Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagberg Prize

The purpose of the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagberg Foundation is to stimulate and foster scientific research within the medical and biochemical fields respectively. Each year, an award is made of a personal prize as well as financial support to young researchers who have distinguished themselves in their particular field.

The foundation’s grant and prize, in alternate years, go to the two different categories of medicine and biochemistry. Where questions of nomination for the awards are concerned, the Foundation collaborates with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) and Karolinska Institutet.

Sven Hagberg (1894-1961) was a graduate engineer and cereal chemist. He developed a new method for measuring the baking characteristics of flour. This method, called the "Hagberg Falling Number", is now in use the world over. Ebba-Christina Hagberg (1900-1972) was involved in organisational work and shared her husband’s interest in foreign cultures. The couple had no children of their own but bequeathed their property to the Foundation.

Prize winners 2022 - Cristiana Cruceanu and Hugo Zeberg

Cristiana Cruceanu
Cristiana Cruceanu Photo: Juan Pablo Lopez

Cristiana Cruceanu at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology is awaded the prize for her studies on how fetal brain development is affected by maternal stress and other environmental factors during pregnancy.

Her research aims to use state-of-the-art cell culture modeling approaches and primary tissues to understand how the environment shapes human brain development – during the most plastic periods of pregnancy. It is well established that prenatal exposures can chart the course for a lifetime of risk and resilience for disease, including mental and behavioral disorders. Cristiana’s group will uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which these imprinting processes occur, with hopes of informing prevention and intervention strategies in psychiatry clinical practice.

Hugo Zeberg
Hugo Zeberg Photo: Alexander Donka


Hugo Zeberg at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology is awarded the prize for his studies on how gene variants inherited from Neanderthals influence occurrence of severe complications from Covid-19.

Hugo Zeberg and his group have an interest in how the genetic inheritance from Neandertals affects health and disease. In addition, they are interested in genetic variability in general and its functional consequences. Other topics of interest include pharmacogenetics and the genetic predisposition to infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Their methods include both bioinformatics and functional studies.

Previous prize winners at KI

2020 - Elizabeth Arkema och Marcus Buggert

Elizabeth Arkema at the Department of Medicine in Solna was awarded the prize “for her population-based studies concerning the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis”.

Marcus Buggert at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge received the award "for his studies on specific populations of T cells and their importance for our defense against viral infections."

2018 - Petter Brodin and Ljubica Matic

Petter Brodin, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, was awarded the prize for his studies concerning immune system development in newborn children.

Ljubica Matic, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, received the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagberg prize for her studies concerning molecular mechanisms of smooth muscle cell function in atherosclerosis.

2016 – Katja Petzold and Simon Elsässer

Katja Petzold, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB), was awarded the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagberg prize for her discoveries concerning RNA structure and function using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other biophysical techniques.

Simon Elsässer, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB), received the prize for his discoveries concerning epigenetic silencing mechanisms involving histone modifications.

2014 – Emma Andersson and Robert Månsson

Emma Andersson was awarded the prize for her work concerning how the Wnt and Notch signalling pathways control differentiation and morphogenesis during embryonic development. It is important to gain an understanding of these signalling pathways, since a range of diseases can arise when they do not function properly during development. Dr Andersson is doing important research into Alagille syndrome, a genetic disorder that arises in early childhood and affects the liver, heart and kidney.

Robert Månsson was awarded the prize for his work concerning early haematopoiesis and three-dimensional genomic architecture, and the relationship between this higher order genomic organization of genes and transcriptional regulation. He is particularly interested in genes that are involved in the development of blood cells. The overall aim of his work is to gain a greater understanding of normal blood cell development why some genetic mutations cause blood cancers.

2012 – Pernilla Lagergren and Rickard Sandberg

Pernilla Lagergren, at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, was awarded the prize for her research on health-related quality of life after surgical treatment of tumors, especially esophageal cancer.

Rickard Sandberg, at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, was awarded the prize for his mapping of genome regulation, which has led to new insights on gene activity. His new genomic approach is pioneering basic research and has great potential to improve clinical diagnostics.

2010 - Marie Carlén and Luca Jovine

Marie Carlén at the Department of Neuroscience, received the prize for her application of an ultramodern light-based technique that revolutionises medical science's knowledge of how the brain works and the causes of brain conditions such as schizophrenia.

Luca Jovine, at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition was awarded for his research on conception at a molecular level.

2008 – Jonas Muhr and Kirsty Spalding

Jonas Muhr at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, was awarded for his study of the regulation of stem cells in the brain.

Kirsty Spalding at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology was awarded for her research into the formation of new brain cells.

2006 – Mikael Björnstedt

Content reviewer:
Anne Thyrfing