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Marike Gabrielson

Senior research specialist

About me

I am a senior research specialist and researcher at Karolinska Institutet at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I am also a scientific project leader in the unique, prospective mammography screening and breast cancer cohort KARMA, including over 70,000 participants [karmastudy.org] (Gabrielson et al. IJE 2017). The overarching goal of KARMA is to reduce the incidence and mortality of breast cancer by focusing on individualised prevention and screening.

I graduated with a PhD in Biomedicin from Örebro University in Sweden in 2013, specialising on breast cancer tumour cell biology. I have an undergraduate degree in Biomedicine (combined BSc/MSc) from Örebro University.

Research description

My research focuses on the aetiology of breast cancer with an emphasis on the biological mechanisms behind mammographic density as a risk factor for breast cancer. 

Since 2014 I have focused on setting up and conducting research within three target areas: 

1) Breast tissue characteristics of the normal breast for understanding the mechanisms underlying mammographic density as a risk factor for breast cancer. By using breast biopsies I have extensively investigated associations between breast tissue characteristics with mammographic density, and established risk factors for breast cancer. These studies provide new insights in tissue composition regulation, and demonstrate that early life events influence the tissue characteristics, which remain in later life. 

2) Plasma proteomic approaches for basic research and biomarker discovery for risk prediction, early detection and prevention of breast cancer. In a first paper, we showed plasma protein signatures associated with mammographic density among healthy women. The study gives new understandings to the mechanistic processes underlying mammographic density. I am currently leading the work to expand this research for identification of breast cancer prediction and stratification markers. 


3) Plasma hormone concentrations for basic research and biomarker discovery for risk prediction, early detection and prevention of breast cancer. I have identified plasma prolactin and DHEAS as risk factors for breast cancer in a manner independent of mammographic density. I have also identified an interaction between progesterone, calcifications and breast cancer risk, further identifying endogenous hormones as regulators of breast tissue homeostasis and mammographic features. I am now leading the work to develop risk prediction models based on hormone signatures of breast cancers and controls.

I am also the scientific leader of research projects in KARMA investigating the biology of breast cancer risk. As such, I am responsible for the biological material collected within KARMA and studies/clinical trial within KARMA [karmastudy.org]. 

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