Rektor Anders Hamsten

Anders Hamsten

Affiliated to research

About me

Led own research group since 1987. The appointment was financed by the Medical Research Council until 1990, and from 1991 to 1997 by the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation.

Docent (associate professor) in 1990 and professor in 1999.

Between 1993 and 2007, director of the King Gustaf V Research Institute, and between 1999 and 2007 the head of KI's Department of Medicine in Solna. From 2007 to 2012 head of division at the same department.

Alongside my research, I have also worked as a clinician. Received specialist training in heart disease and internal medicine at Danderyd Hospital from 1982 to 1986. Between 1987 and 2012 I worked as a cardiologist at Karolinska University Hospital, where I was consultant from 1997. From 2004 to 2007 I was head of the Thorax division.

Became a member of the Nobel Assembly at KI in 2004. Positions of trust for several bodies, including the King Gustav V 80th Birthday Fund, the Salus Ansvar Foundation, the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation and the Research Council of the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation.

Research description

Researches into the aetiology and prevention of atherosclerosis in the coronary artery (CAD). The causes of CAD are complex and involve numerous physiological systems, such as blood lipid metabolism, immunological defence and blood coagulation. In order to explain the high degree of CAD hereditariness in certain families, the existence has been posited of relatively rare gene variants with a much greater impact on disease risk than other involved genes. The search for such high-risk genes is a pursuit of particular interest to my research group.

One protein that I've been researching into for the past few decades is plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), which plays a key part in the fibrinolytic (clot breakdown) system. As a doctoral student I helped to make the first discoveries on the links between PAI-1 and CAD, and since then the protein has become a recurrent theme in my research. For example, I was the first scientist in the world to show that high concentrations of PAI-1 in the blood increase the risk of cardiac infarction.

In recent years, I have spent much of my time working with major international partners on the identification of the genes and biological mechanisms of coronary artery disease (CAD). For instance, until 2012 I led PROCARDIS, a consortium comprising eight research centres in Sweden, Britain, Italy, Germany, France and Spain. As a result of these international collaborations, I spent 20 per cent of my working year at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford between 2007 and 2012.

Alongside my research, I've worked as a cardiologist at Karolinska University Hospital from 1987 to 2012.


Degree in medicine from Karolinska Institutet (KI) in 1978.

PhD with his thesis on "Studies on myocardial infarction at young age" in 1986.

Specialist training in heart disease and internal medicine at Danderyd Hospital from 1982 to 1986.

Docent (associate professor) in 1990 and professor in 1999.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Among others prize for best original article (1986) from the Scandinavian Society for Atherosclerosis Research, and the 1997 Friedrich Merz Prize from Frankfurt University.