About me

I am an assistant professor in genetic epidemiology of aging, interested in combining genetic and longitudinal designs to understand complex traits. 

Research description

My primary research aim is to understand how overweight influences risk of age-related diseases, by studying why different forms of overweight have different effects on the risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes. I am also interested in understanding how geographic circumstances influence late-life health.

Adiposity and the risk of age-related disease

The project aims to leverage the heterogeneity of adiposity-related traits, to understand better how adiposity influences the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. My hypothesis is that specific adiposity-related traits have different effects on the risk of the age-related diseases, and that these differences are explained by differences in e.g. metabolic factors or accelerated aging. I study adiposity in general (e.g. BMI and body fat distribution), and specific adiposity-related traits: a) metabolically unhealthy vs healthy adiposity; b) environmentally vs genetically driven adiposity, and c) adiposity measured in midlife vs late-life. These adiposity-related traits are associated with substantially increased, vs only slightly increased or even decreased risk of age-related disease (compared to having normal weight), and by studying what differs between them, I aim to advance our understanding of both the heterogeneity of overweight and of how adiposity in general affects late-life health.

Life course geographic circumstances and late-life health

Together with colleagues in Sweden, the UK, and the US, I am studying life course geographic circumstances in relation to dementia and other outcomes related to late-life health. Our aim is to examine 1) how genetic and environmental factors contribute to how people choose where to live, and 2) how life course geographic circumstances affect Alzheimer’s and related dementias and other late-life outcomes.

Teaching portfolio

Lecturer, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, 2018-2020

Lectures on statistical methods (doctoral level)

Lectures on cognition and dementia (bachelor and master level)

Course director 

An introduction to genetic and molecular epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, from 2021 (PhD course, 1.5 credits)

Statistical Methods, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, 2020 (PhD course, 7.5 credits)

Current supervision of students:

Peggy Ler, PhD student at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Elsa Ojalehto, research assistant

Anita Paul, master student from Stockholm University, Public health department

Otto-Emil Jutila (co-supervisor), PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, Precision Medicine Doctoral Training Program 

Education

PhD in Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, 2017

MSc Biomedicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2010

Postdoctoral training

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, 2021-2022

Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Riverside, 2019-2020 (6 months)

Institute of Gerontology, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, 2017-2020

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2022: Promising Researcher award, the Nordic Gerontological Federation

2019: Fulbright Scholar Awardee

Funding: 

My research has received funding from FORTE, The Strategic Research Program in Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet (SFOepi), Loo and Hans Osterman Foundation for Medical Research, Eurolife, The Fulbrigh Commission, Throne Holst Foundation, and The Medical Research Council UK (as co-supervisor in the Precision Medicine Doctoral Training Program at the University of Edinburgh).