Meet the Guest Professor Jan Lexell

Published: 5 February 2016

On the 1 January 2016, Jan Lexell begin his employment as a Guest Professor on the Department of Health Sciences. He has roots both in the Luleå and the university, and now he does come back on 20 percent to work with the department's ongoing research.

Hello Jan, who are you?

– I live in Hoor, Skåne, which is 40 kilometers north of Lund, and work at Lund University as a professor of rehabilitation medicine and as a physician at Skåne University Hospital. I am married to Eva, who is a lecturer in occupational therapy at the University of Lund, and we have twins (girl and boy) who are 12 years. I grew up in Luleå and has over the years kept many contacts. I have worked part time at Sunderby Hospital, Luleå University of Technology and as a sports editor at NorrbottensKuriren. Since last year, I also have an apartment in the center of the city. There are my family and I staying both at summer and winter time, and can thus maintain a close contact with Luleå.

You have a solid track record. Name three assignments that you are particularly proud of and why?

– One I'm particularly proud of is when I from year 2000 was involved in building up the Department of Health Sciences, first in Boden and then in Luleå, and the research that 15 years later has led to nearly 50 doctoral theses. It was very inspiring, so it is especially exciting to get back to Luleå University of Technology and take part in the department's successful work again.
Of course I'm very proud of all the students I have been tutoring in their thesis work towards successful careers in academia.
In 2008 I started a mission am particularly proud of, that is my work as a physician and researcher specializing in para sport in Sweden and internationally. To be involved and support our elite athletes with disabilities in their efforts towards the Paralympics, and also conduct research in the area, is both exciting and challenging. It is particularly gratifying because I can combine my years of sports medicine engagement with my clinical work that rehabilitation physicians.

Tell us briefly about your research.

– My research at Lund University is based on our clinical practice and include persons with stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, post polio, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and neuromuscular disease. The research involves mapping the consequences of an injury or disease in a life perspective and develop rehabilitation medical interventions so that these people can achieve and maintain the best possible functional ability. One of our new research is about paralympisk sport and the incidence of injuries and diseases, and the importance of physical activity and organized sports for people with neurological disabilities. I have been the main supervisor of seven PhD students and today I am the main supervisor of four, two who will argus their thesis in the next two years.

You start as a Guest Professor on the 1 January 2016. Can you tell us what you will do and can contribute, based on your experience and skills, ?

– I am supposed to be involved in the department's ongoing research and contribute with my clinical and scientific experience in neurological rehabilitation and Paralympic sports. I hope to come up with suggestions and ideas for new research, participate and apply for research funds and also supervise PhD students. Over 10 years I have been working closely with the Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Medicine at Sunderby hospital and I also want to contribute to strengthening the ties between universities and medical care in Norrbotten.

What is your earlier experience with Luleå University of Technology?

– Between 2000 and 2010 I was employed at the Department of Health Sciences at Luleå University of Technology, first as an adjunct professor of clinical neuroscience and later as a visiting professor. One of my assignments was to be responsible for the doctoral program. During the ten years at the department I was supervising six PhD students until their licentiate and doctoral degrees, and three of these were occupational therapists. Together with Gunilla Isaksson and Maria Larsson Lund, both occupational therapists and assisting professors of the Department, I have published dozens of scientific papers between 2003 and 2015.

What do you do when you're not working?

– I like to do sports like cycling, running, tennis and gym training. As soon as I get the opportunity I go  skiing, both cross country and downhill, and most preferably in Norrbotten. I also spend lots of time in the kitchen cooking, who is one of my major interests. And I like to go to concerts, theater and exhibitions together with the rest of the family.

Describe yourself with three words?

- Committed, goal-oriented and visionary.

Welcome to us at the Department of Health !!