Research description

Neurodegenerative diseases

We are interested in studying the risk factors as well as prognostic indicators for neurodegenerative diseases, primarily amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Our research questions include for example the roles of energy metabolism, immune modulation, and gut microbiome, as well as their interactions in the risk and prognosis of ALS and PD. We utilize different research tools including the unique Swedish health registers (e.g. Swedish Motor Neuron Disease Registry), longitudinal cohort studies, and case-control studies. We work closely with the Neurology clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital and other ALS/PD researchers in Sweden and other countries in these efforts.

Psychological stress and its related health outcomes

We are interested in the short- and long-term health consequences of severely stressful life events, e.g., loss of a significant other, cancer diagnosis, and natural disaster. For instance, we study whether there are unrecognized health consequences immediately following a cancer diagnosis, and whether experience of severe psychological stress after cancer diagnosis influences cancer prognosis. These studies are based on the health registers, large-scale cohort studies, as well as specifically designed clinical studies in Sweden, other Nordic countries, United States, and China.

Current doctoral students

Former PhD students

  • Daniela Mariosa (currently Postdoc at the International Agency for Research on Cancer)
  • Ruoqing Chen (currently Postdoc at Karolinska Institutet)
  • Donghao Lu (currently Postdoc at Harvard School of Public Health)
  • Jianwei Zhu (currently Physician at West China Hospital)
  • Elisa Longinetti (currently Postdoc at Karolinska Institutet)

Current post docs

Other members of the group (current and former)

  • Emily Bond (postdoc)
  • Jing Fan (master student)
  • Amanda Ragodón Wallin (master student)
  • Elin Roos (master student)
  • Piero Lamendola, University of Bologna (exchange student)
  • Jessica Gong (UK master student)
  • Lin Chen (master student)
  • Xu Wen (exchange PhD student)
  • Jurate Aleknaviciute, Erasmus Medical Center (exchange PhD student)
  • Mizuki Sata, Osaka University (exchange PhD student)
  • Lin Chen (master student at Global Health)
  • Jet Termorshuizen (research assistant)
  • Anabel Saez Mas, University Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona (Erasmus program)
  • Shifeng Lian (PhD student)

Current research grants (as PI)

My research work is supported by the European Research Council (ERC), Swedish Research Council (VR), Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forte), Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden), Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF), Swedish Brain Foundation, Chinese Scholarship Council, and Karolinska Institutet.


  • MD, PhD

Academic honours, awards and prizes

  • Dmitris N Chorafas prize for best PhD thesis under age 30 in 2010.
  • Awarded SSMF researcher 2013 by the Swedish Society for Medical Research
  • ERC Starting Grant 2018

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