I am a professor of epizootiology, a discipline on the prevention, control and eradication of infectious animal diseases whose implementation is a prerequisite for sustainable livestock production. My perspective includes their significance for human and public health, for me the most important veterinary workspace - Veterinary Public Health.
The focus of my research and interest is given to the control of Salmonella in the animal production including the animal feed and to antibiotic resistance with emphasis on preventive methods to reduce the need for antibiotics. One ambition has been to document and strengthen the successful Swedish efforts in those areas which globally also are two of the most important challenges in the veterinary public health.
I have gained insight and professional experience from senior positions in academia, civil service, private industry and on giving scientific advice. Being a devoted and engaged person, my expertise has brought me to various international engagements (WHO, FAO, OIE, EFSA, World Bank and EU). In particular I have during 18 years served as scientific expert in the risk assessment of issues of animal health, animal welfare and food safety in the EU.
Figure illustrating the global importance of different types of animal infectious diseases (Wierup and Ebi; IAASTD/World Bank Report)
In 2016 I was privileged to have my achievements acknowledged by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) by its Meritorious Award “as a way to recognize, internationally, outstanding, technical, scientific and administrative contribution to the field of veterinary science and or animal disease control”.
Current position at SLU
In 2003 the circle of my career sealed when I returned to the academia with the mission to establish a new department (Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health) from previously eight independent ones. I headed the department until 2008 and until my retirement (2010). I now continue my activities as emeritus professor.
Following my veterinary degree (1969) and the pass of most exams for a medical degree, I was researcher and teacher at the Royal Veterinary College (Stockholm), later merged into SLU (Uppsala). To maintain the valuable contact with the veterinary field work I during some ten years after my graduation when possible, worked in clinical field practice and as veterinary meat inspection. In the PhD dissertation (1977), I described a new disease in horses, now recognized as a specific equine disease syndrome (Intestinal Clostridiosis). Following the scientific acknowledgement of docent of bacteriology (1977) and a post doc year in the US (1978), I moved to the Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA) as a professor and "statepizootologist" with the primary task to be senior scientific advisor to the Swedish Board of Agriculture on the control and eradication of the most serious infectious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, swine fever, avian influenza, rabies and salmonella. Following 10 years at SVA I moved to the National Food Administration (1990-92) in a post corresponding to the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of the veterinary food sector, responsible for the safety of animal derived food, the national abattoirs and export and import of food.
In front of the EU accession of Sweden, I moved to the private sector as CEO of Swedish Animal Health Service (1993-2002), responsible for the health services for 90% the country's red meat producers and health controls for specific infectious diseases. I initiated and established Swedish Farmers Infectious Disease Control which has played a crucial role in maintaining the Swedish animal health status after the EU accession. Following a year as visiting professor of veterinary microbiology and disease control in Ireland I 2003 returned to SLU (see above). In 2005 I was acknowledged as EU specialist in Veterinary Public Health (Dipl. ECVPH) and 2007 in swine health (Porcine Health Management, Dipl. ECPHM).
My ambition has been to maintain my interest in research and development also when in executive management positions. In total I've published about 50 peer-reviewed articles (PubMed) and 160 other scientific articles. Also, I am co-author of about 190 published risk assessments as an expert in the scientific panels of the European Commission and EFSA. When found important I have frequently participated in the public debate, e.g. with five articles published in the major newspaper in Sweden, DN debatt, on important issues of the veterinary public health sector including animal welfare. All the articles are basically aimed to describe the basic facts in support of an evidence based management.