Ola Didrik Saugstad
I am Professor in Pediatrics and Director of the Department of Pediatric Research at Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo. I am also Consultant in new-born medicine at Rikshospitalet. I reside in Oslo, the capital of Norway.
I was born in Norway, March 5th 1947. In 1973 I finished Medical School from University of Oslo and started as Research Fellow at the Perinatal Research Unit at the University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden. My supervisor was Gösta Rooth, Professor of Perinatal Medicine and a world leading expert on acid-base balance. He raised my interests in perinatal medicine in general and especially intrauterine asphyxia. I was given the task to develop a "biochemical" Apgar score. We developed a new and simple method to measure the purine metabolite hypoxanthine and for the first time I was able to show that this breakdown product from ATP is augmented in intrauterine hypoxia.
These studies continued 1974-76 at the Institute for Surgical Research at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo, Norway with a Research Fellowship from the Norwegian Council for Research. Professor Egil Amundsen was a stimulating head of the institute and during this period we showed in a series of animal experiments that hypoxanthine is a reliable and sensitive hypoxia indicator. This ended up in my doctoral thesis: "Hypoxanthine as an indicator of hypoxia" which I defended in 1977.
In 1976-78 I did my compulsatory internship in order to receive my Norwegian MD license. I served one year at the small hospital in Askim 60 km south of Oslo, and 6 months in Salangen north of the Arctic circle. The stay there was memorable and my family developed numerous valuable friendships and impressions.
In 1978-79 I served as a prison doctor (Civil Service) and April 1979 I started my specialization in Pediatrics at the Oslo City Hospital ( Ullevål University Hospital ). In 1984 I was appointed as Pediatric Resident at Rikshospitalet University hospital and I finished my specialization in Pediatrics there a few months later. In 1985 was working one year as a fellow in newborn medicine at Rikshospitalet.
1980-81 I stayed one year as a Post Doc with a Fogarty International Fellowship from National Institutes of Health (USA) at Department of Neonatology, University of California San Diego in the unit of the legendary professor Louis Gluck. As head of his research laboratory served professor Mikko Hallman with whom I have developed a life long friendship and collaboration.
Spring 1986 I received a fellowship from the Norwegian Council of Research to stay at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at University of California San Francisco. Another legend in international perinatal medicine Professor Abraham Rudolph was my mentor during this period, and I developed a fascinating collaboration with Professor Ron Clyman.
In 1986 I was appointed Consultant in Newborn Medicine at the National Hospital in Oslo and in 1991 professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Department of Pediatric Research, University of Oslo, located at Rikshospitalet University Hospital.
Since boyhood I have had a great interest in exercise and sport, especially soccer. As a student I played a few matches in the Norwegian Premier league (Vaalerenga Football) and also in the quarter final in the Norwegian Football Championship. I am still exercising 3-5 times as week mainly jogging, cross country skiing, playing football, etc.
Since a student I have been interested in medical ethics especially the status of the fetus. I have the last 30 years taken part in public discussion on issues as abortion, and research-politics. I served as advisor in health political issues for the Norwegian Minister of Health 1997-2000 and 2001-2004. I am also active in a Lutheran congregation, Storsalen, and was chairman of the council 1995-1997.