Unnur Valdimarsdottir

Unnur Valdimarsdottir

Principal Researcher
Visiting address: Nobels väg 13, 17177 Solna
Postal address: C6 Institutet för miljömedicin, C6 Integrativ epidemiologi Fang, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • In addition to serving as guest professor at the Department of Medical
    Epidemiology and Biostatistics, [1] Karolinska Institutet, I am a professor
    of epidemiology and vice dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of
    Iceland [2]. My research lies on the boundaries of psychiatric and cancer
    epidemiology with the main emphasis on understanding how psychological stress
    influences major disease onset and development.
    * Early Scientific Achievement Award (Hvatningarverðlaunin) – The Science
    and Technology Policy Council, Prime Ministry of Iceland (2010)
    * David and Astrid Hageléns Foundation´s Science Award, Karolinska
    Institutet (2005)
    * BA Psychology, University of Iceland (1996)
    * PhD Clinical Cancer Epidemiology, Department of Oncology-Pathology,
    Karolinska Institutet (2003)
    * Post Doc, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska
    Institutet (2004-2006)
    * Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Univerisity of Iceland (2007)
    [1] https://ki.se/en/meb
    [2] http://english.hi.is/


  • The overarching aim of my research program is to understand how various
    indices of psychological stress affect health and disease development during
    the life course. Another important aim of my research is to understand the
    genetics of favorable vs. adverse health outcomes in populations exposed to
    severe life stressors. I lead a graduate program in public health sciences at
    the University of Iceland, and a research group of several doctoral students,
    postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. In collaboration with an extended
    network of researchers from Sweden (e.g. Drs. Fang Fang [1] and Katja Fall
    [2]) and the US, we utilize the nationwide registries together with
    prospective cohorts with biomarker collections to address these hypotheses.
    Currently, my main research projects are the following:
    * Population-based registry studies in the Nordic countries of the impact of
    psychological stressors on disease development and progression (mostly
    based in Sweden).
    * The Genetics of survival and morbidity following exposure to extreme
    stressors (based at deCODE Genetics, Iceland)
    * The genetics of posttraumatic stress disorder in Swedish tsunami
    * The stress-response to a cancer diagnosis and disease progression (e.g.
    LUNG cancer project based in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • PROCESS based in Örebro,
    * The Stress-And-Gene-Analysis (SAGA) Cohort – a longitudinal study on the
    combined impact of modern lifestyle, psychological stress and inheritance
    on major disease risk (based in Reykjavik, Iceland).
    [1] http://ki.se/en/people/fanfan
    [2] http://ki.se/en/people/katjfa


All other publications


  • Principal Researcher, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-
  • Principal Researcher, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, 2023-2024

Degrees and Education

  • Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, 2003

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