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About me

I am a molecular biologist leading the reserach team "Epigenetic Toxicology" at the academic research center Swetox. I am also part of Prof. Tomas Ekström's group at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) . 


  • Diploma in Biochemistry, University of Zürich (1994-1999)
  • MSc in Neuroscience, University of Edinburhg (1999-2000)
  • PhD, Ludwig Maximilian University München, (2000-2004)

Research description

I am interested in the question if and how early life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affects susceptibility to later life diseases such as obesity or neurodevelopmental diseases like ADHD. To understand this connection between early life exposures and later life diseases, I am focusing on epigenetic effects of EDCs. 

My research addresses

  • Molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic effects of EDCs
  • Links between exposure-induced epigenetic changes to adverse health outcomes in humans, and
  • Development of novel methods to test chemicals for their potential to induce epigenetic changes.

My research is embedded into larger national and international collaborative projects, including the Swedish EDC-2020 project funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas and the Horizon 2020 research and innovation action EDC-MixRisk, for which I am deputy coordinator.

More details about my research and current projects can be found on the Swetox homepage:

Teaching portfolio

  • Supervisor of Master and PhD students
  • Course organiser for and teacher in a practical course on Epigenetic Methods for PhD students at KI
  • Lecturer at different levels on the topics of epigenetics and EDCs at KI, Uppsala University, Karlstad University
  • Tutor for Problem-based learning in Toxicology at KI



Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Drinking on the Dopamine D2 Receptor: Gene Expression and Heteroreceptor Complexes in the Striatum in Rats
Feltmann K, Borroto-escuela Do, Rüegg J, Pinton L, De Oliveira Sergio T, Narváez M, et al
Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research 2018;42(2):338-351

Lysosomotropic cationic amphiphilic drugs inhibit adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1K cells via accumulation in cells and phospholipid membranes, and inhibition of autophagy
Kagebeck P, Nikiforova V, Brunken L, Easwaranathan A, Ruegg J, Cotgreave I, et al
European journal of pharmacology 2018;829():44-53

Methylmercury interferes with glucocorticoid receptor: Potential role in the mediation of developmental neurotoxicity
Spulber S, Raciti M, Dulko-smith B, Lupu D, Rüegg J, Nam K, et al
Toxicology and applied pharmacology 2018;():-

Understanding Epigenetic Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Mechanisms to Novel Test Methods
Alavian-ghavanini A, Rüegg J
Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology 2018;122(1):38-45

Fluoxetine modulates sex steroid levels in vitro
Lupu D, Sjödin Mod, Varshney M, Lindberg J, Loghin F, Rüegg J
Clujul medical (1957) 2017;90(4):420-424

Marked for Life: Epigenetic Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Jacobs Mn, Marczylo El, Guerrero-bosagna C, Ruegg J

Role of estrogen receptor beta in neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells
Varshney Mk, Inzunza J, Lupu D, Ganapathy V, Antonson P, Rüegg J, et al
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017;114(48):E10428-E10437

The biosocial genome? Interdisciplinary perspectives on environmental epigenetics, health and society
Müller R, Hanson C, Hanson M, Penkler M, Samaras G, Chiapperino L, et al
EMBO reports 2017;18(10):1677-1682

Alterations in the neuropeptide galanin system in major depressive disorder involve levels of transcripts, methylation, and peptide
Barde S, Ruegg J, Prud'homme J, Ekstrom Tj, Palkovits M, Turecki G, et al

From pure compounds to complex exposure: Effects of dietary cadmium and lignans on estrogen, epidermal growth factor receptor, and mitogen activated protein kinase signaling in vivo
Ali I, Hurmerinta T, Nurmi T, Berglund M, Rüegg J, Poutanen M, et al
Toxicology letters 2016;253():27-35

Oestrogen receptor β regulates epigenetic patterns at specific genomic loci through interaction with thymine DNA glycosylase
Liu Y, Duong W, Krawczyk C, Bretschneider N, Borbély G, Varshney M, et al
Epigenetics & chromatin 2016;9():7-

Chaperoning epigenetics: FKBP51 decreases the activity of DNMT1 and mediates epigenetic effects of the antidepressant paroxetine
Gassen Nc, Fries Gr, Zannas As, Hartmann J, Zschocke J, Hafner K, et al
Science signaling 2015;8(404):ra119-

Developmental exposure to bisphenol A alters expression and DNA methylation of Fkbp5, an important regulator of the stress response
Kitraki E, Nalvarte I, Alavian-ghavanini A, Rüegg J
Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2015;417():191-9

The expression and activity of thioredoxin reductase 1 splice variants v1 and v2 regulate the expression of genes associated with differentiation and adhesion
Nalvarte I, Damdimopoulos Ae, Rüegg J, Spyrou G
Bioscience reports 2015;35(6):-

Genetic markers associated with abstinence length in alcohol-dependent subjects treated with acamprosate
Karpyak Vm, Biernacka Jm, Geske Jr, Jenkins Gd, Cunningham Jm, Rüegg J, et al
Translational psychiatry 2014;4():e462-

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction and illness progression in bipolar disorder
Fries Gr, Vasconcelos-moreno Mp, Gubert C, Dos Santos Bt, Sartori J, Eisele B, et al
The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology 2014;18(1):-

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and 3-methylcholanthrene regulate distinct genetic networks
Swedenborg E, Kotka M, Seifert M, Kanno J, Pongratz I, Rüegg J
Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2012;362(1-2):39-47

The rs3743205 SNP is important for the regulation of the dyslexia candidate gene DYX1C1 by estrogen receptor β and DNA methylation
Tammimies K, Tapia-páez I, Rüegg J, Rosin G, Kere J, Gustafsson JÅ, et al
Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.) 2012;26(4):619-29

Epigenetic regulation of glucose transporter 4 by estrogen receptor β
Rüegg J, Cai W, Karimi M, Kiss Nb, Swedenborg E, Larsson C, et al
Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.) 2011;25(12):2017-28

Endocrine disruptive chemicals: mechanisms of action and involvement in metabolic disorders
Swedenborg E, Ruegg J, Makela S, Pongratz I

Receptors mediating toxicity and their involvement in endocrine disruption
Rüegg J, Penttinen-damdimopoulou P, Mäkelä S, Pongratz I, Gustafsson Ja
EXS 2009;99():289-323

Regulation of estrogen receptor beta activity and implications in health and disease
Swedenborg E, Power Ka, Cai W, Pongratz I, Ruegg J

The endogenous retinoid metabolite S-4-oxo-9-cis-13,14-dihydro-retinoic acid activates retinoic acid receptor signalling both in vitro and in vivo
Schuchardt Jp, Wahlstrom D, Ruegg J, Giese N, Stefan M, Hopf H, et al
FEBS JOURNAL 2009;276(11):3043-59

XAP2 inhibits glucocorticoid receptor activity in mammalian cells
Laenger A, Lang-rollin I, Kozany C, Zschocke J, Zimmermann N, Ruegg J, et al
FEBS LETTERS 2009;583(9):1493-8

3-methylcholanthrene displays dual effects on estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and ER beta signaling in a cell-type specific fashion
Swedenborg E, Ruegg J, Hillenweck A, Rehnmark S, Faulds Mh, Zalko D, et al

The transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator functions as an estrogen receptor beta-selective coactivator, and its recruitment to alternative pathways mediates antiestrogenic effects of dioxin
Ruegg J, Swedenborg E, Wahlstrom D, Escande A, Balaguer P, Pettersson K, et al

FK506-binding proteins 51 and 52 differentially regulate dynein interaction and nuclear translocation of the glucocorticoid receptor in mammalian cells
Wochnik Gm, Ruegg J, Abel Ga, Schmidt U, Holsboer F, Rein T

Cofilin 1 is revealed as an inhibitor of glucocorticoid receptor by analysis of hormone-resistant cells
Ruegg J, Holsboer F, Turck C, Rein T

Activity of the GR in G2 and mitosis
Abel Ga, Wochnik Gm, Ruegg J, Rouyer A, Holsboer F, Rein T

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I am a molecular biologist leading the reserach team "Epigenetic Toxicology" at the academic research center Swetox. I am also part of Prof. Tomas Ekström's group at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) . 

More information on the English version.