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About me

Present positions

  • Professor, Dept of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet
  • Senior Physician (överläkare), Dept Pediatrics, Örebro University Hospital
  • Member of the steering group of the Swedish IBD Register
  • Member of the scientific reference group of the Swedish National Data Service (SND)

Previous positions

  • Chairman of the Swedish Paediatric Society
  • Chairman of the Swedish Society of Epidemiology

Teaching description

I enjoy teaching and my teaching was first externally peer reviewed in 2004 and I was found to have ”very good educational skills” and I contribute to provide students with the ability to:
·      make independent and critical assessments
·      independently identify, formulate and solve problems search and evaluate scientific knowledge
·      independently follow the development of knowledge
·      exchange knowledge with other persons who do not have specialist knowledge in the field

Topics that I frequently discuss in my lectures are: grant writing, scientific misconduct, celiac disease, emergency paediatrics, international health, Swedish national health registries (including the personal identity number), and questionnaire research.

I have also written several books and book chapters, e.g. ”Att börja forska inom medicin” (Studentlitteratur, 2002).

Selected events 2014

  • Debate article in Dagens Nyheter about child abuse

Together with paediatric colleagues I published a debate article in Dagens Nyheter on February 15, 2014 trying to increase the awareness of child abuse in Sweden. Previously I co-authored the current guidelines for child abuse at the Swedish medical website internetmedicin.

  • PC Jersild visits MEB

As part of a literary book club that I was the organiser of, the author and physician PC Jersild visited the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics on March 3, 2014. Jersild spoke about his book ”Children’s island”.

  • Stepping down as president of the Swedish Society of Epidemiology (SVEP)

At the annual meeting of the Swedish Society of Epidemiology (held at the Department of Medical Epidemiology) I stepped down as president after holding the position for three years between 2011-2014.

  • President of the Swedish Society of Pediatrics

I was elected president of the Swedish Society of Pediatrics (Barnläkarföreningen) on April 10, 2014. My main objectives during this 2-year-term is to improve education of paediatricians and to create national guidelines for treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases in children.

  • Debate article about Swedish university education

Together with professor Anders Ekbom, I published a debate article in the journal of the Swedish society of medicine (Läkartidningen) on May 2, 2014. The debate article discussed poor education at Swedish universities compared to American universities.

  • Paper on Swedish personal identity number tops 250 citations

My paper about the personal identity number* reached 250 citations this summer. My paper on the Swedish Inpatient Register has been cited more than 250 times.

The Swedish personal identity number: possibilities and pitfalls in healthcare and medical research.
Ludvigsson J, Otterblad-Olausson P, Pettersson B, Ekbom A
Eur. J. Epidemiol. 2009 ;24(11):659-67

  • Postdoc collaboration with Nottingham

Since June 2014 two postdocs from Nottingham University have visited me. They have both worked on venous thromboembolism. This is a collaboration between the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Division of Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Nottingham.

  • Nordic meeting on paediatric network for drug trials

On August 26 I as chair of the Swedish Society of Pediatrics and the Swedish Medical Product Agency (Läkemedelsverket) today jointly organised a meeting about drug trials/use in children in the Nordic countries. This is an area in need of urgent research and coordination. The meeting welcomed participants from Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

  • Opponent in Odense

On September 12, 2014 I will be the international opponent at the dissertation of Halfvdan Skjerning at the University of Odense. The title of Skjerning’s thesis is ”Health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with celiac disease”.


  • 1995. MD. Linköping University, Sweden
  • 2001. PhD. Medicine. Linköping-Örebro
  • 2005. Docent (associate professor), Örebro University Hospital
  • 2012. Fulbright Research Scholar, Mayo Clinic, US

Research description

Ongoing research

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is my main research interest. Most of my papers in this field have been epidemiological, although I have published papers on experimental research in celiac disease. Lately, I have spent considerable time coordinating an international group of scientists working on new guidelines for the definition and management of celiac disease.

The first paper from this collaboration was published in 2013, and has since been cited more than 80 times. The second paper was published in 2014: 

In the same year I was invited as a collaborator on several international projects, including the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota, USA) and Columbia University (New York, USA). My 5 former PhD students have all done research in celiac disease.

Other gastroenterology

I have been a member of the steering board of the Swedish IBD register since 2005, and in the past years I have responsible for the annual report. I am currently coordinating one validation of inflammatory bowel disease diagnoses (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and a second validation of microscopic colitis. Together with former PhD student Ola Olén, I coordinate a project on complications in IBD, with focus on cancer. In addition, I am supervising two postdocs in Britain working on cancer complications and diverticulitis. Furthermore I work closely with Professor Hanns-Ulrich Marschall, on intrahepatic cholestasis during pregnancy (ICP).

Database research

Among the five most work-intense papers of my career is a validation and review of the Swedish Inpatient Register:

Other research

My other research can be divided into four fields:

A) H1N1 immunization and pregnancy outcome (coordinator). I participated in the first project on autoimmune and neurological disease in immunized individuals published in the BMJ. The H1N1 pregnancy project is funded by the Swedish Research Council as well as by the funding agencies "FAS" and the Swedish Society of Medicine.

B) Addison's disease. I am the co-supervisor for a PhD student working on Addison's disease. We have previously published one paper on fractures in Addison's disease and are currently working on a paper about medication in Addison's disease.

C) Together with Professor Lennart Hammarström, I am coordinating a project on complications and comorbidities in IgA deficiency. Data on IgA deficiency have been collected from blood banks at Swedish university hospitals, and so far we have identified 2,516 individuals with IgA deficiency.

D) I have been involved in the ABIS study (All Babies in southeast Sweden) since the late 1990s. My thesis, consisting of 5 papers and 1 research letter, was based on this study. Thus far, I have been a co-author of 19 "ABIS publications". Currently, I am leading two projects based on the ABIS study: one to explore the influence of breastfeeding on type 1 diabetes risk and the second to examine breastfeeding duration in celiac mothers.

The ABIS study is a longitudinal study that was initiated in 1997. It includes the collection of blood specimens and other tissues, as well as questionnaire data.

Doctoral students

  • Ola Olén 2008 (main supervisor)
  • Peter Elfström, 2009 (main supervisor)
  • Adina Welander, 2012 (main supervisor)
  • Karl Mårild, 2012 (main supervisor)
  • Kaziwa Mollazadegan, 2012 (main supervisor)
  • Louise Emilsson, 2013 (main supervisor)
  • Karina Huus, 2009 (co-supervisor)

Further information


  • Member of the Editorial Board of the European J Epidemiology
  • Member of the International editorial board of Alimentary pharmacology and therapeutics

Internet-based presentations

To the right under "Social links" are the URLs to 13 internetbased presentations on clinical epidemiology. These presentations were based on the book Clinical Epidemiology by Fletcher & Fletcher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.

Academic honors, awards and prizes

  • "Rising star in gastroenterology", Europe, 2010. Awarded by ASNEMGE The European Gastroenterology Association.
  • Shortlisted for the Göran Gustafsson prize in medicine (nominated by Örebro University), 2012
  • Alumnus of the year, 2013, Linköping University
  • Honorary professor at the School of Medicine at the Nottingham University, UK, formally starting a 3-year appointment on August 1, 2015.


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