Chris D Anderson

Chris D Anderson appointed honorary doctor

The Faculty for Health and Society has appointed Chris D Anderson as honorary doctor. In connection with the Annual Academic Celebration he will give an open lecture entitled Our skin’s reactivity – it’s innate.

The lecture will be presented by Johan Engblom, head of the Department of Biomedical Science. Moderator is dean Anders Kottorp.


The skin is commonly referred to as the body’s largest organ. Whether or not this is strictly true, it is certainly one of our most complex organs. It can also be described in terms of its function as a barrier and importantly it is a sensory interface to our environment and our fellow man. My ambition in this lecture is to attempt to transfer to you as an audience some of my personal fascination with this organ of my clinical and research preference.

Since this beautiful organ demonstrates its complexity best when it is in action, I will attempt to take my pedagogic cues from the everyday provocations which our species has been subjected to over the millennia during which we developed – “as we ran across the savannah in search of food”. In this regard our reactivity to “threats” like sunlight, vegetation, envenomation, microtrauma and microbes are trained responses learnt by our skin over countless generations.

My central tennet is that the reactivity we have developed has had, at some time point, survival value, even if we can no longer discern it clearly. The reactivity patterns, preserved in both evolutionary and phylogenetic terms and with us “innately” as individuals at birth, illustrate for us normal tissue function but also, through variability or dysfunction can reflect what we experience as disease. Study of this reactivity and individual variability in response, using provocation models, teaches us about the structure and function of our skin in health and disease.

In a professional lifetime studying skin reactivity and ways in which it can be quantitated, I have a basic expectation that even normal skin can, in many situations, be a study platform of relevance for research into this fascinating organ and also, by extension, have relevance for other organs, as an often more accessible surrogate organ for disease mechanisms.   


All are welcome to listen at the Assembly hall in the Health and Society main building. The lecture will also be livestreamed here. No registration is required.