Ulf Lindblom, an IASP Founder and Former President, Has Died

Apr 17, 2017

Ulf Lindblom, one of the founders of IASP and a former president, died on January 25, just a few days before his 90th birthday. Born in Sweden, Lindblom obtained his medical degree in 1952 and became doctor of medical sciences in 1959 and docent (similar to associate professor) in 1960 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. He completed his neurological training in Sweden and became a professor of neurology in Stockholm in 1975, a position he held until his retirement from the Karolinska Institutet in 1992.

Ulf was involved in research from the beginning of his professional career, following a longstanding Swedish research interest in the neurophysiology of the somatosensory nervous system. Some of his first studies dealt with the influence of the brainstem on spinal cord dorsum responses.

He had a rare talent for developing collaborations, which made him one of the most remarkable individuals in the pain research community. This is most clearly exemplified by his contributions to IASP and to the Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain, as well as by the founding of the European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) and the European Journal of Pain, of which he became the first editor-in-chief.

As one of the founders of IASP, Ulf became a member of its first Council in 1975. He remained on Council for almost 20 years and was president from 1990 to 1993. A striking impression received by the young people who joined IASP was the friendly atmosphere, the curiosity towards understanding pain, and the eagerness of the organization’s membership to disseminate the latest knowledge and accumulated information about pain. There is no doubt that Ulf was a key person in creating this spirit within IASP.

We have been fortunate to witness the ways Ulf managed to leave such a firm footprint on the history of pain with his quiet, charming, friendly way of interacting with others and in particular his welcoming of young scientists and clinicians into various groups and organizations.

And we have been fortunate to have had such a brilliant personality in the pain community. It has been a special privilege for us to have been friends with such a great man.

--Troels Staehelin Jensen, Harald Breivik, Fernando Cervero, Per Hansson. (Note: An extended tribute will appear in an upcoming edition of PAIN.)