Research SfoEpi

The goal for the Strategic Research Area in Epidemiology (SfoEpi) is to face new challenges necessitated by the demographic transformations that will occur globally in the forthcoming years. New epidemics, aging of populations, changes in climate, lifestyles and new technologies will impact on health, the effects of which are already detectable. Epidemiological approaches are essential for meeting these challenges.

Research programs

The SfoEpi consists of three flagship programs of research, each of which engages scientists throughout Karolinska Institutet. The programs were chosen to build on existing leading-edge expertise at Karolinska Institutet, and bring together new constellations of scientists to work towards solving important medical problems that are not tractable by the individual group. The programs each have a number of thematic research components that are addressed, capitalizing on resources and infrastructure being developed at Karolinska Institutet or nationally. The three flagship programs are:

i) Human interaction with microorganisms

a. Understanding disease transmission: Predicting and preventing epidemics

b. Infections as risk factors for adverse long-term health outcomes

c. The importance of the human microbiota in health and disease: effects of interference with these systems, notably antibiotic resistance

d. Short- and long-term effects of vaccinations

ii) Molecular, genetic and clinical epidemiology: steps toward translational epidemiology

a. Evaluation of population impact of common genetic variants for common, complex diseases, and developing comprehensive risk models to allow prediction of disease among individuals in the population at large

b. Evaluation of gene-environment interaction

c. Beyond GWAS: CNVs, epigenetics, and proteomics

d. Translational epidemiology – from biomarkers to prediction and prevention

iii) Lifespan approach to health and disease

a. Reproductive epidemiology: perinatal exposures and risk for disease; serology in early pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes; perinatal contributions to later health and disease

b. Development of psychiatric problems across the lifespan

c. Adulthood and late life: multimorbidity and mortality reduction

The flagship programs should be conceptualized as a series of intersecting efforts in which considerable synergies will be gained by sharing intellectual input, methodologies, and infrastructures.

Impact on society

The research programs are designed to benefit society and reduce the burden of disease. The programs are integrated with the Karolinska University Hospital and Stockholm County Council health care system hence promoting the translation of research results. Moreover, ther are numerous strategic benefits to society and the business sector as a result of these efforts. For example, as a result of the research programs and collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry, the natural placement of safety divisions of the major pharmaceutical companies will be in Stockholm, close to Karolinska Institutet. In addition, Karolinska Institutet has the potential to be a major stakeholder in surveillance and detection of epidemics, as well as research in antibiotic resistance and follow-up of new vaccination programs (e.g. for HPV).

High Impact Publications

One of the most important outputs from SfoEpi is publishing high quality scientific reports in international peer reviewed journals with high-impact and high relevance. Over the years the publications have increased from a mere 19 in 2010 to nearly 400 in 2013.  A bibliometric review indicates that SfoEpi publishes in very high-impact journals such as Science, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature, Nature Genetics, British Medical Journal, JAMA Psychiatry, JNCI, and Arthritis & Rheumatism. The average journal impact factor has ranged between 6.7 and 7.9, the average journal field normalized citation score (Ave JCf) = 2.0, and the field normalized citation score of our publications 2.0 to 3.0. Approximately 25% of our publications are among the 10% most cited publications in the world.


Outcomes of pregnancy after bariatic surgery

Johansson K, Cnattingius S, Näslund I, Roos N, Trolle Lagerros Y, Granath F, Stephansson O, Neovius M.

NEJM (2015) Online 25 February. Original article.

Read the web news: Fetmakirurgi påverkar risker för graviditetskomplikationer


Quadrivalent HPV vaccination and risk of multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system

Madrid Scheller N, Svanström H, Pasternak B, Arnheim-Dahlström L, Sundström K, Fink K, Hviid A.

JAMA (2015) Online 6 January, Original investigation.

Read on the web news: Ingen ökad risk för multipel skleros efter HPV-vaccination


Maternal overweight and obesity in early pregnancy and risk of infant mortality – a population-based cohort study in Sweden

Johansson S, Villamor E, Altman M, Edstedt Bonamy A-K, Granath F, Cnattingius S.

BMJ (2014) online 2 December. Research.


Antibiotics in fetal and early life and subsequent childhood asthma – nationwide population based study with sibling analysis

Örtqvist A, Lundholm C, Kieler H, Ludvigsson JF, Fall T, Ye W, Almqvist C.

BMJ (2014) Online 28 November. Research.

Read new on the web


Low-risk diet and lifestyle habits in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in men

Åkesson A, Larsson SC, Discacciati A, Wolk A.

J Am Coll Card (2014) online 22 September. Original investigation


Genetic contribution to postpartum haemorrhage in Swedish population: cohort study of 466 686 births

Öberg SA, Hernandéz-Diaz S, Frisell T, Greene MF, Almqvist C, Bateman BT.

BMJ (2014) online 13 August. Research.


Drug treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and suicidal behavior: register based study

Chen Q, Sjölander A, Runeson B, D’Onofrio BM, Lichtenstein P, Larsson H.

BMJ (2014) online 18 June. Research.

Read the web news: Dismisses link between suicidal behaviour and ADHD drugs


Antipsychotics, mood stabilisers, and risk of violent crime

Fazel S, Zetterqvist J, Larsson H, Långström N, Lichtenstein P.

Lancet (2014) online 8 May, Article.

Read the web news: Antipsychotics associated with reduced rate of violent crime


The familial risk of autism

Sandin S, Lichtenstein P, Kuja-Halkola R, Larsson H, Hultman CM, Reichenberg A.

JAMA (2014) online 3 May. Original investigation.


Association of varying number of doses of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine with incidence of condyloma

Herweijer E, Leval A, Ploner A, Eloranta S, Fridman Simard J, Dillner J, Netterlid E, Sparén P, Arnheim-Dahlström L.

JAMA (2014) 12 February. Original investigation.

Press release: Three doses of HPV vaccine recommended against genital warts

More Publications

For more publications within epidemiology please see PubMed