Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku Confers Five Honorary Doctors in Its Ceremonial Conferment in the Spring


The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku organises a ceremonial conferment of doctoral degrees on 25–27 May 2023. Five honorary doctors will be conferred in the ceremony. They will receive the title of honorary doctor for their scientific merits, collaboration with the Faculty, and their impact on society.

In addition to the graduated doctors, five honorary doctors will be conferred in the Ceremonial Conferment in May. Each of the Faculty’s four departments has selected their own honorary doctor and the Faculty additionally confers one joint honorary doctor. In addition to the honorary doctors, 144 graduated doctors and a dozen jubilee doctors will be conferred in the ceremony.

The doctors and honorary doctors will be conferred on Friday, 26 May at 12pm in the Conferment Ceremony – the main event of the Ceremonial Conferment of Doctoral Degrees organised at the Turku Concert Hall. The honorary doctors give open Studia Generalia lectures on 25 May.

The most visible part of the three-day Ceremonial Conferment is the Academic Procession that takes place after the Conferment Ceremony, and it includes the University’s Rector and Vice Rectors, professors, conferrers, honorary doctors, and doctors. The Procession starts at the Turku Concert Hall on Friday, 26 May at approximately 3pm and continues down the Aninkaistenkatu street to the Cathedral. 

“The Faculty of Medicine is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and the Ceremonial Conferment is part of the anniversary programme. It is a remarkable academic tradition and it lends a particular flare to our anniversary year. In the Ceremonial Conferment, we celebrate science and researchers,” says Dean Pekka Hänninen of the Faculty of Medicine.

Honorary Doctors in Medicine Promote Vaccine Awareness and Seek Solutions to Type 1 Diabetes and Regulation of Puberty

The joint honorary doctor of the entire Faculty is Chief Physician Hanna Nohynek from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare as a recognition of her significant societal impact. Dr Nohynek has a distinguished career in vaccine research and her achievements have increased national vaccine awareness. She provides understandable and research-based information about vaccines to the Finnish society striving to answer people’s questions. 

Dr Nohynek has been an expert member in several national and international expert panels on vaccines and immunisation. She was recently selected as the chair of WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization. In addition, Dr Nohynek has extensive experience in working with vaccinations in the developing countries. 

Professor Emeritus Mikael Knip of the University of Helsinki is conferred as the honorary doctor in medicine for his merits in the research of type 1 diabetes. Professor Knip has conducted unique work in understanding the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and discovering preventive measures. As a result of the national and international projects led by Professor Knip, specific mechanisms that contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes have been discovered, such as the infant’s diet, enterovirus infections, and development of gut microbiota. 

Knip is one of the most long-standing, active and productive partners of the Faculty of Medicine.  He is a group leader and member of the steering committee of the world-famous DIPP follow-up study. He is also a group leader at Turku Bioscience Centre and is actively involved in collaborative projects.

Professor Manuel Tena-Sempere from the University of Córdoba is conferred as the honorary doctor in medicine for his merits in studying the regulation of the onset of puberty. Professor Tena-Sempere has conducted pioneering work in researching puberty and the mechanisms of procreation. In addition, he has discovered new connections between puberty and procreation and the systems that regulate weight and metabolism.

Professor Tena-Sempere has been a long-term research partner of the University’s Institute of Biomedicine. He was a post-doc researcher at the University of Turku and later on established his own research group as a FiDiPro professor of the Academy of Finland. He continues to supervise doctoral dissertations at the Faculty.

Top Nordic Expert in Periodontology Conferred as Honorary Doctor in Dentistry

Professor Emeritus Björn Klinge from the Karolinska Institutet and Malmö University is conferred as the honorary doctor in dentistry for his achievements and contribution to periodontology both globally and especially in the Nordic countries. Professor Klinge is an expert on the structures that support teeth and dental implants and has published pioneering research results focused mostly on the connections between oral and systemic diseases. 

He has also been the driver of a significant improvement in the quality of the basic, postgraduate and continuing education in dentistry in the Nordic countries. Professor Klinge has worked in close collaboration with the Periodontology unit of the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Turku. 

Honorary Doctor in Health Science Supports the Application of Evidence-based Nursing

Professor Adelaida Zabalegui Yárnoz from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and the University of Barcelona is conferred as the honorary doctor in health science for her significant impact on the integration of nursing research and practice. Professor Zabalegui Yárnoz is one of the most influential leaders in nursing science in Europe and a highly-valued researcher and teacher. Her work in the application of evidence-based nursing has especially improved the health and well-being of people with dementia and their caregivers. 

The long-term collaboration between Professor Zabalegui Yárnoz and the researchers at the University’s Department of Nursing Science has been enabled by EU-funded projects. For the Master’s degree students in nursing science, Professor Zabalegui Yárnoz has offered opportunities for clinical practice at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, and has correspondingly sent her own staff members to study at the Department of Nursing Science in Turku.

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Turku celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2023. The Faculty was founded in 1943 to meet the needs of the wartime Finnish society. Since then, the Faculty has promoted health and well-being and been an active social contributor. The Faculty organises versatile anniversary programme throughout the year and warmly welcomes everyone to participate in the events.

Created 23.02.2023 | Updated 25.05.2023