for the international research programme for the so-called Third Pole Environment (TPE), with climate research focusing on the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. The high-quality research in Tibet has impacts and significance for a large area and has also led to close international cooperation with other researchers.  The research has had long-term effects on sustainable development in the Third Pole region and beyond.

"Climate change is one of humanity's greatest challenges and climate research is essential for our society to understand, adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. I am lucky to be able to make my contributions to this work, which has such a great global importance," says Deliang Chen.

World leader in research into mucin and mucus biology

Gunnar C Hansson is professor of medical biochemistry and cell biology at the University of Gothenburg, and a world leader in research into mucin and mucus biology.

"Not many medical researchers receive this medal, and of course I’m both thrilled and greatly honoured to receive it," says Gunnar C Hansson, who was surprised when the announcement came in the post some time ago.

Gunnar C Hansson receives the medal for the important contributions he has made in research into the rare disease cystic fibrosis. The disease means that the mucus present on the body's mucous surfaces is thicker and more attached than normal, which affects the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Cystic fibrosis is caused by changes in the gene that encodes for the large protein CFTR, which is responsible for the transport of salts across the cell membrane. In cystic fibrosis, this CFTR channel does not work.

"Our most important finding in cystic fibrosis is the underlying molecular cause of the thick and attached mucus in this disease. Bicarbonate transported by CFTR is necessary for normal mucus formation and in the case of a non-functioning ion transporter, the mucus does not develop normally and remains attached. CFTR turns out to control mucus properties in the airways and the gastrointestinal tract”, says Gunnar C Hansson. 

The protective surface barrier that prevents bacteria from coming into direct contact with the mucosa along the airways and gastrointestinal tract of the body is called mucus. For over thirty years Gunnar C Hansson has studied the biological mechanisms that create and maintain a healthy mucus barrier, and what it is that makes the barrier sometimes not work properly. Today, the research area at the Sahlgrenska Academy, which is a world leader in the field, flourishes. A total of six research leaders now have their own independent research groups, which collaborate with each other in new premises with common equipment.

"We have exciting and promising observations in our airways, why mucus sticks, and how it is stuck. We believe that the structural information about what these molecules look like may be relevant for both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD”, says Gunnar C Hansson.

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 The picture shows H.M. The king's medal in the 8th size in high blue ribbon. The band that Gunnar C Hansson and Deliang Chen ar
The picture shows H.M. The King's medal in the 8th size in high blue ribbon. The band that Gunnar C Hansson and Deliang Chen are awarded is more sky blue in color, and is graded slightly higher.

A select group

In total, H.R.H The King has recently rewarded 63 medals of various kinds. Deliang Chen and Gunnar C Hansson have been awarded H.R.H. The King’s Medal of the 8th size with the ribbon of the Order of the Seraphim. The ceremony was actually scheduled to be held in February, but has been postponed due to the pandemic.

Here you can read the list of all recipients of this year's Royal Medals (in Swedish)

BY: Carina Eliasson och Elin Lindström