Henrik puts Alertix’ research into a veterinary context
– We get so much from our animals. Quite simply, they make us better humans. Therefore, they deserve that we do all in our power to ease their complaints and make them feel well. This insight is my driving force as a veterinarian as well as a researcher.
Henrik Rönnberg is active at the University Animal Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, and an important member of the team of researchers behind Alertix.
He grew up surrounded by animals, and early decided to become a veterinarian.
– I have always considered it a very interesting profession. Not the least because I’m genuinely interested in animals. Animals contribute to increased quality of life. They communicate with us and I believe that the presence of animals brings a better atmosphere and more harmonious pace to an environment.
– He took his exam in 1994 and has since then been performing clinical work, above all with pets. At an early stage he became interested in oncology, and in 2002 he defended his thesis within this specialty. He has initiated a European group of veterinary oncology and he is one of the co-founders of the oncology group within ECVIM-CA (European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine). Through this specialist college he now tutors a three-year residency at the University Animal Hospital of SLU.
Even more urgent
Already in 1999 Henrik was contacted by Staffan Eriksson, who nowadays is Alertix’ Head of Research. Since then Henrik has participated in the research.
– I was very pleased to be asked. As a veterinarian, I consider it a task of great importance. Obviously, it’s quite urgent when it comes to human medicine, but somehow it feels even more important in a veterinary context. Our patients can’t speak for themselves. We can never ask a dog or a cat how it feels, or where it hurts. Therefore, the symptoms often get severe before they are discovered. By then it’s too late to take actions in most cases.
Henrik tells that it is quite a long scientific journey that has resulted in that the assay by now is ready to be used on a larger scale.
– Above all, it has been important to verify that our results hold in a long series of tests. We’ve been quite tough on the marker in order to assure that it doesn’t only react in cases when animals show symptoms, but also when animals have tumors but don’t, yet, display clear symptoms.
– All along the research project we’ve had a forward-looking process. We’ve also been contacted by several international groups of scientists, who have expressed wishes to collaborate. That feels like an acknowledgment.
Henrik’s role in the project is, primarily, to put the results into a veterinary context.
– The result of an analysis doesn’t say everything. The trick is to be able to combine it with the full picture of the patient in order to make a correct interpretation. This is an important part of the commercialization process.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
– With four children and two step children my family is my other interest. I like to join my children in their activities, whether it is horse riding, dancing or gymnastics. I appreciate to come home to my family, cook a nice meal, lower the pace and recharge my batteries.
– I guess I also have to admit that I have a weakness for heavy metal from the 1980’s. Once I played in a heavy metal band, but now, unfortunately, I haven’t got time.
Does that mean that you are a frequent visitor to Sweden Rock Festival? (the biggest heavy metal event in Sweden)
– Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chance to attend. The festival coincides with the examination period of the veterinary education, so I haven’t been able to get time off. But Sweden Rock is definitely on my bucket list.
Which band would you like to see there?
– Y & T would be a dream. And if I tell you that I’ve got three Iron Maiden posters in my office it might answer the question.