Researcher - Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Fianu Jonasson, Aino

Aino Fianu JonassonAss. professor, Senior researcher
Aino Fianu Jonasson

Aino Fianu Jonasson is specialist in urogynecology and is responsible for the Womens health department at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge.
Was registered physician, National Board of Health on 21 Feb 1986 and became specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology on the 30 Sep 1990.
Has published several publications
is supervisor for Shahla Ahmed.

Teaching interest
Has been director of studies and responsible of teaching medical students from 1996 until 2009. She has also been training junior doctors and undertaking clinical research. She has published several publications

Research interest
Urinary incontinence
Studies of endometrios in women who are infertile
Ainos research group

Bergström, Ingrid

Ingrid BergströmMD, Senior Consultant
Ingrid Bergström

Ingrid Bergström became specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology 1995. She defended her thesis titled "Effects of gonadal hormone deficiency on bone mineral density. Can physical activity increase bone mineral density in women?" in 2006. She is now doing preclinical and clinical translational research in collaboration with associate professor Sara Windahl Department of Medicine, Endocrine division, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and professor Göran Andersson, Division of Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm concerning the effect of strain on the bone metabolism in different hormonal conditions. Her clinical work since 2001 concerns Osteoporosis, Bone disorders and Gynecologal Endocrinology.
Since 2007 she is the principle investigator of the project: Vitamin D deficiency in immigrant pregnant women and its effects on bone metabolism and pain. The project is now continuing as a treatment study.

Teaching interests
Osteoporosis, Vitamin D, The effect of physical training on bone, muscle and balance.

Key words
Hormones, physical training, bone mineral density, bone strength, vitamin D deficiency.

Reduced physical activity and hormonal changes are important factors for developing osteoporosis in patients at high risk for this clinically important condition. The overall aim of this project is to characterize bone metabolism in order to understand how physical activity may prevent osteoporosis and to investigate the effects of vitamin D treatment in immigrant women with vitamin D deficiency. The current method (DEXA) is insufficient to measure the effect of load on bone strength. Other factors such as the macro- and micro-architecture and collagen content and its characteristics affect the strength. We have extensive experience in training effects on bone markers and bone mineral density (BMD) measured by DEXA. With the help of grants from the Wallenberg Foundation, we have established a method for analysis of bone structure by quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). We have also established a bone biopsy method and will evaluate the effects on micro-architecture, collagen and on the osteocyte. Our studies are performed with a truly translational approach by combining clinical human research with basic mechanistic studies in in vivo model systems.

Lack of sunlight increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Our study on 68 pregnant immigrant women shows that 78% have deficiency, and indicate that this is associated with pain. We are analyzing the effects of vitamin D treatment on bone structure, but also on the pain, muscle strength and balance of immigrant women with vitamin D deficiency

Financial support
Funding: Trygg Hansa, AFA, Percy Falk Foundation, Governmental Funding of Clinical Research within the National Health Service 2009-2012(ALF/LUA).
Grants: Nycomed, Astra Zeneca, Aventis, Recip, Orion Pharma.

Doctoral students supervised
Axel Wihlborg

Open position
We are always interested in recruiting PhD students with special interest in physical activity,
vitamin D, and their effects on bone metabolism.
Please, contact Dr. Ingrid Bergström for Information, e-mail: ; phone +46 8 58589558 or +46 721 777857.

Damdimopoulou, Pauliina

How do environmental chemicals affect female reproductive health?

I am interested in the impact of environmental chemicals on female reproductive health with a special focus on the germ cells, oocytes. In particular I would like to find out how ovarian follicles where the oocytes reside are affected by endocrine disruptive chemicals in our environment.

Although decreasing sperm counts in men have attracted substantial attention and speeded up discussions about the harmful effects of environmental chemicals on reproductive performance in humans, the female side of the story has remained poorly covered – for obvious reasons. While semen is easily available and analysed, the oocytes quietly reside within the ovaries without giving the researcher clear endpoints for the measurement of quality or quantity.

Importantly, recent reviews have concluded that female reproductive health could also be disrupted by environmental chemicals with premature ovarian failure, infertility, and compromised intrauterine fetal development as possible consequences (Crain et al. 2008; Diamanti-Kandarakis et al. 2009; Bergman et al. 2013).

My I aim is to study how chemicals with hormone disruptive properties affect ovarian follicle maturation and survival, and the developmental competence of the oocytes. I will approach these questions by using cell culture models, human ovarian follicle culture, and by studying clinical patient material.

If you find these topics interesting, please contact me to hear about possibilities to do a MSc project, PhD, or postdoc with me!

Götherström, Cecilia

Cecilia GötherströmPhD
Cecilia Götherström

Cells derived from perinatal tissues have great clinical potential
The pregnancy is a source of stem cells, with potential applications in medicine. However, the best source, collection, isolation and culture method must be established for each area of use. Cells derived from the fetus and membranes have more potential than cells derived from adult tissues.

My overall aim is to evaluate the clinical potential and the significance of stem cells and progenitors obtained from different perinatal tissues.

Mesenchymal stem cells
A promising cell candidate for regenerative medicine purposes is the multipotent mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC). The interest in these cells is based on their multipotentiality, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and tissue repairing effects in combination with a minimal oncogeneic risk.

Characterizing and comparing MSC from different perinatal sources
We work with many perinatal sources: fetal tissues (first trimester), amniotic fluid, chorionic villus, biopsies of muscle and skin (second trimester), placenta, Wharton´s Jelly and umbilical cord blood (term).
These cells are evaluated for their potential in perinatal regenerative medicine in clinical application as seen below. We also evaluate how maternal and fetal microchimerism, pregnancy, and mode of delivery affect the isolated cells.

Developing new clinical treatment options using perinatal MSC for:

  • Prenatal transplantation for severe osteogenesis imperfecta (clinical treatments ongoing)
  • Severe structural defects diagnosed before birth
  • Life threatening bronchopulmonary dysplasia and necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies

Umbilical cord blood
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) contains large amounts of unique hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to cure people with leukemia and other blood disorders. Time for clamping of the umbilical cord at birth varies, and directly correlates to UCB yield. Recent studies argue that immediate clamping has potentially serious consequences for the childrens health. It is unclear how this relates to health and wellbeing of the infant. Still, late clamping is encouraged but obstructs collection of UCB. Furthermore, it is unknown how labor influences UCB cell composition.

The National Umbilical Cord Blood Bank in Sweden
At Karolinska University Hospital the National Umbilical Cord Blood Bank (headed by Cecilia Götherström) collect altruistically donated UCB for clinical treatments. In relation to this activity, it is possible to retrieve UCB for research purposes. For more information visit:

Childbirth and collection of umbilical cord blood
We are examining how clamping at 1 minute affects children's health status related to immediate (<10 seconds) or late (>3 minutes) clamping. We are also evaluating if it is possible to collect umbilical cord blood for clinical banking with clamping at 1 minute.
We aim to minimize risks to the donor and improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by:

  1. Optimizing clamping time for UCB collection. We will practice intermediate clamping time and follow the childrens blood and iron status for 4 months.
  2. Evaluate clinical collection of UCB using umbilical cord clamping at 1 minute.
  3. Investigate the significance of labor and stress in the cell composition of UCB.
  4. Investigate how parents experience clinical collection of UCB.

The Götherström research group is situated at Karolinska Institutet, Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine (HERM) at Novum:

Dr Götherström teaches within the areas:

  • Cell and molecular biology (DNA and chromosomes, DNA replication, RNA-processing and translation, gene and genome evolution, intracellular sorting, ER, Golgi, protein synthesis etc)
  • Immunology (basal immunology, HLA system, immunomodulation by MSC)
  • Transplantation (prenatal, HSC and MSC)
  • Stem cells (general, UCB, fetal and adult MSC)
  • Doctoral courses (se below)

Organizer of doctoral courses:

  • Clinical Cell Transplantation
  • Progenitor/Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, a Laboratory Course
  • Mesenchymal stem cells -biology and clinical potential
  • Hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem cells -health and disease

Dr Götherström is Director for the Doctoral Program in Regenerative Medicine at Karolinska Institutet. For more information on the doctoral program and doctoral courses, visit

Hovatta, Outi

Outi HovattaProfessor
Outi Hovatta

We have a research team consisting of three senior scientists, three postdocs, five Ph.D. students and a technician. We have wide collaboration with other teams in KI and internationally. We participate in two EU projects.

Teaching interests
Undergraduate teaching in reporductive physiology and infertility treatment. Postgraduate teaching in stem cell biology, particularly human pluripotent cell and their use in regeneration medicine. Cryopreservation of cells and tissues. maturation of human ovarian follicles and oocytes in vitro.

Research interests
Human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent cells: establishing clinical grade ell lines for regenerative medicine, mechanisms of early development of human gametes and embryos, germ cell and neural differentiation, fertility preservation, maturation of ovarian follicles in vitro

Kublickiene, Karolina

Karolina KublickieneDocent, Senior Forskare
Karolina Kublickiene

Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Currently responsible for lab facilities and a group leader for vascular research at the department of Obsterics and Gynecology, Karolinska University Hospital-Huddinge. Engaded in postgraduate education belonging to DECS, KIRKNET and RGD programs

Teaching interest
Undegraduate and postgraduate education, supervision for master's, PhD and Post Doc studies.
Vascular physiology and pathophysiology with focus on endothelial function.
Particular interest on women's cardiovascular health at reproductive age and after menopause.
Topics: resistance circulation, endothelial dysfunction, preeclampsia, adverse pregnancy outcomes and later cardiovascular health, obesity, menopause and hormonal replacement therapy, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, steroid's signalling and screening studies on novel compaunds with proposed cardiovascular benefit.

Research interest
Investigations concentrate on vascular physiology and pathophysiology with focus on resistance artery function primarily in women at reproductive age and after menopause. In addition, patients with coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease and healthy female and male volunteers are included.
Studies involve a range of different isolated small artery bioassays, pharmacological and molecular assessments of endothelial dysfunctional markers and cellular signaling in combination with in in vivo assessment of large artery function and measurements of known and resently recognised biochemical markers for increased cardiovascular risk.

Specific projects:

  • Small artery function in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia;
  • Determination of cardiovascular risk factors in women with history of preeclampsia;
  • Targeting androgens for vascular health: beneficial and adverse effects of testosterone on endothelium and the mechanisms behind;
  • Small artery function in women after menopause:role of estrogen, 2 Methoxyestradiol , HRT and novel GPER;
  • Dietary intervention in PCOS women and endothelial function;
  • ET-1-mediated endothelial dysfunction:implications for eNOS uncoupling and screening the mechanisms behind;
  • Resistance vasculature in chronic kidney disease: targeting compromised pathways and prerequisites for therapeutic alternatives;
  • -Effects of different statins on endothelial function in arteries from humans with and without CVD.

Acting Research team:
Assoc. Prof. K. Kublickiene, Assoc. Prof. H. Nisell, Post Doc L. Luksha, Post Doc G. Ajne, PhD student N. Luksha, Doctor M. Kublickas, Master student B. Barua.
Collaborators at KI: Prof. BM Landgren, Assoc. Prof. A. Fianu-Jonasson, Prof. A. Linden-Hirschberg (Women's health); Prof. P. Stenvinkel and Assist. Prof. J. Carrero (Renal medicine); Prof. F. Hammarquist (Surgery); Prof. J. Pernow and Assoc. Prof. F. Bohm (Cardiology); Prof. A. Rane and Assoc. Prof. L. Ekström (Laboratory medicine); Prof. K. Dahlman-Wright (Biosciences and Nutrition)
International collaborators: Prof. L. Poston (KCL, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK), Prof. T. Simoncini (University of Pisa, Italy), Prof. G. Sade and Assist. Prof. E Bytautiene (Huston University, USA), Prof. G. Osol and Assoc. N. Gokina (Vermont University, USA).

Lanner, Fredrik

Fredrik LannerPhD
Fredrik Lanner

Exploring mammalian preimplantation development and pluripotency

Our lab is focused on exploring the mechanisms that control the first week of mammalian preimplantation development from a single fertilized egg to a multicellular embryo with distinct tissues. Understanding this period of development is of great importance both for current assisted reproductive technologies and future regenerative medicine using embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells.
Our current knowledge about preimplantation biology has almost exclusively been worked out using the mouse model. Early human development on the other hand, which clearly is the organism that we need to understand the best, is strikingly understudied. Our research is therefor focused on extending our understanding of early mammalian development and translating knowledge gained in the mouse model to the human setting.


How is spatial organization established in the early embryo?
It is becoming increasingly evident that spatial organization is actively regulated during early mammalian development although the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We are therefore examining the individual roles of identified guidance and cell adhesion molecules together with the biophysical properties of the lineage progenitors during spatial segregation in the early embryo.

Are the mechanisms driving lineage specification in mouse conserved in human embryos?
Recent studies suggest that the signaling pathways regulating lineage specification in mouse may not apply in humans. We are therefore characterizing the function of several candidate signaling pathways and aim to further identify novel alternative pathways regulating the early human embryo.

Characterize lineage plasticity of the early embryo using flow cytometry.
Having developed a novel flow cytometric methodology to isolate lineage progenitors form the early mouse embryo we are functionally exploring the transition from totipotency to lineage commitment.

Interested in joining the lab?
Master and PhD projects may be available in the lab. Applications for post-doc positions are very welcomed if the applicant can bring financing. Otherwise early contacts are encouraged to plan applications for external personal post-doc grants. In particular PhDs with experience in stem cell and early mammalian developmental biology.


Swedish Research Council
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
Ragnar Söderberg Foundation
Mats Sundin Fellowship

Lindqvist, Pelle G

Pelle LindqvistDocent, Överläkare
Pelle G Lindqvist

Research interests
Prevention of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Research on prevention of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, growth restriction, thromboembolism and prematurity causes a great proportion of both maternal and fetal complications. Through the identification and evaluation of risk factors, strategies for the avoidance of complications are assessed. Methods range from large prospective epidemiological studies, population-based case-control studies, laboratory studies, DNA association studies, and studies on stem cell differentiation. A major effort is made to implement the results at the clinic, both locally and nationally.

Tiblad  Eleonor

Eleonor TibladMD., PhD
Eleonor Tiblad

Obstetrician and gynecologist, specialist in maternal-fetal medicine. KI Research School in Epidemiology for Clinicians 2008-2010. Presented PhD thesis in 2012: "New strategies to prevent fetal and neonatal complications in Rhesus D immunization".

Teaching interest
Fetomaternal immunology, fetal medicine

Research interest
Erythrocyte- and thrombocyte immunization in pregnancy, intrauterine stem cell transplantation, fetal therapy.

Westgren, Magnus

Magnus WestgrenProfessor, Enhetschef
Magnus Westgren

Since 1990 has been an Obstetric Director at Karolinska University Hospital and he is Professor and Head of Department at Karolinska University Hospital since 2006.
Has been the President of the Swedish Society for Perinatal Medicine and is one of the Scientific Consultants to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare.
Has been Scientific Supervisor for more than 15 PhD students and has published approximately 200 papers.

Teaching interest
Specific teaching area:

  • Fetal regenerative medicine
  • Fetal stem cells
  • Perinatology
  • RH-immunization

Ongoing tutorship:
B Hallberg; Biochemical markers on fetal asphyxia
E Tibladh; IUT in different animal models
AM Jonsson; On the significance of maternal chimerism

Research interest
From fetal tissue, it is possible to isolate fetal stem cells. These cells have special properties in regard to expansion capacity and neurological function. Our resource group have developed techniques for isolation and characterisation of fetal stem cells and we have also used these cells for intrauterine fetal stem cell transplantation. More recently, we are working on fetal stem cells in regards to tissue engineering with the aim to produce transplants for reconstructive surgery at severe congenital malformations.