Hanna Björck

Hanna Björck

Senior Research Specialist | Docent
Visiting address: BioClinicum, Plan 8,Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K2 Medicin, Solna, K2 Kardiov m Olofsson P Björck H, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I’m a senior research specialist and team leader within the Division of
    Cardiovascular Medicine, Dept of Medicine, Solna. I’m involved in several
    research projects at Karolinska Institutet and the Karolinska University
    Hospital with the overarching aim of understanding the underlying
    pathological and molecular mechanism of aneurysmal disease. I did my Ph.D.
    with Professor Toste Länne at the Department of Medical and Health Sciences
    at Linköping University where I focused on vessel wall integrity in relation
    to flow-disturbances and genetics. I have continued along this path and
    today, I'm specifically interest in mechanisms underlying endothelial
    integrity and flow-dependent vascular effects in the pathology of ascending
    aortic aneurysm.
    Postdoctoral Fellow. Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Department of Medicine
    Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. March 2012 – 2016.
    Ph.D. in Physiology, January 2012. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine,
    Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping,
    M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, 2006, Uppsala University


  • The long-term interest of my team is to investigate the pathological and
    molecular mechanism underlying aneurysmal disease. Specifically, we focus on
    ascending aortic aneurysms (AscAA), both degenerative forms and aneurysm
    occurring in association with bicuspid aortic valve disease, with specific
    interest in endothelial integrity and flow-dependent vascular effects. Our
    studies are translational and includes epidemiological studies on a large and
    unique patient cohort, combined with molecular /in vitro/ using modern
    Ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA) is a silent disease and a potentially fatal
    condition if aortic wall rupture or dissection occurs. AscAA entails
    destructive changes of the medial layer of the aortic wall but the precise
    pathogenic mechanism behind its development is unclear. The most significant
    risk factor for AscAA formation, however, is being born with a bicuspid
    aortic valve (BAV), with as many as 50% of all BAV patients requiring
    ascending aortic surgical repair at some point during their lifetime. BAV is
    the most common congenital heart malformation with a prevalence of 0.5-1.5%.
    A unique clinical cohort is the basis for our research, which aims to clarify
    the disease mechanisms underlying aortic aneurysm formation. Our biobank
    includes >
  • 2100 patients undergoing valve replacement and/or repair of the
    ascending aorta, and today, our cohort is one of the largest and most
    comprehensive in the world. The biobank consists of DNA, plasma, serum, and
    tissue biopsies from all patients. Uniquely, we have collected biopsies from
    multiple tissues from the same individual of the first 600 patients
    (ascending aorta, internal thoracic artery, heart, and liver). Also, smooth
    muscle cells and endothelial cells from patient ascending aortas have been
    isolated for functional in vitro studies. We integrate multiomic analysis,
    epidemiology, and genetics to identify candidategenes and pathways.
    Functional evaluations are performed using cell culture and in vitro


  • Course director, "Molecular Medicine - Cardiometabolic and Infectious
    Diseases” (1BI048),
    Lecturer on undergraduate and PhD courses at the Department of Medicine,
    Main supervisor for of Ph.D. students.


All other publications



  • Senior Research Specialist, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2021-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2022

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