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Gustav Stålhammar

Affiliated to research

Department and organisational affiliation:

About me


St. Erik Eye Hospital

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet

Stockholm, Sweden

Research description

My research is focused on predicting and preventing death from ocular tumors.

Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular tumor in adults. By the time the tumor is detected, less than five percent of patients have clinically detectable metastases. Within ten to fifteen years, however, almost half of patients develop metastases even if the eye has been removed. This is believed to be due to so-called micrometastases that leave the primary tumor very early, likely even before it is discovered. These micrometastases can remain dormant in their metastatic niche, including the bone marrow and liver, for several years. Once they start growing in size so that they cause symptoms and/or become detectable by radiological examinations the patient’s prognosis is poor with a median survival of only 4–15 months. No treatment has been proven to be effective for metastatic disease, including immune checkpoint and BRAF inhibition. Unlike most other cancers, survival in uveal melanoma has not improved over the last several decades. Uveal melanoma is thereby a cancer disease with unpredictable, high mortality and limited treatment options. I would like to help remedy this through research. To this end, me and my colleagues have recently established methods based on artificial intelligence and digital image analysis of tumor tissue slides that can predict metastatic death with high accuracy – up to several years beforehand.

Similarly, I am trying to identify high risk groups among patients with retinoblastoma – the most common intraocular tumor in children. In an international research collaboration with Emory University, Atlanta, USA, we apply similar methods based on digital image analysis to detect genetic and chromosomal aberrations that increase the risk of metastasis.

In the end, we aim to use the knowledge gained through improved prognostic methods to develop effective treatment strategies.

Teaching portfolio

Ophthalmology, Karolinska Institutet

Mentorship for medical students, Karolinska Institutet

Clinical courses, St Erik Eye Hospital

Human anatomy, Uppsala University


2018-2019. Clinical and Research Fellowship, Ocular Oncology and Pathology, Emory Eye Center, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, USA

2018. Fellow of the European Board of Ophthalmology, FEBO. Board certified ophthalmologist.

2013-2017. Ph.D. Deptartment of Oncology and Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

2005-2011. University Medical Degree, M.D. Uppsala University, Sweden

2007. Pathology, Université Catholique de Lille, France

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Swedish Society of Pathology Dissertation of the Year 2017: Link

Susan G. Komen AACR Scholar in training award, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2015

Research grants, Swedish Society of Medicine, St. Erik Research Foundation, Swedish Eye Foundation, Karolinska Institutet and unrestricted departmental grant for retinoblastoma research from Research to Prevent Blindness, Emory University School of Medicine

Linck and Wallmark scholarships, Uppsala University 2010

Alreik and Erasmus scholarsips, Uppsala University 2007

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