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Congratulations on your promotion - how does it feel?
I feel proud of the journey that took me here and humbleness to the missions and challenges that will come in the future. My promotion gives me greater opportunity to influence my field of science and, of course, is also a great validation of my efforts.

Tell me about your research!
My research is in the field of psychiatry with three distinct branches. The first focuses on culture-specific risk- and protection factors of substance abuse and aggressive antisocial behavior in adolescents. It is a rather large international project that today includes cooperation between Sweden, Morocco, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, France, Namibia and Egypt.

The second branch is a so-called "translational psychiatric” project. Within this project we cooperate with laboratories in France and Spain where pain and neuroinflammation are studied in animal models of psychiatric diseases. Here in Sweden we conduct the clinical part of the project and asses data on pain perception and physiology in children and adolescents with psychiatric problems.

The third branch of my research focuses on integrated care and complementary medical treatment methods, such as yoga and acupuncture, of mental health.

What interests you with this particular field of research?
My motivation behind researching mental ill-health and pain was, and is, that I want to help in reducing people's suffering. I started collecting knowledge about the biological aspects of mental health/ill-health and I have studied, and taught for many years, neurobiology, genetics and biochemistry. Then I built on this knowledge when I began to study the impact of the environment (social, psychological and cultural factors) on our mental health. After over 25 years of learning and research, I realize, and teach my students, how important it is to have a holistic view when we speak about health.

Do you see any new area you want to research in the future?
Being able to conduct research about the connection between physical and mental health is quite new and exciting to me. I also hope that our pain projects in children and adolescents with psychiatric problems will be successful and that we will be able to present exciting new results and maybe new treatment methods over the next 10 years. Research on complementary medicine and integrated care is also included in my plan.

Contact: Nóra Kerekes