Acclaimed scientist Professor Ole Petter Ottersen appointed Vice President of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health



© Martin Stenmark

Former President of the Karolinska Institutet and global health advocate will elevate his engagement to steer the Foundation’s mission internationally

Berlin, February 20, 2024The Virchow Foundation for Global Health is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Professor Ole Petter Ottersen as its Vice President. Ottersen, a distinguished figure in the field of medicine and academia, brings a wealth of expertise and leadership to the foundation.

A trained neuroscientist whose research focuses on signal molecules and synaptic transmissions in the brain, he clarified the function of membrane molecules, an accomplishment that could serve as a starting point for the development of new, innovative medicines. For over a decade, Professor Ottersen’s active engagement and commitment in global health and his multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral approach to health makes him a vital addition to the Virchow Foundation and its long-term positioning in the international landscape.

In his capacity as Vice President and member of the Board of Trustees, Ole Petter Ottersen will continue to closely cooperate with global experts and colleagues to jointly promote the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 3 “Good health and well-being” and other health-related goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Professor Ottersen’s appointment reflects the Virchow Foundation’s ongoing dedication to engage leaders who drive positive change in the field of global health and health innovations. With his immense influence, he will play a pivotal role in shaping the organisation’s strategic direction and contribute significantly to the foundation’s mission of tackling global issues in the legacy of namesake Rudolf Virchow.

“I am honoured to have been appointed Vice President of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health,” said Professor Ole Petter Ottersen. “Having a global perspective, especially in science, is hugely essential. Health inequities persist and even expand, as we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but everybody regardless of geography or socioeconomic status should benefit from the great advances that have been made in recent history. An interdisciplinary approach is needed to abate health inequities and the Virchow Foundation, with its Virchow Prize for Global Health, is uniquely important for global health inspiring sustainable change.”

About the Virchow Foundation and the Virchow Prize for Global Health

The Virchow Foundation for Global Health was established in 2021 with the support of the Presidents of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities as well as Members of the German Parliament to contribute to the improvement of health worldwide. This purpose is achieved through the joint commitment of highly respected individuals, currently 45 international experts who serve in the Foundation’s committees on an honorary basis. Closely aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the Virchow Foundation for Global Health raises awareness of global health issues among the public. In this context the Virchow Prize for Global Health, annually awarded on the eve of the beginning of the World Health Summit (WHS), recognises outstanding lifetime achievements or innovations that have significantly contributed to improving global health and achieving ‘Health for All’. Nomination phase for the 2024 Virchow Prize for Global Health is still open through Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 24:00 CET (Berlin time). Further information on foundation and the prize:

Download the press release here

Media contacts

Steffi Gasteiger (she/her), Communication & Partnerships Manager, Virchow Foundation for Global Health,