Policy & Global Development

Nobel Laureate in Medicine William Kaelin Makes Virtual Visit to ISGlobal

Online event organised within the framework of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative—a programme designed to help Nobel laureates share their inspiring stories and insights

William Kaelin at the Nobel Prize Inspiration event

William Kaelin Jr., Nobel Laureate in Medicine, made a virtual visit to ISGlobal today. In a live online session, the scientist interacted with dozens of students and young researchers to share his personal and professional experience. The digital event was part of the third edition of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative, a global educational programme organised in Spain by Nobel Media in collaboration with the Fundación AstraZeneca to promote scientific talent in our country.

 Looking back on his career in a talk entitled ‘Reflections on life in science’, Kaelin shared the story of his personal journey, describing the obstacles and challenges he faced before his work was finally recognised in 2019, the year he, together with his colleagues Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza, was awarded the world’s most prestigious prize in science for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. He also talked about the advance this research represented and how the knowledge has been used in concrete applications that affect in the daily lives of patients.

“We are very proud to be part of this initiative designed to bring the knowledge and experience of such an outstanding scientist and physician as Professor Kaelin to the next generation of scientists, who are eager to contribute to a better world with their research,” explained Antoni Plasència, Director of ISGlobal, an institute supported by the ”la Caixa” Foundation. “This exciting event is another step in our commitment to attract and promote young research talent. At the same time it strengthens our mission to improve global health and promote health equity through excellence in research and the translation and application of knowledge.” 

In his comments, Carlos Parry, director of the Fundación AstraZeneca, said “science is a key pillar for us, which is why we offer opportunities such as this initiative to motivate and inspire young people in their personal trajectories and their professional careers”.

After the conference, which was a public event open to all, William Kaelin had a virtual meeting with a small group of 14 ISGlobal doctoral and master’s students to give them advice on how they could build a scientific career that would have real-world impact and to talk about other topics of interest to the students, such as how much work they have to do and how they should go about choosing a research topic.