Research description

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:

  • 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
  • Psychosocial determinants of cancer incidence and survivorship among women 


Group members:

Elgeta Hysaj (research assistant)

Jenny Deng (medical student)

Lisa Emlund (medical student)

Naela Hagatulah (medical student)

Qian Yang (doctoral student)

Yihui Yang (doctoral 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, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Karolinska Institutet.


Selected publications:

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 Medicine 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.


M.D., Sichuan University (2008)

M.Sc., Sichuan University (2010)

Ph.D., Karolinka Institutet (2017) 

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Swim Across America Fellow (2018)

VR Starting Grant (2020)

FORTE Junior Research Award (2020)

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