Sara Windahl, PhD, Associate professor, Assistant Senior Lecturer

Sara Windahl

Assistant senior lecturer

About me

I received my PhD from the Karolinska Insitutet in 2001, where I studied the role of estrogen receptor beta in bone maintenance, using a knockout mouse approach.  During 2002-2004, I completed a post-doctoral fellowship under Dr. Roland Baron at the Yale University School of Medicine, where I investigated the effects of a proposed new treatment for osteoporosis. Upon my return to Sweden (2015-2017), I studied the importance of estrogen receptor alpha  for bone development and function at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. During 2014-2016, I investigated the effect of loading and  osteoporosis drugs on bone at University of Bristol. I hold a position as a senior researcher at Karolinska Institutet since 2018.

Research description

Studies on how loading can strengthen the ageing skeleton

Osteoporosis-related fractures constitute a major health concern and result in a huge economic burden on health care systems and much suffering to the patients. Mechanical loading as a result of load bearing physical activity, and estrogen receptor (ER) signaling are major regulators of bone mass. We and others have demonstrated that the bone anabolic response to mechanical loading is mediated via ERs. The molecular mechanisms for the crucial role of ERs for these effects are mainly unknown.

The current focus of my research is on understanding the mechanisms for the bone strengthening effects of mechanical loading on bone.

The long-term goal is that these studies will increase our understanding of how bone strength can be increased through loading, and that this will facilitate the development of more specific and safe treatments for osteoporosis

ORCID: 0000-0002-6611-6001

Teaching portfolio

Currently, I am the course director for the courses in Tissue Biology and Pathology given at the Bachelor program in Biomedicine, and for the course Pathology given at the Master program in diagnostic cytology at KI. I have experience in developing and coordinating new courses in molecular biology, bone biology, tissue biology and pathology.  I have also supervised students at undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels. In addition, I have participated in development of a computer program used at the Bachelor program in Biomedicine to teach immunohistochemistry and planning of a laboratory experiment.



1995   M.Sc. Chemistry, particularly biochemistry, University of Gothenburg

2001  Ph. D Cell- and molecular biology, Karolinska Institutet

2002-2004 Post doctoral research at Yale University School of Medicine, CT, USA

2011   Associate professor in experimental medicine, particularly endocrinology