About me

Martin Schalling is Professor of Medical Genetics at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery and the Center for Molecular Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital. Main interests include understanding mechanisms behind psychiatric and metabolic disorders thus enabling better diagnosis, prevention and more individualized treatment. He has supervised 20 PhD students and has authored 290 papers/manuscript and 120 abstracts to meetings and conferences. Several former students have reached the professor level. The research group has 30 members including affiliated clinical scientists. He currently supervises 9 PhD studens and 3 postdoctoral scientists. His papers have been cited over 17 000 times and his H index is currently 66 according to GoogleScholar. The KI External Research Evaluation (ERA) evaluated the group as  Outstanding 2011.

Schalling is a visiting professor at University of Sao Paulo and has been a visiting professor at UCSD where he maintains research collaborations. He is the academic coordinator for KI collaborations with Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota. Schalling is a member of the steering group at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) as well as the Swedish Twin Registry. He is member of the editorial board of Open Psychiatry Journal, Current Psychiatry Reviews. He was member of the editorial board of Molecular Psychiatry 1995-2005, Genes, Brain and Behaviour 2001-2012. From 2003 to 2012 he was a member of the advisory board at Max Planck Institute. Schalling has been involved in organizing a number world congresses. In 2009 he was coChair of the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics (WCPG).

Interactions with society include activites at several levels. Schalling  is Chairman and board member of the Swedish Psychiatry Fund. He frequently lectures publicly and has written an number of debate articles on medical topics, most recently 2014 in Svenska Dagbladet Brännpunkt. He works actively with innovation processes with the aim of bringing scientific discoveries to the market and is in this context member of the board in small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). He chairs a group within CMM that works towards facilitating innovation and more active translation activites.

Research description

The aim of Martin Schallings’ research is to identify genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors that predispose to the development of neuropsychiatric and metabolic disorders such as depression, anorexia, schizophrenia, malnutrition in kidney disorder and obesity. His research group focus on genetic/epigenetic studies and functional studies in tissues and cell culture. KIgene, a core fascility for genetic and genomic analysis is housed within the group. KIgene supports research both within KI and outside and specialize in rapid and accurate turnaround, normally delivering data the day after recieving samples for analysis.

Selected publications:

O81. Schalling, M., T. J. Hudson, K. H Buetow & D. E. Housman. (1993) Direct detection of novel expanded trinucleotide repeats in the human genome. Nature Genetics,  vol 4, 135-139.


O82. Hinds, L. H., C. T. Ashley, J. S. Sutcliffe, D. L. Nelson, S. T. Warren, D. E. Housman & M. Schalling. (1993) Tissue specific expression of FMR-1 provides evidence for a functional role in fragile X syndrome.  Nature Genetics, vol. 3 , 36-43.


O94. Schalling, M, M. Ekman, E. Kaaya, A. Linde, & P. Biberfelt (1995) A role for a new herpes virus (KSHV) in Kaposi's sarcoma. Nature Medicine, vol. 1, 707-708.


O95. Lönnkvist, F, P. Arner, L. Nordfors & M. Schalling (1995) Overexpression of the obese (ob) gene in adipose tissue of obese subjects. Nature Medicine. vol 1, 950-953.


O133. Lindblad K, P-O. Nylander, C. Zander, QP. Yuan, L. Stahle, C. Engström, J. Balciuniene, U. Pettersson, T Breschel, M. McInnis, CA. Ross, R. Adolfsson and M. Schalling. (1998) Two commonly expanded CAG/CTG repeat loci: involvement in affective disorder? Molecular Psychiatry ( Nature Publishing), vol 3, 405-410.


O164. Engert J.C., P. Berube, J. Mercier, C. Dore, P. Lepage, B. Ge, J.P. Bouchard, J. Mathieu, S. B. Melancon, M. Schalling, E. Lander, K. Morgan, T. J. Hudson and A. Richter (2000) ARSACS, a spastic ataxia common in northeastern Quebec, is caused by mutations in a new gene encoding an 11.5 kb ORF. Nature Genetics, vol. 24, 120-125.


O206. Johansson C., M. Willeit, L. Aron, C. Smedh, J. Ekholm, T. Paunio, T. Kieseppä, D. Lichtermann, N. Praschak-Rieder, A. Neumeister, S. Kasper, L. Peltonen , R. Adolfsson, T. Partonen, and M. Schalling (2004) Seasonal affective disorder and the G protein b-3-subunit C825T polymorphism. Biological Psychiatry, Vol 1;55, 317-319.


O240. CRY2 is Associated with Depression. Catharina Lavebratt 1*, Louise K. Sjöholm1, Pia Soronen2, Tiina Paunio2, Marquis P. Vawter3, William E. Bunney3, Rolf Adolfsson4, Yvonne Forsell5, Joseph C. Wu3, John R. Kelsoe6, Timo Partonen7, Martin Schalling, PlosOne. 2010, vol 5, e9407.


O248.Holtze M, P Saetre, S. Erhardt, L. Schwieler, T. Werge, T. Hansen, J Nielsen, S. Djurovic, I. Melle, O. A. Andreassen, H. Hall, L. Terenius, I. Agartz, G. Engberg, E. G. Jönsson, M. Schalling (2010) Kynurenine Monooxygenase (KMO) polymorphisms in Schizophrenia – An association study, Schizophr Research 2010 Oct 26.


O250. Hypothalamic mitochondrial dysfunction associated with anorexia in the anx/anx mouse. Lindfors C, Nilsson IA, Garcia-Roves PM, Zuberi AR, Karimi M, Donahue LR, Roopenian DC, Mulder J, Uhlén M, Ekström TJ, Davisson MT, Hökfelt TG, Schalling M, Johansen JE. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 1;108(44):18108-13. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


O252. Large-scale genome-wide association analysis of bipolar disorder identifies a new susceptibility locus near ODZ4. Sklar P, …., Schalling M, …., Purcell SM; Psychiatric GWAS Consortium Bipolar Disorder Working Group. Nature Genetics 2011 Sep 18;43(10):977-83.


O270. Genetic variants in novel pathways influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk. International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies, Ehret GB, ……, Schalling M…….Kooner JS. Nature 2011 Sep 11;478 (7367):103-9.


O269. Genome-wide association study identifies six new loci influencing pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.Wain LV et al. (Consortium publication) Nature Genetics 2011 Sep 11;43(10):1005-11. doi: 10.1038/ng.922


O272. Epigenetic aberrations in leukocytes of patients with schizophrenia: association of global DNA methylation with antipsychotic drug treatment and disease onset. Melas PA, Rogdaki M, Osby U, Schalling M, Lavebratt C, Ekström TJ. FASEB J. 2012 Jun;26(6):2712-8, Mar 16. Epub.


O278. P2RX7: expression responds to sleep deprivation and associates with rapid cycling in bipolar disorder type 1. Backlund L, Lavebratt C, Frisén L, Nikamo P, Hukic Sudic D, Träskman-Bendz L, Landén M, Edman G, Vawter MP, Ösby U, Schalling M. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43057. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043057. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


O283. The KMO allele encoding Arg452 is associated with psychotic features in bipolar disorder type 1, and with increased CSF KYNA level and KMO expression. C. Lavebratt, S. Olsson, L. Backlund, L. Frisén, C. Sellgren, L. Priebe, P. Nikamo, L. Träskman-Bendz, S. Cichon, M.P. Vawter, U. Ösby, G. Engberg, Mikael Landén, S. Erhardt, M. Schalling. Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing) 2013, March 5, Epub.


O284. Identification of risk loci with shared effects on five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis. Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Smoller JW, Craddock N, Kendler K, , Neale BM, Nurnberger JI, Ripke S, Santangelo S,Sullivan PF. …., Schalling M, ….., Kendler K. Lancet. 2013 Apr 20;381(9875):1371-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62129-1. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


O288. Allelic differences between Europeans and Chinese for CREB1 SNPs and their implications in gene expression regulation, hippocampal structure and function, and bipolar disorder susceptibility. Li M, Luo XJ, Rietschel M, Lewis CM, Mattheisen M, Müller-Myhsok B, Jamain S, Leboyer M, Landén M, Thompson PM, Cichon S, Nöthen MM, Schulze TG, Sullivan PF, Bergen SE, Donohoe G, Morris DW, Hargreaves A, Gill M, Corvin A, Hultman C, Toga AW, Shi L, Lin Q, Shi H, Gan L, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Czamara D, Henry C, Etain B, Bis JC, Ikram MA, Fornage M, Debette S, Launer LJ, Seshadri S, Erk S, Walter H, Heinz A, Bellivier F, Stein JL, Medland SE, Arias Vasquez A, Hibar DP, Franke B, Martin NG, Wright MJ; MooDS Bipolar Consortium, Strohmaier J, Breuer R, Meier S, Mühleisen TW, Degenhardt FA, Hoffmann P, Herms S, Schwarz M, Vedder H, Kammerer-Ciernioch J, Reif A, Sasse J, Bauer M, Zwick S, Hautzinger M, Wright A, Mitchell PB, Fullerton JM, Schofield PR, Montgomery GW, Martin NG, Czerski PM, Hauser J, Schumacher J, Maier W, Propping P; The Swedish Bipolar Study Group, Backlund L, Frisén L, Lavebratt C, Schalling M, Osby U; The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative; ENIGMA Consortium; CHARGE Consortium, Su B. Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing). 2013 Apr 9. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.37


O289. All SNPs are not created equal: genome-wide association studies reveal a consistent pattern of enrichment among functionally annotated SNPs. Schork AJ, Thompson WK, Pham P, Torkamani A, Roddey JC, Sullivan PF, Kelsoe JR, O'Donovan MC, Furberg H; Tobacco and Genetics Consortium; Bipolar Disorder Psychiatric Genomics Consortium; Schizophrenia Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Schork NJ, Andreassen OA, Dale AM. PLoS Genet. 2013 Apr;9(4):e1003449. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003449. Epub 2013 Apr 25


O290. Long-term lithium treatment in bipolar disorder is associated with longer leukocyte telomeres. Martinsson L, Wei Y, Xu D, Melas PA, Mathé AA, Schalling M, Lavebratt C, Backlund L. Translational Psychiatry (Nature Publishing). 2013 May 21;3:e261. doi: 10.1038/tp.2013.37.


O292. Genetic relationship between five psychiatric disorders estimated from genome-wide SNPs. Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Lee SH, …, Schalling M, …. Wray NR. Nature Genetics 2013 Aug 11. doi: 10.1038/ng.2711. [Epub ahead of print]


He recived his MD degree at Karolinska Institutet in 1983 and in 1990 he got his PhD degree, also at Karolinska Institutet. Between 1990 and 1993, he was an EMBO postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Schalling became docent (associate professor) at KI in 1993. He was part of the two year program "future leaders of Karolinska Institutet" and has completed the one year MAL programme (Future Academic Leaders).  

Academic honours, awards and prizes

He has won several prices and awards including the Florman Award for thesis of the year from the Royal Academy of Sciences, and Alvarengas award for best medical publication in Sweden from the Swedish Society of Medicine. In 1995 he was awarded the Ireland Award, an Established Investigator Award from National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Professor Schalling has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.