“Shrove Tuesday”, “Fat Tuesday”,…… in Sweden, the 13th of February has a more down-to-earth name: “Semmeldagen“, the day when people eat as many Semla as they wish!


Before starting to eat your Semla, our KTH blogger Tomas has an amusing story of the history Semmeldagen, which includes the King died of eating Semla (okey, maybe I should not start from here……), that I strongly recommend you to read. My story today is slightly different: it is about how to DIY 40 Semlor (Semlor = plural of Semla) from flour, whipped cream, sugar and almond, in a student corridor with my classmates.


There are a lot of DIY videos online, such as this one:

And you need a colorful recipe, such as this one “Learn to bake Semlor step by step

Matskolan: Lär dig baka semlor

Most importantly, we have Karine, the baking Queen who is so enthusiastic about baking and feeding her hungry classmates!

To start with, you may say that Semla is simply the composition of three elements: almond paste, whipping cream and dough. It is true:


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Extending your residence permit: it is the time to consider

If you are a first year master student, February can be a good time to think about extending your residence permit, as you may start applying as early as six month before your residence permit expires on 31/08/2018. Trust me, you would want to do it sooner rather than later!


The migration agency in Sweden will tell you that the process differs from case to case. It is true, though I can provide you with my own the timeline, which might be typical for a student visa extension:

I started my application in the middle of May and the entire application takes as long as 3.5 months for me. As summer is usually the peak of all kinds of applications at Migration agency (“Migrationsverket” in Swedish), it is really important not to apply at the last minute!


Online application is the most common and the easiest way to extend your permit. You will be asked to:

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Course Review: High-throughput data analysis

The course, BB2491 High-throughput data analysis, is the core of MTLS education at KTH. How does BB2491 differ from traditional biology lectures that we have so far? In this blog I will talk a bit about why, and how we should learn and master high-throughput science!

First, why study high-throughput? It is involved in a myriad of industrial applications, as well as the frontiers of research, to name but a few:

  • Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is the best illustration of generating and analysing high-throughput data
  • High-throuput compound screening dominates lead discovery for manufacturing of small molecule drug
  • Traditional gene-targeting methods are sufficient for analysis of mendelian diseases, but diseases that involves more complex interplay, requires collecting and analysing “bigger data”

In BB2491, the teaching follows a logical transition from theory, practice to a hand-on project.


In biology, high throughput analysis can be split into three parts, namely Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics. Correspondingly, we have three professors responsible for each part:


Lukas Käll                                Lars Arvestad                               Olof Emanuelsson

In contrast to traditional biology lectures, we have no designated text book; alternatively, we have 33 research papers or scientific reviews as mandatory reading materials! It sounds a bit daunting in the beginning, but under the careful guidance of teachers, as well as  fundamental building blocks in previous course (Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics), we are able to dive into the ocean of knowledge!

For example, while Olof introduced the basic concept of RPKM in abundance estimation at the start of the transcriptomics part, it is concluded by four excellent students at the edge of RNA sequencing techniques.


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The warmest, simplest winter food

Food is more than fulfilling metabolic need; it is emotion, sensation and life itself. People differ in their inclination towards food; even the same individual prefer different food under different circumstances. Today I will recommend two types of food that are perfectly apt for Swedish winter: they are as warm as home-coming, and are simple enough to prepare in a shared student kitchen.


The vendors selling roasted sweet potatoes are a shared memory of post-1990s’ China.  Although such sign disappears from my life since I moved to Sweden, the nostalgic taste of roasted sweet potatoes can be easily replicated in your own oven, in three steeps:

  1. Pre-warm the oven at 200C, 10 min *

  2. Put the sweet potatoes (NOT peeled), 70 min *

  3. Let the sweet potatoes cool down **

A qualified roasted sweet potato should:

  • secret a viscous, black juice
  • have readily removable skin
  • soft enough be bailed with a spoon

* It might be variation between my oven and yours

** Allowing your sweet potatoes to cool down is really important. High-temperature food and beverages are a known risk factor for various types of cancers. Besides, sweet potatoes actually taste better when they are a bit cooler.


Some mix up sweet chestnut with it cousin, horse chestnut, due to their appearance:

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Inside the heart of Swedish democracy

If you were in Stockholm before, you must have been to the historical old town and  impressed by the great architectures erected on the islets. Among them, there is a crescent-shape building which carries an special meaning for the nation. “Riksdag”  is its name and “heart of the Swedish democracy” is official definition. In this blog I will discover this grandiose building with you, and touch a bit upon the incredible political system and ideology behind it.


Some says that democracy means open and free information available to the public. So it is for Riksdag. You may enter the Riksdag via

  1. Guided Tour  (Free of charge)

2.  Public hearing, chamber meetings and debates are open to the public. You just need to reserve more time to arrive due to the security check, and better be able to understand Swedish to make more sense for you existence.

Security check

3. Riksdags has its own library , which is also open to public and you may also borrow books.


Being the heart of Swedish democracy, the Riksdag building must be located in the heart of the capital. Inaugurated in 1905, and it is then fused with the nearby national bank in the 80s. Today, Riksdag spans the entire Helgeandsholmen, overlooking the water. 

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