Karlsson Laboratory

By an interdisciplinary approach, our laboratory seeks to improve our understanding of how different environmental factors contribute to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Illustration of Karlsson laboratory research focus
Photo: Håkan Karlsson

Research focus

Despite tremendous progress in our understanding of genetic risk factors for some of the major psychiatric illness, the mechanisms underlying the appearance of diagnostic symptoms remain elusive. This lack of knowledge currently prohibits advances in the prevention and treatment of these disorders. By an interdisciplinary approach, our laboratory seeks to further our understanding of how environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. To this end we have taken an interdisciplinary approach combining epidemiology, genetics, and proteomics to supplement existing register-based data with individual level molecular information. We thus hope to provide a better understanding of how environmental factors act on individual risk genotypes from neonatal life through diagnosis in childhood or early adulthood in a large sample representative of the general population of Sweden.

Using the unique Swedish biobanks and registers we have previously reported risk for serious psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism associated with deficits in key factors of the acute phase response at birth. Register-based studies indicate that exposure to serious infections during childhood also contributes to the development of psychiatric illness later in life. Our current work focuses on understanding the mechanisms explaining variation in immune markers at birth and how such variation potentially modifies the outcomes of infections during early childhood, a critical period of brain development.

Group members

Selected publications

Neonatal Levels of Acute Phase Proteins and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Gardner RM, Lee BK, Brynge M, Sjöqvist H, Dalman C, Karlsson H
Biol Psychiatry 2021 Mar;89(5):463-475

The Familial Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder with and without Intellectual Disability.
Xie S, Karlsson H, Dalman C, Widman L, Rai D, Gardner RM, Magnusson C, Sandin S, Tabb LP, Newschaffer CJ, Lee BK
Autism Res 2020 12;13(12):2242-2250

Systemic inflammation and intelligence in early adulthood and subsequent risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychoses: a longitudinal cohort and co-relative study.
Kappelmann N, Khandaker GM, Dal H, Stochl J, Kosidou K, Jones PB, Dalman C, Karlsson H
Psychol Med 2019 01;49(2):295-302

Association of Childhood Infection With IQ and Adult Nonaffective Psychosis in Swedish Men: A Population-Based Longitudinal Cohort and Co-relative Study.
Khandaker GM, Dalman C, Kappelmann N, Stochl J, Dal H, Kosidou K, Jones PB, Karlsson H
JAMA Psychiatry 2018 04;75(4):356-362

Influence of maternal infections on neonatal acute phase proteins and their interaction in the development of non-affective psychosis.
Blomström Å, Gardner RM, Dalman C, Yolken RH, Karlsson H
Transl Psychiatry 2015 Feb;5():e502

Neonatal levels of acute phase proteins and later risk of non-affective psychosis.
Gardner RM, Dalman C, Wicks S, Lee BK, Karlsson H
Transl Psychiatry 2013 Feb;3():e228


Håkan Karlsson

Principal researcher