Ole Petter Ottersen

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Ole Petter Ottersen
Rector of the University of Oslo
In office
Preceded byGeir Ellingsrud
Succeeded bySvein Stølen
Rector of the Karolinska Institute
Assumed office
Preceded byKarin Dahlman-Wright (acting)
Personal details
Born17 March 1955

Ole Petter Ottersen (born 17 March 1955) is a Norwegian physician and neuroscientist. He serves as the Rector of Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and took office in August 2017. Ottersen has been professor of medicine at the University of Oslo since 1992 and served as the university's directly elected Rector from 2009 to 2017.


Ottersen graduated with the cand.med. degree at the University of Oslo in 1980 and with the dr.med. degree (Med.Sc.D.; a higher doctorate in medicine) at the same university in 1982. He was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Oslo from 1978 to 1983 and a prosector (which in Norway is an academic rank in anatomy equal to reader) at the same institute from 1983 to 1992. He was promoted to Professor in 1992.

He has been head of department of the Institute of Anatomy (1997–1999), Pro-Dean for Research of the Faculty of Medicine (2000–2002) and director of the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Oslo (2002–2009), a centre of excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway.[1] He was editor-in-chief of the journal Neuroscience 2006–2009.

Rector of the University of Oslo[edit]

In 2009, he was elected as the rector of the University of Oslo, while Inga Bostad was elected as the pro-rector.[2][3] At the University of Oslo the rector is directly elected to a four-year term by all employees and students, and may serve a maximum of two terms; the rector is the university's ceremonial head, chief executive officer and chairman of the board and thus corresponds to both the chancellor and the vice chancellor at a British university. By convention and formerly also by law, the rector is elected among the professors at the university. The rector's deputy and the university's second highest official, the pro-rector, is also directly elected alongside the rector.

In 2013, he was reelected for a second term, while Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld was elected as the new Pro-Rector; she resigned the following year and was succeeded by Ragnhild Hennum.[4]

Ottersen became a board member of Oslo University Hospital in 2011 and became chairman of the board of the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions in 2013. He attended the Bilderberg Group meeting in 2011.[5]

Rector of Karolinska Institute[edit]

On 20 February, 2017 the board of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden nominated Ottersen to become rector of Karolinska Institute.[6][7] He was formally appointed as rector by the Government of Sweden on 27 April 2017 and assumed the position on 1 August, 2017.[8]

Since 2019, Ottersen has been a member of the Lancet–SIGHT Commission on Peaceful Societies Through Health and Gender Equality, chaired by Tarja Halonen.[9]


Ottersen's research field is neuroscience. He is particularly noted for his research on molecular mechanisms involved in the development of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disease, with a special emphasis on the role of cellular water balance and glutamate excitotoxicity.

In 2001, he, together with Jon Storm-Mathisen and Per Brandtzæg, was found to be the most cited Norwegian scholar in international academic journals.[10] According to Google Scholar, he has been cited over 38,000 times in scientific literature and has an h-index of 104.[11] From 2002, he was included in the Institute of Scientific Information list of "Highly Cited Researchers."



  1. ^ a b "1,5 millioner til hjerneforskere ved UiO" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 25 February 2005.
  2. ^ Topdahl, Rolv Christian (16 February 2009). "Liten rift om rektorjobb". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  3. ^ Eik, Espen A. (3 April 2009). "Ottersen ny rektor". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  4. ^ «Trekker seg etter langvarig mangel på arbeidsoppgaver» i Uniforum 6. mai 2014
  5. ^ Letter på Bilderberg-sløret, Verdens Gang, 12 June 2011
  6. ^ Norsk rektor väntar KI, Dagens Medicin
  7. ^ http://ki.se/nyheter/ole-petter-ottersen-foreslas-bli-ny-rektor-for-karolinska-institutet, Karolinska Institute
  8. ^ "Ole Petter Ottersen blir ny rektor vid Karolinska Institutet". ki.se.
  9. ^ Commissioners Lancet–SIGHT Commission on Peaceful Societies Through Health and Gender Equality.
  10. ^ "Oslo-forskere topper internasjonal sitatliste" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 16 January 2001.
  11. ^ "Ole Petter Ottersen," Google Scholar
  12. ^ "Mitgliederverzeichnis". www.leopoldina.org.
  13. ^ "Jahre-pris til Ole Petter Ottersen" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 12 August 2008.
  14. ^ "Jahrepris til professor Terje Lømo" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 10 October 2003.
  15. ^ "Promootio - UEF". www2.uef.fi.
  16. ^ "Academy of Europe: Ottersen Ole Petter".
Academic offices
Preceded by Rector of the University of Oslo
Succeeded by
Preceded by Rector of the Karolinska Institute
August 2017–