Mikael Rydén & Niklas Mejhert group - Translational studies of white adipose tissue

The Mikael Rydén & Niklas Mejhert group studies multiple features of the human white adipocyte, in particular lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, energy storage capacity and immunometabolism, and has a long-standing track record with publications in top ranked journals.

Mikael Rydén and Niklas Mejhert co-lead a group studying multiple features of white adipocytes, including lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, energy storage capacity and immunometabolism. Most projects conducted within our laboratory are translational where studies of unique cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical cohorts are combined with mechanistic experiments performed in cells and animals.

Group leaders and Administration

Niklas Mejhert

Ph.D. (Co-PI)

Niklas returned to KI in 2019 on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global fellowship after spending five years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. Shortly after his return he started a joint group with Mikael Rydén, where they share the leadership of the lab.

Mikael Rydén

M.D., Ph.D. (co-PI)
08-585 827 75

Mikael is a senior consultant in endocrinology and Professor of adipose tissue research. He has spent the last 25 years of his career focusing on studies of white adipose tissue. He is the co-leader of the group together with Niklas Mejhert. 

Lena Lindberg

08-585 826 26

Lena is our administrative anchor and has been working in the group for over three decades. She is the go-to person for everything spanning from orders to travels as well as all other small and big administrative tasks we need help with on a daily basis.

Group members

Daniel P. Andersson

M.D., Ph.D. (clinical researcher)

Daniel is an M.D. who gained his Ph.D. in 2014 and is now a senior consultant in endocrinology working with different clinical interventions. He has experience from multiple academic and industry-sponsored studies focusing on metabolism and diabetes.

Jesper Bäckdahl

M.D. (Ph.D. student)

Jesper Bäckdahl has an M.D. and is currently pursuing his residency in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the Karolinska University Hospital. He is a registered PhD student with Mikael Rydén as his main supervisor and his project revolves around the link between dysfunctional adipose tissue and cardiovascular disease.

Thais De Castro Barbosa

Ph.D. (Senior research technician)
08-524 834 67


Thais received her Ph.D. at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and thereafter moved to Stockholm for her postdoctoral studies where she focused on the effects of paternal transgenerational inheritance of metabolic diseases. She joined the Rydén & Mejhert lab in 2018 as a senior research technician working primarily with the development of novel techniques, including the optimization of 3D adipocyte spheroid cultures.

Morgane Couchet

Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Morgane obtained her Ph.D. degree at the University of Grenoble-Alpes where she investigated the role of the intestinal OCT enzyme in metabolism using in vitro and in vivo models. At the Rydén & Mejhert lab, Morgane is developing adipocyte 3D cell culture models to enable studies of unilocular lipid droplets in vitro.

Daniel Eriksson-Hogling

M.D., Ph.D. (Clinical researcher)

Daniel is an M.D. finalizing his residency in endocrinology. He gained his Ph.D. in 2019 and his post-doctoral studies focus on the long-term effects of bariatric surgery.

Scott Frendo-Cumbo

Postdoctoral researcher

Scott obtained his Ph.D .at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Prof. Amira Klip where he studied insulin signalling in different cell models. In 2021, he was recruited to the Rydén & Mejhert lab to study insulin resistance mechanisms in human white adipose tissue in vivo.

Hui Gao

Ph.D., M.D. (senior researcher)

Hui’s primary research focus is to define transcription regulatory networks operating in adipocytes and to understand how they control cell function. For this, he integrates large-scale perturbation screens with -omics approaches.

Katarina Hertel

Research nurse
08-517 762 67

Katarina is a very experienced research nurse who is the key person in all clinical studies. She performs most methods in metabolic in vivo research including clamps, indirect calorimetry, tissue biopsies and different types of metabolic challenges.

Jutta Jalkanen

M.Sc. (Research technician)

Jutta obtained her M.Sc. in Drug Discovery and Development at the University of Turku. Her master’s thesis was about developing cardiac spheroids for a microphysiological multiorgan system for studying cardio-metabolic disorders.

Alison Ludzki

Ph.D. (Postdoctoral researcher)

Alison completed her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, studying the effects of exercise on adipose tissue remodeling. Alison has a background in applied human metabolism and her current project is to identify transcriptional determinants of adipocyte lipid storage capacity.

Lucas Massier

Ph.D. (Postdoctoral researcher)

Lucas received his Ph.D. at the University of Leipzig, Germany, trying to find evidence for the presence and role of bacteria in adipose tissue and their impact on insulin resistance. At Mejhert & Rydén lab, Lucas focuses on developing novel gene-editing methods in (pre)adipocytes to identify determinants of adipocyte heterogeneity and lipid droplet function.

Salwan Maqdasy

Postdoc, M.D.

Prior to joining the Lipid laboratory, Salwan Maqdasy worked as an M.D. in the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital and obtained his PhD from University Clermont Auvergne. Salwan became a member of the Lipid laboratory in 2019 and his project is to identify mechanisms by which adipocyte metabolic anomalies in obese patients drive inflammation and insulin resistance.

Na Wang

Ph.D., M.D. (research technician)

As a PhD student and postdoc at Karolinska Institutet, Na studied the genetic background of endocrine-related tumors. At the Rydén & Mejhert since 2020, she is primarily working with human biopsies as well as technology developments

Open positions

We are always interested in recruiting talented and curious researchers. All positions at Karolinska Institutet are advertised in open competition. If you want to know more about open positions within the research group, please contact mikael.ryden@ki.se or niklas.mejhert@ki.se


  1. Human white adipose tissue displays selective insulin resistance in the obese state
    Mileti E, Kwok KH, Andersson DP, Mathelier A, Raman A, Bäckdahl J, Jalkanen J, Massier L, Thorell A, Gao H, Arner P, Mejhert N, Daub CO, Rydén M. Diabetes. 2021 Apr 16:db210001. doi: 10.2337/db21-0001. 
  2. Age-Induced Reduction in Human Lipolysis: A Potential Role for Adipocyte Noradrenaline Degradation
    Gao H, Arner P, Beauchef G, Guéré C, Vie K, Dahlman I, Mejhert N, Rydén M. Cell Metab. 2020 Jul 7;32(1):1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.007. Epub 2020 Jun 25.Images/pictures 
  3. Partitioning of MLX-Family Transcription Factors to Lipid Droplets Regulates Metabolic Gene Expression
    Mejhert N, Kuruvilla L, Gabriel KR, Elliott SD, Guie MA, Wang H, Lai ZW, Lane EA, Christiano R, Danial NN, Farese RV Jr, Walther TC. Mol Cell. 2020 Mar 19;77(6):1251-1264.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.01.014.
  4. Glutamine Links Obesity to Inflammation in Human White Adipose Tissue
    Petrus P, Lecoutre S, Dollet L, Wiel C, Sulen A, Gao H, Tavira B, Laurencikiene J, Rooyackers O, Checa A, Douagi I, Wheelock CE, Arner P, McCarthy M, Bergo MO, Edgar L, Choudhury RP, Aouadi M, Krook A, Rydén M. Cell Metab. 2020 Feb 4;31(2):375-390.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.019.
  5. Weight Gain and Impaired Glucose Metabolism in Women Are Predicted by Inefficient Subcutaneous Fat Cell Lipolysis
    Arner P, Andersson DP, Bäckdahl J, Dahlman I, Rydén M. Cell Metab. 2018 Jul 3;28(1):45-54.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.05.004.