The Physical Activity and Health Research Group

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The overarching aim of our research is to increase our understanding of how physical activity can improve human health, focusing on the underlying mechanisms. 

We investigate

-which stimuli there are and which signalling pathways are activated during physical activity

-the interplay between signalling pathways, between cells and between organs

 -how physical activity affects hard endpoints such as capillarisation, muscle mass, fat mass, oxygen transport and physical working capacity

-the impact of aspects such as gender, age, genetics, nutrition, type and dose of physical activity and disease on the effect of physical activity.  

This research covers the subject from the perspective of the entire body down to the molecular level and also incorporates elements of epidemiology. The research is conducted in close cooperation with the Integrative Clinical Physiology Research Group in the same department and with the Department of Clinical Physiology at Karolinska University Hospital.

Research group leader Eva Jansson

Professor, senior

Eva Jansson

Organizational unit: Division of clinical physiology

Group members

Seher AlamResearch assistant on study grant
Mona EsbjörnssonSenior researcher
Helene FischerSenior researcher
Eva JanssonProfessor, senior
Mats LiljaProject coordinator
Andreas MonteliusLecturer
Barbara NormanSenior researcher
Håkan RundqvistResearch assistant
Anna StrömbergPhD student
Maria WesterståhlSenior lecturer

Research techniques

  • Invasive and non-invasive methods for studying organ function in humans, e.g.: Exercise physiology tests, e.g. aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and strength, Biopsy techniques for skeletal muscle, fat, or myocardial tissue, Ergospirometry, Catheterisation techniques for studying organ function, Cardiovascular function, e.g. ultrasound-based techniques
  • Methods for studying tissues and cells, e.g.: Biochemical and molecular biological techniques, Cell culture techniques, Histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques
  • Bioinformatics
  • Measurements of physical activity: Accelerometer, Questionnaire, Diary
  • Dietary assessment
  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Food diary
  • Body composition: Skinfold measurement

External funding

The Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, the Magnus Bergvall Foundation, the Fredrik and Ingrid Thuring Foundation and the Swedish Society of Medicine 

Teaching assignments

We offer undergraduate courses in anatomy, physiology, clinical physiology, scientific method, statistics, physical activity and diet. We provide teaching in the following programmes: biomedical laboratory science (with major in physiology and laboratory medicine), medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, as well as engineering at KTH. We also offer freestanding courses and PhD courses, as well as one of KI's first MOOC (massive open online course). We also supervise bachelor's and master's and PhD’s projects.

Selected publications

Nutrient ingestion increased mTOR signaling, but not hVps34 activity in human skeletal muscle after sprint exercise.
Rundqvist H, Lilja M, Rooyackers O, Odrzywol K, Murray J, Esbjörnsson M, et al
Physiol Rep 2013 Oct;1(5):e00076

Obese children without comorbidities have impaired microvascular endothelial function.
Hedvall Kallerman P, Hagman E, Edstedt Bonamy A, Zemack H, Marcus C, Norman M, et al
Acta Paediatr. 2014 Apr;103(4):411-7

Nocturnal blood pressure non-dipping is prevalent in severely obese, prepubertal and early pubertal children.
Westerståhl M, Hedvall Kallerman P, Hagman E, Ek A, Rössner S, Marcus C
Acta Paediatr. 2014 Feb;103(2):225-30

Sprint exercise enhances skeletal muscle p70S6k phosphorylation and more so in women than in men.
Esbjörnsson M, Rundqvist H, Mascher H, Österlund T, Rooyackers O, Blomstrand E, et al
Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2012 Jul;205(3):411-22

Reduction in plasma leucine after sprint exercise is greater in males than in females.
Esbjörnsson M, Rooyackers O, Norman B, Rundqvist H, Nowak J, Bülow J, et al
Scand J Med Sci Sports 2012 Jun;22(3):399-409