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Eva Åhrén, Hagströmer Lirary

Eva Åhrén

Operations director

Department and organisational affiliation:

About me

Since October 2013 I am the Director of the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library and the new Unit for Medical History and Heritage at Karolinska Institutet.  Previously, I have been Research Fellow at the History Office of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and at Uppsala University. From 2003 to 2007 I was Head of Research at the Nobel Museum, after receiving a PhD at the program of Health and Society at Linköping University in 2002.


Images, books, periodicals, and objects constitute rich source material, which can give us clues to how people in the past perceived their bodies, the illusive state of health, diseases and their cures, and the world around them. It is an honor, therefore, to be a steward of the cultural heritage of Karolinska Institutet. And I believe understanding this heritage is necessary for us to make sense of where we come from, as well as where we’re heading.

Research description

The history of medicine and science is endlessly fascinating to me.  My own research deals mainly with visual communication in nineteenth-century anatomy and pathology, particularly at Karolinska Institutet. I study how anatomists like Anders and Gustaf Retzius collected, prepared and used human and animal specimens in their research. The images they produced are often very beautiful, and it is fascinating how much they could observe and visualize using instruments that appear very basic compared to the digital imaging technologies of our day and age.


MA, History of Science and Ideas, Stockholm University, 1994

PhD, Program in Heatlh and Society, Linköping University, 2002

Postdoc, History of Medicine, Yale University, 2005-2006

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