Researchers - Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Acharya, Ganesh

Ganesh AcharyaHead of Division, Senior Consultant
Ganesh Acharya

General Information: Ganesh Acharya. MD, PhD. FRCOG is a Professor and Head of the Division of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. He also holds a clinical position as a Senior Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine at the Karolinska University Hospital and an adjunct professorship at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø. He obtained MD from Lviv State Medical Institute, Ukraine and a postgraduate Diploma in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from Trivhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He completed his specialist training in Obstetrics & Gynaecology in the UK and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has an MSc in Medical Imaging (Ultrasound) from the University of Hertfordshire, UK, PhD in Fetal Circulatory Physiology from the University of Tromsø, Norway, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Perinatal Cardiology from the University of South Florida, USA.

Ganesh Acharya has trained and worked in several countries including Ukraine, Nepal, Germany, UK, USA. He has been working in Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden) since 2001. He has spent some time as an academic visitor/visiting professor at the University of Oxford, UK in 2011 (4 months), Fudan University, Shanghai, China in 2015 (4 months) and University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA (10 months) in 2015-2016.

Ganesh Acharya has been the Editor-in-Chief of Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (AOGS) since January 2015.

Areas of Interest:  Placental imaging, placental biology, High-risk obstetrics, clinical and experimental maternal-fetal medicine, fetal cardiovascular physiology, and global maternal health.

Ajne, Gunilla

Gunilla AjneSenior Consultant, PhD
Gunilla Ajne

Senior consultant and Medical manager at the Delivery Department Huddinge, Pregnancy Care & Delivery, Karolinska University Hospital.
Medical manager in Stockholm County regarding erythrocyte- and thrombocyte immunization during pregnancy.
Associated researcher, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Clintec, KI

Main research field is within clinical obstetrics. Responsible for a research group investigating fetal and maternal effects after vacuum assisted instrumental delivery, including development of medical technical devices.  
Has an interest in liver diseases during pregnancy.  Collaborates with Liver Center, Karolinska University Hospital regarding physiological changes in the liver during pregnancy as well as fatty liver, NAFLD, chronic liver diseases and pregnancy.
Involved in development and research regarding erythrocyte- and thrombocyte immunization during pregnancy together with Division of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion medicine, KI and Karolinska University Hospital.

Organiser of annual courses in complicated pregnancies. Teaching interest in high-risk pregnancies, obstetric delivery and erythrocyte- and thrombocyte immunization in pregnancy. Author of Swedish textbooks chapters in obstetrics.

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.

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


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

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 LindqvistAss. professor, senior consultant
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
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.