Dr. Ernberg is one of the foremost cancer researchers in the world, training at the Tumor Biology Department of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, under the mentorship of pioneering cancer biologist George Klein, M.D., Ph.D. (UNMC presented Dr. Klein and his wife, Eva Klein, M.D., Ph.D., another pioneer in cancer immunology, with honorary degrees in 1991 -- exactly 26 years ago today.)
Dr. Ernberg did post-doctoral studies with David Purtillo, M.D., who chaired the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology from 1981 until his death in 1992, and at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England. When Dr. Klein retired in 1993, Dr. Ernberg became chair of the newly established combined Microbiology and Tumor Biology Department at the Karolinska Institute.
His present laboratory (with 10 researchers) focuses on experimental systems and clinical collaborations to better understand the connection between viruses and cancer. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the most common virus infection in man, is the "model" that he has used to elucidate the complex sequence of events leading to tumor development, particularly related to Epstein-Barr virus tumor virology and latency in at risk patients.
He recently has proposed a theory of complex gene regulation networks leading to a new model of carcinogenesis. His cancer cell attractor theory may be generalized to all cancer cell populations, offering a previously unidentified characteristic for studying cancer.
Dr. Ernberg was awarded the Karolinska Institute Grand Silver Medal in 2016 for special recognition of his outstanding contributions to medical research and the Karolinska Institute.