We have designed a collaborative research project between key research groups and clinical partners that will allow a unique Swedish concerted action for psychotic disorders, building an integrated platform for research that will last for many years. KaSP is also part of several international research collaborations and is committed to promote open science.

Clinical Platform

The clinical data collection is coordinated by Centre for Psychiatry Research, an organisation joining psychiatric healthcare and researchers.

Patients with first-episode psychosis are currently recruited from four different clinics in Stockholm (Psykiatri Nordväst , Norra Stockholms Psykiatri, Södra Stockholms Psykiatri and Praktikertjänst).

illustration: a man surrounded by forms
Overview of the collection of data. Clinical and biological data is collected at multiple time-points and linked to experimental models through generation of induced pluripotent stem cells and derived brain models. Created with Photo: N/A

Most patients are naïve to antipsychotic drugs at the time of investigation, made possible by a close interaction between clinical staff and researchers. The first patient was recruited in 2015 and we are currently also performing follow-up investigations after 1.5 and 5 years. In parallel, matched healthy volunteers are continuously enrolled in the program.

All included individuals undergo a lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection, blood sampling, multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), genetic analysis and extensive clinical characterization including an assessment of cognitive functions. 

Within the project, we prioritize observational studies that take advantage of the unique multi-modal dataset to perform integrated analyses capturing different aspects of brain functioning in the disease states. The collection of longitudinal data then allows for studies aiming to identify biomarkers of biological trajectories that are anchored in defined clinical outcomes. 

Experimental Platform

Relevant disease models are key for identifying causal biological mechanisms that can be targeted with pharmacological treatments in schizophrenia. In Karolinska Schizophrenia Project, we use patient-derived human models in which our experimental findings can directly be translated back to the patient. The platform is built on a collection of small skin biopsies (as part of the clinical platform), and fibroblasts from these biopsies are reprogrammed to so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can be used to generate living 2D and 3D models of the developing brain. 

Our work includes model development (basic science), modeling of genetic and environmental risk variants for schizophrenia, and ex vivo drug testing. To cover aspects that are lost in the dish, we also use animal models, and combine human and animal models by transplanting patient-derived brain organoids into rodents. To ensure relevance for the living human brain, we also strive to validate our experimental findings directly in the contributing patients. For this, we utilize the comprehensive collection of brain imaging data and CSF.   

Including patients

Patients who experience their first psychotic episode are recruited from the major psychiatric clinics in Stockholm, Sweden. If you are a clinician working at one of these clinics, we appreciate if you ask your patient if they would like to have more information about the study. If the patient agrees, contact one of our research nurses that will ask you a few questions to make sure that the patient is a candidate for the study. The research nurse will then contact the patient and leave more information about the study. If the patient agrees to participate, all investigations including the clinical characterizations will be performed by personnel working within the project. The battery of investigations also to a large degree cover the recommended Swedish care program for patients with a first-episode psychosis.

Call or send text message to 072-522 39 07 (Lena Lundberg). 


The principal investigator is Carl Sellgren  and the project is coordinated by a steering committee that consists of Carl Sellgren (Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, KI), Sophie Erhardt (Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, KI), and Simon Cervenka (Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, KI, and Dept. of Medical Sciences, Uppsala Universitet). The research is performed in close collaboration with SLSO psykiatri and is coordinated by Centre for Psychiatry Research. The infrastructure is built to encourage cross-disciplinary and collaborative research, and the project also involves a large number of international and national collaborators.