Mikael Dolsten, head of research at Pfizer, who led the development of Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, will take up the appointment of visiting professor of Pharmacology at Lund University in Sweden on 1 January 2021.
“During my years as a student and researcher in Lund I had many mentors who inspired me. I want to give something back and share my experience of what drives good innovation”, says Mikael Dolsten.
Mikael Dolsten has been an advisor to the Obama administration, worked with the then vice-president and the USA’s next president Joe Biden on the Cancer Moonshot initiative, was involved in R&D for some 30 drugs – and now leads the development of Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine as head of research at Pfizer.
His successful career began at Lund University, where he trained as a physician and later earned a PhD in tumour immunology. He spent 20 years in Lund and worked in the pharmaceutical industry at the Lund-based company Pharmacia and thereafter Astra Draco. Now, with his visiting professorship at Lund University, he has come full circle.
“It was Erik Renström, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who inspired me to return to Lund. I already have quite a heavy working week, but during my 20 years in Lund I had many mentors and leaders who inspired me and gave me a springboard into the world”, says Mikael Dolsten.
Erik Renström is pleased with his decision.
“The news that Mikael Dolsten has chosen to reconnect with Lund University has been met with great delight at the Faculty of Medicine and within the University as a whole. Mikael is an absolutely exceptional person and a very prominent Swede in the world. His involvement will inspire us on many levels and help us evolve in the best way”, says Erik Renström.
Mikael Dolsten wants to contribute, not only within research itself, but also share his experience of what drives good innovation, how basic knowledge can affect people’s lives and how to create entrepreneurial structures that can be significant for millions of people.
“I have seen how it is possible to on a large scale create what I learned on a small scale in Lund. Every alumnus who has had an opportunity to pursue an international career and who returns to the University, even in a limited capacity, can help people learn about new approaches”, he says.
Mikael Dolsten has led several major collaborations between academia and industry with the US research funding body NIH in areas such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, immunology and diabetes.
“How do you get organised and what are the necessary ingredients, what strategies and prioritisations are needed? One way of thinking is that, like a magnifying glass, you can magnify what you do so that it has an even greater effect”, he concludes.