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Catharina Lavebratt

Senior researcher

About me

Catharina Lavebratt is Associate Professor of Medical Genetics at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet and leads the research group Neurogenetics, together with Professor Martin Schalling, located in Center for Molecular Medicine at the Karolinska University Hospital, Solna. Her research interest is to understand molecular mechanisms behind psychiatric disorders thus enabling better diagnosis, prevention and more individualized treatment. She is the head of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) in ADHD focusing on the role of the gut microbiota. She is responsible for the molecular workpackages in four clinical or naturalistic population-based studies of mood disorder or anxiety (,, PART) and psychosis (FitForLife), two being RCTs, as well as collaborates with clinically active psychiatrists and psychologists having medium to large size clinical cohorts, primarily of patients with bipolar disorder or psychosis. She is using a model of depression-like behavior to enable studies in brain tissue in collaboration with preclinical researchers. Catharina has been the main supervisor of 7 PhD students now graduated, most of have embarked on a research career, and she has authored 114 international peer-reviewed articles, being first or senior author on 59% of those (h-index 27 [Web of science]). The research group Neurogenetics has 20 members including affiliated clinical scientists. She currently supervises 6 PhD students (main supervisor of 4) and 2 postdoctoral scientists. The KI External Research Evaluation (ERA) evaluated the Neurogenetics group as Outstanding 2011.

Catharina Lavebratt is member of the Steering goup of Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) and Director of postgraduate studies at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery.

Research description

Research group leader for Neurogenetics.

Using clinical and population-based naturalistic cohorts and a model of depression-like behavior, we study molecular dysregulation in mood disorder, psychosis and ADHD. Our studies focus on the interlinked processes inflammation, metabolic stress and mitochondrial activity . We investigate mechanisms and markers of disease and treatment effects though genetic, epigenetic and biochemical analyses. This is performed primarily, but not exclusively, in candidate gene networks. We collaborate within large international consortia for genome-wide genetic association studies.

Teaching portfolio

Organization of KI-courses at advanced and research level: Several week-long courses on master and doctoral levels run annually in genetics.

Lecturing at advanced and research level courses mainly in psychiatric genetics.

Supervisorship of PhD students: Main supervisor of 7 graduated and 4 current. Co-supervisor of 6 graduated and 2 current.

Supervision of 20 master student theses.   

Catharina Lavebratt is Director of postgraduate studies at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery.




Catharina, with a MSc degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, received her PhD degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from KTH in 1996. She was a Swedish Research Council Medicine-postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, Canada, and thereafter a Swedish Research Council Medicine-Junior researcher (Forskarassistent) at Karolinska Institutet until 2006, and has since then a senior researcher position at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet. She became docent (Associate professor) at Karolinska Institutet in 2003. 

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