Awards and honorary memberships

The Scandinavian Physiological Society provides for several awards at our own meetings, but also supports plenaries or other special lectures at larger physiological conferences.

Chr. Bohr Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Chr. Bohr Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted in 2023 and is the most prestigious lecture offered by the Scandinavian Physiological Society. The award is rewarded to physicians who do remarkable research and pioneering within the various fields of physiology. The prize is named after the Danish physician and professor in physiology at the University of Copenhagen, Christian Bohr (1855-1911), father to Niels Bohr.

Christian Harald Lauritz Peter Emil Bohr (1855–1911) who had a keen interest in biological sciences as a child, started his medical studies at University of Copenhagen at the age of 17 and began physiological studies under the tutelage of P.L. Panum in 1878. His doctoral thesis from 1880 pertained to milk composition, but after a year-long research visit to Carl Ludwig’s laboratory in Leipzig (1880-1881), Bohr devoted most of his research to respiratory physiology with particular emphasis on blood gas transport and lung function in both health and disease. Initially, his studies focused on oxygen binding to haemoglobins, and he was bestowed the silver medal from the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences in 1885 for studies on deviations from Boyle–Mariotte’s law during dissolution of oxygen. He was also amongst the first to appreciate the sigmoidal shape of the blood oxygen equilibrium curve.

Bohr was hired as a lecturer of physiology in 1885 and he was promoted to full professor in 1890. At University of Copenhagen, Bohr introduced quantitative methods in respiratory physiology. He developed what is now known as the Bohr-integration to assess the pulmonary diffusing capacity where he also spear-headed the use of CO. He derived the equation to calculate pulmonary dead space from end-tidal and mixed expiratory gases and together with August Krogh and Kaj Hasselbalch, Bohr described the influence of CO2 and pH on blood oxygen affinity, i.e., the “Bohr effect”.  

In addition to his many scientific achievements, Bohr was a dedicated teacher and he mentored numerous students who went on to make significant contributions in various fields of physiology. These pupils include August Krogh and Kaj Hasselbalch. Bohr was an editorial board member of Acta Physiologica (when it was still called Archiv fur Scandinavische Physiologie), where he also published much of his research.

Recipients of the Chr. Bohr lecture in The Scandinavian Physiological Society:

2023 Tallinn – Jens Juul Holst (University of Copenhagen)

2024 Newcastle – Barbara Cannon (Stockholm University)

The Ulf von Euler Lecture – For Scientific Excellence 

Ulf Svante von Euler (1905-1983) received the Nobel prize in 1970 in recognition for his work on noradrenaline as a neurotransmitter, showing that noradrenaline is produced in nerve synaptic terminals and stored in intracellular vesicles. At the age of 26, he discovered substance P as a neurotransmitter in collaboration with John Henry Gaddum. von Euler also gave the coined the name prostaglandin to the substance he identified in seminal fluids that causes contraction of the uterus. Decades later, a Nobel prize was bestowed on von Eulers colleagues Sune K. Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson, as well as John Vane in 1982 for “The isolation, identification, and analysis of prostaglandins”. von Euler published extensively in Acta Physiologica, and he was Editor-in-Chief of Acta Physiologica for many years.

von Euler was born in Stockholm in a learned family and his father received the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1929. He commenced medical studies at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 1922 and was appointed as scientific assistant with Professor G. Liljestrand in the department of pharmacology in 1926. Later, in 1946, their collaboration resulted in the discovery of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, also endearingly known as the Euler-Liljestrand mechanism. von Euler completed his medical degree in 1930 and was immediately given a Rockefeller Fellowship to study with H. H. Dale in London, I. de Burgh Daly in Birmingham, C. Heymans in Ghent, and G. Embden in Frankfurt over the period of 1930-1931. von Euler was appointed full professor at the Karolinska Institute in 1939 and remained there until his retirement in 1971. He enjoyed traveling and promoted international collaboration and served as vice-president for IUPS from 1965-1971, and he was conferred memberships and doctorates from learned societies and universities all over the world.

Recipients of the Ulf von Euler lecture in The Scandinavian Physiological Society:

2024 Newcastle –  Kai Kaila (University of Helsinki)

August Krogh lecture at IUPS

August Krogh (1874–1949) was amongst the most influential physiologists in the first part of the 20th century. He can rightfully be credited for founding comparative physiology, epithelial transport and – in conjunction with Johannes Lindhard – exercise physiology as independent disciplines. With his unique ability to design and construct equipment, Krogh addressed novel questions in both human and animal physiology with unprecedented precision. He focused on a given physiological problem over a couple of years, delineated the focal mechanisms and solved the major problems, and would then move onto new academic ground. For each of his major research areas (respiratory gas exchange, capillary function, osmoregulation), he wrote comprehensive books or monographs that remain important resources for scholars today, and he even wrote physiology textbooks for the Danish high school. Krogh’s research appears to have been primarily curiosity-driven, but he did not hesitate to apply his insight to societal and clinical problems throughout his long academic career (Larsen et al., 2021).

To honour August Krogh’s legacy, the Scandinavian Physiological Society has supported a Krogh lecture at the International Congresses of Physiological Sciences (arranged by the International Union of Physiological Sciences, IUPS) since 1986. In 2022, the Krogh lecture was published as a review in Acta Physiologica, and we seek for this new tradition to continue.

The August Krogh lecturer is jointly selected by SPS and IUPS from the most distinguished physiologists working in the fields related to August Krogh’s research interests. The field related to Krogh’s research is proposed to be comparative physiology broadly defined. The SPS proposes one or more candidates to be considered by the International Scientific Program Committee (ISPC), appointed by IUPS for the upcoming Congress.

Previous Krogh lecturers at the International Congresses of Physiological Sciences:

1986 Vancouver – Kjell Johansen

1989 Helsinki – Else Kay Hoffmann

1993 Glasgow – Axel Michelsen

1997 St. Petersburg – No lecturer

2001 Christchurch – Bengt Saltin

2005 San Diego – Roy Edwin Weber

2009 Kyoto – Tobias Wang

2013 Birmingham – Patrik Rorsman

2017 Rio de Janeiro – Christian Aalkjær

2022 Beijing – Angela Fago

The early career Investigator Award – Carl Ludwig Award

Awarded annually by Acta Physiologica

Honorary members

Peter Bie – Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark