Research description

I am an Associate Professor (Docent) in Epidemiology. My research program is to study women’s mental health over the life course and to bridge the gap between Obstetrics/Gynecology and Psychiatry. Leveraging large-scale population-based cohorts from Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, China and US, I aim to understand the underlying biological mechanisms affecting women’s mental health and potential health consequences. My current main research topics are:

1) Risk factors and health consequences of reproductive mood disorders or sex-specific mental disorders, including:

    ° premenstrual disorders (premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder)

    ° perinatal depression (prenatal and postnatal depression)

    ° perimenopausal depression and menopausal symptoms

    ° other maternal mental disorders occurred during and after pregnancy

2) Sex disparity in mental health

3) Psychosocial determinants of cancer incidence and survivorship among women 


Group members:

Elgeta Hysaj (doctoral student)

Emma Bränn (postdoc fellow)

Hang Yu (research assistant)

Jing Zhou (doctoral student)

Marion Opatowski (postdoc fellow)

Yihui Yang (doctoral student)


Former members:

Alexandra Vaina (master student, 2022 spring) 

Carolina Kekki (medical student, 2023 spring)

Clara Devine (master student, 2023 spring)

Jenny Deng (medical student, 2021 fall)

Ketty Xu (medical student, 2022 fall)

Lisa Emlund (medical student, 2021 fall)

Maria Jokhadar (medical student, 2022 fall)

Naela Hagatulah (medical student, 2021 fall)

Niki Tzioufa (medical student, 2022 fall)

Qian Yang (doctoral student, 2018-2022; currently postdoc at Karolinska Institutet)

Roubdab Baroudi (medical student, 2023 spring)

Veronika Westermark (medical student, 2023 spring)

Ying Hou (master student, 2023 spring)

Yuchen Li (visiting student)



My research work is supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR), Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forte), China Scholarship Council, and Karolinska Institutet Strategic Research Area in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (SFOepi), Faculty Board, Board of Doctoral Education, and Research Fund.


Selected publications:

Premenstrual Disorders, Timing of Menopause, and Severity of Vasomotor Symptoms. Yang Y, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Manson JE, Sievert LL, Harlow BL, Eliassen AH, Bertone-Johnson ER, Lu D. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(9):e2334545.

Association between adverse childhood experiences and perinatal depressive symptoms: a cross-sectional analysis of 16,831 women in Iceland. Bränn E, Vaina A, Daníelsdóttir HB, Thordardottir EB, Yang Q, Jakobsdóttir J, Aspelund T, Hauksdóttir A, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Lu D. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2023.

Premenstrual disorders and gender differences in adolescent mental health. Li Y, Jiang J, Halldorsdottir T, Zhu H, Bertone-Johnson E, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Zhou X, Zhang W, Lu D. J Affect Disord. 2023.

Childhood asthma, allergies and risk of premenstrual disorders in young adulthood. Yang Y, Gong T, Camargo CA, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Bertone-Johnson ER*, Lu D*. Nat Mental Health. 2023.

Use of hormonal contraceptives and antidepressants and risks of suicidal behavior and accidents among women with premenstrual disorders: a nationwide cohort study. Yang Q, Lagerberg T, Sjölander A, Bertone-Johnson ER, Fang F, Ye W, Chang Z, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Lu D. BMC Med. 2022;20(1):482. 

Genome-wide association study of posttraumatic stress disorder among childhood cancer survivors: results from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort. Lu D, Sapkota Y, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Koenen KC, Li N, Leisenring WM, Gibson T, Wilson CL, Robison LL, Hudson MM, Armstrong GT, Krull KR, Yasui Y, Bhatia S, Recklitis CJ. Transl Psychiatry 2022; 12(1):342. 

Association Between Childhood Body Size and Premenstrual Disorders in Young Adulthood. Lu D, Aleknaviciute J, Kamperman AM, Tamimi RM, Ludvigsson JF, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Bertone-Johnson ER. JAMA Netw Open 2022;5(3):e221256. 

Association between adverse childhood experiences and premenstrual disorders: a cross-sectional analysis of 11,973 women. Yang Q, Þórðardóttir EB, Hauksdóttir A, Aspelund T, Jakobsdóttir J, Halldorsdottir T, Tomasson G, Rúnarsdóttir H, Danielsdottir HB, Bertone-Johnson ER, Sjölander A, Fang F, Lu D*, Valdimarsdóttir UA*. BMC Med 2022. 

Associations of parental and perinatal factors with subsequent risk of stress-related disorders: a nationwide cohort study with sibling comparison. Li Y, Sjölander A, Song H, Cnattingius S, Fang F, Yang Q, Fernández de la Cruz L, Mataix-Cols D, Brander G, Li J, Zhang W, Fall K, D'Onofrio BM, Almqvist C, Lichtenstein P, Valdimarsdóttir UA*, Lu D*. Mol Psychiatry 2022.

Clinical indications of premenstrual disorders and subsequent risk of injury: a population-based cohort study in Sweden. Yang Q, Sjölander A, Li Y, Viktorin A, Bertone-Johnson ER, Ye W, Fang F, Valdimarsdóttir UA*, Lu D*. BMC Med 2021;19(1):119.

Pubertal development and risk of premenstrual disorders in young adulthood. Lu D, Aleknaviciute J, Bjarnason R, Tamimi RM, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Bertone-Johnson ER. Hum Reprod 2020; 36(2):455-464.

A shared genetic contribution to breast cancer and schizophrenia. Lu D*, Song J*, Lu Y, Fall K, Chen X, Fang F, Landén M, Hultman CM, Czene K, Sullivan P, Tamimi RM, Valdimarsdóttir UA. Nat Commun 2020;11(1):4637.

The mother's risk of premature death after child loss across two centuries. Valdimarsdóttir UA*, Lu D*, Lund SH, Fall K, Fang F, Kristjánsson Þ, Guðbjartsson D, Helgason A, Stefánsson K. Elife 2019; 8: e43476. 

Psychological distress is associated with cancer-specific mortality among patients with cervical cancer. Lu D, Andrae B, Valdimarsdottir U, Sundstrom K, Fall K, Sparen P, Fang F. Cancer Res 2019. 

Small for gestational age and risk of childhood mortality: A Swedish population study. Ludvigsson JF*, Lu D*, Hammarström L, Cnattingius S, Fang F. Plos Med 2018; 15: e1002717. 

Maternal Cancer During Pregnancy and Risks of Stillbirth and Infant Mortality. Lu D, Ludvigsson JF, Smedby KE, Fall K, Valdimarsdottir U, Cnattingius S, Fang F. J Clin Oncol 2017; 35: 1522-9. 

Clinical Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Immediately Before and After Cancer Diagnosis: A Nationwide Matched Cohort Study in Sweden. Lu D, Andersson TM, Fall K, Hultman C. M, Czene K, Valdimarsdottir U, Fang F. JAMA Oncol 2016; 2: 1188-96. 

Injuries before and after diagnosis of cancer: nationwide register based study. Shen Q*, Lu D*, Schelin ME, Joud A, Cao Y, Adami HO, Cnattingius S, Fall K, Valdimarsdottir U, Fang F.  BMJ 2016; 354: i4218. 

Bereavement Is Associated with an Increased Risk of HPV Infection and Cervical Cancer: An Epidemiological Study in Sweden. Lu D, Sundstrom K, Sparen P, Fall K, Sjolander A, Dillner J, Helm NY, Adami HO, Valdimarsdottir U, Fang F. Cancer Res 2016; 76: 643-51. 

Suicide and suicide attempt after a cancer diagnosis among young individuals. Lu D, Fall K, Sparen P, Ye W, Adami HO, Valdimarsdottir U, Fang F. Ann Oncol 2013; 24: 3112-7.

Teaching portfolio

Doctoral program: Epidemiology I "Introduction to Epidemiology"

Master program: Methods for studying the distribution of health


M.D., Sichuan University (2008)

M.Sc., Sichuan University (2010)

Ph.D., Karolinka Institutet (2017) 

Postdoc, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health/ Harvard Medical School (2018-2020)

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Swim Across America Fellow (2018)

VR Starting Grant (2020)

FORTE Junior Research Award (2020)

KIRI Fellow (2023)

KI SFOepi Junior Scholar Award (2023)