Interview with Jan-Bernd Stukenborg, Associate Professor at KBH 2021

Hello and congratulations to your Professorship.

Your colleagues at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health are interested to know a little more about you and you work.

Jan-Bernd Stukenborg

Who are you?

I was born in Germany and started to work in the field of reproductive medicine/biology in 2004. Shortly afterwards, I decided to do my master thesis as well as my PhD thesis, with a focus on male germ cell differentiation, at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine (since 2008; Centre for Reproductive medicine and Andrology (CeRA)), at the University of Münster, Germany. After I received my PhD in 2009, I moved to Sweden and began to work as postdoctoral researcher in group of Professor Olle Söder at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health. After my time as postdoctoral researcher, I continued my work in Olle’s group, obtained my docentship in reproductive biology at Karolinska Institutet in 2016, and started my own group in 2017. Since 2019, I am working as a group leader at the Childhood Cancer Research Unit, at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health.

Can you describe your research?

The overall aim of the current and future research performed in my group is to develop strategies to gain knowledge about male fertility. Those strategies focus on the establishment of novel culture techniques combined with in vivo data employing our biobank material covering human gonadal samples from pre- to postnatal ages and patient registry data. The parallel description of testicular physiology in healthy as well as sub- and/or infertile men combined with advanced experimental models are the crucial first steps needed for developing clinical fertility preservation methodologies in boys and men, who are unable or will be unable to produce sperm, due to a medical treatment or a disease itself.

Towards this goal, three main scientific strategies are currently in focus of our research. These are:

  • To examine effects of medical treatments and potentially gonadotoxic substances used in daily life on long-term fertility in humans and thereby define the gonadotoxic risk for boys and men.
  • To employ novel culture conditions, to define factors important for human spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) maintenance, self-renewal and differentiation, in order to develop strategies to protect SSCs during exposures to gonadotoxic substances/ treatments.
  • To use pluripotent as well as testicular stem cells to establish stem cell-based in vitro techniques, suitable for monitoring specific phases of gonadal development and male germ cell differentiation in humans.

Of what subject is your Professorship and what do you hope to achieve as a Professor at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health?

My subject is reproductive medicine/biology. During the coming years, I hope to establish together with other research groups at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and Karolinska Institutet new networks and projects to lift the topic of male fertility.

Do you have any hidden talents / leisure interests?

Well, my family and group members would say “chocolate and other sugar-containing sweet things (the more colorful and exotic the better)”. I will leave uncommented. In addition to these speculations, I am also a long-distance runner and interested in old books.

Thank you very much for your answers and welcome as an Associate Professor at KBH.