Nele Brusselaers


Associate professor of clinical epidemiology, team leader at the Centre of Translational Microbiome Research.

About me

I am an Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (Docent) and Senior Researcher at Karolinska Institutet. As team leader of the Epidemiology team at the Centre for Translational Microbiome Research, Karolinska Insitutet, I also coordinate the Oncobiome (cancer and microbiome) projects in the centre. I am also Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the Global Health Institute at Antwerp University in Belgium.

Although I have a broad interest and experience in different clinical topics; my main focus is to investigate the long-term effects of commonly prescribed drugs on female health, cancer and diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract, through potential drug-mediated alterations of the microbiome.

I also teach and supervise students from undergraduate to doctoral level.

I am also a member of the steering board of SFO epidemiology and the Nordic Research School in Registry Based research (NordForsk).


Graduated PhD students:

As main supervisor:

- Eva Doorakkers (Karolinska Institutet, 2019)

- Sam Van Slycke (Ghent University, 2020)

- Robin Willaert (Ghent Universtiy, 2021)

- Johanna Simin (Karolinska Institutet, 2021)


As co-supervisor:

- John Maret.Ouda (Karolinska Institutet, 2018)

- Laurent Thierens (Ghent University, 2020)



Research description

I am the principal investigator of 5 large cohorts:

- Chemoprevention of cancer cohort (aim: to assess the impact of commonly prescribed drugs on the development of cancer)

- The Swedish Maternal Microbiome (SweMaMi) project (aim: to assess how the microbiome affects pregnancy outcomes and the health of the offspring)

- Medication and the Maternal Microbiome (MediMami) project (aim: to assess the impact of commonly prescribed drugs during pregnancy, through potential microbiome alterations)

- PCOS (Polycystic Ovary syndrome) project (aim: to assess the effects on health in the offspring of mothers with PCOS)

- CDI project: Clostridioides difficile infection [CDI], recurrence and mortality in Sweden: risk profiles, prescription drugs and burden.


Teaching portfolio

Course organiser:

- How to conduct systematic reviews and meta-analyses (KI PhD course 2790), 2014-2020

- Study design in clinical research (KI PhD course 1794), 2013-2015

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at Karolinska Institutet, Antwerp University and Ghent University: including study design, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, pharmaco-epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, microbiome-epidemiology and other basic and advanced topics within epidemiology and clinical research.


Master in Medicine (MD), Ghent University (Belgium), 2008. PhD in Medical Sciences, Thesis: "Severe burn injury: Some determinants of epidemiological and surgical outcomes, Ghent University, Belgium, 2010. Master in Hospital Hygiene and Infection Control, Ghent University (Belgium), 2010. Master in Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom), 2015. Docent in Clinical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, 2015. First post-doc: Dept of Internal medicine and Infectious diseases, Ghent University, Belgium (2010-2012) Second post-doc: Upper-gastrointestinal surgery, Dept of Molecular medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Insitutet (2012-2016)

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Awarded research funding as prinicipal investigator:

SFO: Strategic Funding in Epidemiology (Karolinska Institutet): Young Scholar Grant (2014) ( Julin funding (2014) Bengt Ihres Fond (Svenska Läkaresällskapet) (2014, 2017, 2018) KI fonder (2014-2019) Svenska Läkaresällskapet (2015, 2018) KID funding: Karolinska Insitutet delfinansiering för nya doktorander (2015) Shizu Matsurais foundation (2017) Gastroenterolgisk forskningsfond (2017, 2018) VR (2020)

Awarded research funding as co-applicant

KID funding: Karolinska Insitutet delfinansiering för nya doktorander (2014) SIMSAM (Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences) (2014-2018) Alzheimerfonden (2018) KI Stifeltsen (2018) Comision Nacional de Investigacion Cientifica y Technolica (CONICYT) (2018) Kronprinsessan Lovisas Förening För Barnasjukvård /Stifelsen Axel Tielmans (2019) ALF (2020)


Best European Abstract - European Burn Association (EBA- 2009); Investigators award at the Congress of the Belgian Society of Internal Medicine (2010); Best abstract - European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM – 2010); Best abstract/4th best oral presentation (EBA - 2011). Selected as representative from KI to attend the Global Young Scientist Summit in Singapore (2014)


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