A growing focus on diseases of the brain

The intricate interplay of the brain, nervous system, and psyche is one of the primary research areas at Karolinska Institutet.

For many years, KI has maintained a leading role in experimental neuroscience, investigating neuronal signaling, the development of nerve cells from stem cells, and the mechanisms underlying diseases that affect these systems. This research is fundamental to driving future progress in the field.

Currently, much of our research is dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the biological origins of specific mental illnesses. Sweden’s population registries, along with our own twin and multigenerational databases, provide invaluable scientific data that shed light on the contributions of genetics and the environment to disease.

One notable success story is our research into Parkinson’s disease. By examining cellular and genetic factors, we have uncovered new insights into its underlying causes. Our stem cell researchers are actively working towards the goal of growing and transplanting new dopamine-producing cells into the brains of Parkinson’s patients.

We are also making strides in understanding schizophrenia, with recent discoveries of risk genes offering promising avenues for understanding the disease's origins and developing new treatments. Additionally, there is a growing focus on mental health, including depression, addiction, and suicide, with intensive efforts being made to develop internet-based therapies.


The brain is our most important organ, and neurological and mental diseases have serious, lasting consequences for those affected.

Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, tumours, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy or infections of the nervous system can cause considerable pain and seriously impair mobility, consciousness or cognition.

Mental illness includes diseases like schizophrenia, psychoses and depression as well as other kinds of disorders and disabilities like autism, ADHD, dependency, eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.