Mats Ulfendahl

Mats Ulfendahl

Affiliated to Research | Docent
Visiting address: Solnavägen 9 - kvarter B8, 17165 Solna
Postal address: C4 Neurovetenskap, C4 Forskning Experimentell Traumatologi, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I started Medical School at KI in 1981, got my PhD (Dept. of Physiology) in
    1989, and was appointed Associate Professor (physiology) in 1991. In 1997 the
    ENT Clinic at the Karolinska Hospital recruited me as Lab Director to build
    up their research laboratory. During 2002-2010 I was also Director of the
    Center for Hearing and Communication Research at KI. Was appointed Professor
    of Experimental Audiology and Otology in 2004. Initiated and was until 2009
    Director of a “FAS Center” running a 10-year research program focusing on
    hearing impairment in working life. During three years (2007-2009) I was
    member of the Scientific Council for Medicine at the Swedish Research Council
    (VR). Was appointed Secretary-General for Medicine and Health at VR 2010 (a
    six-year term ending in 2015). Was among many other assignments responsible
    for a trans-European cooperation structure for research and policy issues
    related to antibiotic resistance, the Joint Programming Initiative on
    Antimicrobial Resistance (chair 2010-2016). Been a member of the National
    Priority Board for Highly Specialized Health Care (Rikssjukvårdsnämnden),
    the Board of the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and
    Assessment of Social Services (SBU), the Decision-Making Board for the
    National Quality Registers, the National Steering group for the ALF Agreement
    etc. Around the time I was appointed Secretary-General I moved my research
    group back to the KI Campus and joined the Department of Neuroscience. During
    2016-2017 I chaired an international expert panel appointed by the European
    Commission to evaluate the European &
  • Developing Countries Clinical Trials
    Partnership (EDCTP). Member of international expert panels evaluating the
    Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR
  • 2016-2017), and the Human
    Frontier Science Program (HFSP
  • ongoing). In 2016 I was elected chairman of
    the board of the Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF), and chairman of
    the Delegation for research of the Swedish Society for Medicine (Svenska
    Läkaresällskapet). In 2017, I was appointed chairman of the board of
    Forskningsinstitutet Hörselbron AB, a non-profit organisation that among
    other things has established a unique national quality register for hearing
    aids. Co-author of a Swedish textbook in physiology (the 6th edition
    published in 2017).
    The Swedish Dental Society's Honorary Award 2016
  • Honorary Doctor (Dr h.c.)
    of Odontology, Malmö University College 2016
  • The Petrus and Augusta Hedlund
    40-year anniversary award (4 MSEK) 2001
  • Guest Professor, Anhui Medical
    School (Hefei, Kina) 2000.


  • My research is focused on the auditory system, and especially the function of
    the hearing organ and how it is affected by trauma. My PhD thesis was about
    the inner ear sensory cells and the structural and functional basis for their
    motile properties. During my PhD work I initiated a long-term and very
    fruitful collaboration with a research group a Columbia University (New York)
    investigating the motion pattern of the intact hearing organ (was Associate
    Research Scientist at Columbia Univ. 1989-90). We established an in vitro
    model of the guinea pig inner ear and made unique measurements of extremely
    small sound-evoked vibration using laser interferometry (a method we some
    years later set up at the ENT Research Laboratory at the Karolinska
    Hospital). We could demonstrate that the inner ear sensory cells (the outer
    hair cells) have a key role in the motion pattern of the hearing organ and
    thus for the sensitivity of the peripheral auditory system. My group also
    studied mechanical properties at the cellular level using isolated sensory
    cells, e.g. using atomic force microscopy. We have, for example, shown that
    the mechanical characteristics of the sensory cells are affected by acoustic
    overstimulation, a finding that may explain the temporary hearing impairment
    caused by noise exposure. We also used confocal microscopy and advanced image
    analysis tools to directly visualise the hearing organ and how it is affected
    by sound. Among other things, we published the first confocal microscopy
    images of the inner ear in the living quinea-pig. After moving to the
    Karolinska Hospital the focus of my research gradually changed to the
    mechanisms underlying hearing disorder and how to treat hearing impairment.
    We have primarily worked with an animal model, in which we can directly
    (using sound- or electrically evoked auditory brainstem responses) monitor
    how the auditory function is affected by different intervention strategies.
    Several studies (e.g. two recently completed EU projects) have investigated
    structural and functional effects of neurotrophic factors but we have also
    explored antioxidants, cell therapy approaches, and entirely novel


All other publications


  • Affiliated to Research, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 2024-2024

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 1991

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