Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Anders Berkenstam Ph.D.

Anders Berkenstam, Ph.D.

Anders Berkenstam, Ph.D.

Anders Berkenstam, Ph.D.

Associate Member 
Genomic Medicine
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

Associate Professor
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

E-mail: alberkenstam@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-1798


B.S.   Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Ph.D.   Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Gene Expression Program, European Molecular Labs (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany



In the late 1980s Dr. Berkenstam received his Ph.D. from the Karolinska Institute for his work in hormone biology. His work has also had a great impact on the biomedical field of hormone action mediated by nuclear receptors. In the human genome, this class of receptors consists of approximately 50 structurally similar receptors that are key to human development, physiology and disease.

In 1989, Dr. Berkenstam worked at EMBL in Heidelberg, where he published several pivotal and internationally recognized studies in Cell and Nature concerning the effects of a vitamin A related compound on nuclear receptor function. He transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry, continuing to study nuclear receptors, but focusing on translation of his findings for clinical applications.

Dr. Berkenstam was the first to clone a nuclear receptor that is critical for the regulation of metabolism and a key factor in the pharmaceutical industry. He realized the importance of this finding in drug discovery and applied it to screening for novel clinical development candidate compounds. In a clinical trials, he showed for the first time that it is possible to develop compounds that mimic the ability of thyroid hormones to lower cholesterol levels without eliciting serious side effects.

As an associate member of the Genomic Medicine research program at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Berkenstam focuses on translational medical research and directs several multidisciplinary projects on neurodegenerative disorders. 

Description of Research

Dr. Berkenstam’s research programs include:

  • Clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Development of new compositions of treatment formulations
  • Screening of estrogen receptors for novel compounds with clinical applications
  • Development of second generation insulin sensitizers

Major Areas of Research

Translational research, high throughput compound screening

Recent Publications

Berkenstam A, Kristensen J, Mellström K, Carlsson B, Malm J, Rehnmark S, Garg N, Andersson CM, Rudling M, Sjöberg F, Angelin B, Baxter JD. The thyroid hormone mimetic compound KB2115 lowers plasma LDL cholesterol and stimulates bile acid synthesis without cardiac effects in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008, 105:663-7. PMID: 18160532

Makino Y, Cao R, Svensson K, Bertilsson G, Asman M, Tanaka H, Cao Y, Berkenstam A, Poellinger L. Inhibitory PAS domain protein is a negative regulator of hypoxia-inducible gene expression. Nature 2001; 414:550-4. PMID: 11734856

Uppenberg J, Svensson C, Jaki M, Bertilsson G, Jendeberg L, Berkenstam A. Crystal structure of the ligand binding domain of the human nuclear receptor PPARgamma. J Biol Chem 1998;273:31108-12. PMID: 9813012

Bertilsson G, Heidrich J, Svensson K, Asman M, Jendeberg L, Sydow-Bäckman M, Ohlsson R, Postlind H, Blomquist P, Berkenstam A. Identification of a human nuclear receptor defines a new signaling pathway for CYP3A induction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U SA 1998;95:12208-13. PMID: 9770465

Keaveney M, Berkenstam A, Feigenbutz M, Vriend G, Stunnenberg HG. Residues in the TATA-binding protein required to mediate a transcriptional response to retinoic acid in EC cells. Nature 1993;365:562-6. PMID: 8413615

Berkenstam A, Ruiz MM, Barettino D, Horikoshi M, Stunnenberg HG. Cooperativity in transactivation between retinoic acid receptor and TFIID requires an activity analogous to E1A. Cell 1992; 69:401-12. PMID: 1316240