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Jan-Ake Gustafsson, MD, PhD

Full Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


After completing his MD degree, Dr. Gustafsson was appointed Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Karolinska Institute in 1971, and was made full professor in 1976. In 1979, he was named Professor of Medical Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Medical Nutrition at Huddinge University Hospital at the Karolinska Institute. In 1987, together with Dr. John Baxter, founded Karo Bio, a campus-situated biotechnology company with approximately 80 employees, to develop and commercialize products to treat human diseases such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and breast cancer. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has published more than 1,300 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has trained over 200 Ph.D. students, post doctoral fellows, and visiting scientists. He was appointed Director of The Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling at the University of Houston, with a joint appointment at Houston Methodist Research Institute, in 2009.

Description of Research

Nuclear receptors are proteins embedded in the cell nucleus that bind hormones and influence gene expression. Dr. Gustafsson and his research team discovered a novel nuclear receptor (estrogen receptor beta, ER-ß) that plays a role in several human diseases including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. The goal of his research is to develop small molecule modulators of this and other hormone receptors to treat human disease.

Areas Of Expertise

Nuclear receptors Estrogen receptors Breast cancer
Education & Training

, Division of Clinical Chemistry, Department of Laboratory Medicine Karolinska Institutet

The role of membrane ERa signaling in bone and other major estrogen responsive tissues
Gustafsson, KL, Farman, H, Henning, P, Lionikaite, V, Moverare-Skrtic, S, Wu, J, Ryberg, H, Koskela, A, Gustafsson, J, Tuukkanen, J, Levin, ER, Ohlsson, C & Lagerquist, MK 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 29473. DOI:

Ablation of Liver X receptors a and ß leads to spontaneous peripheral squamous cell lung cancer in mice
Dai, YB, Miao, YF, Wu, WF, Li, Y, DErrico, F, Su, W, Burns, AR, Huang, B, Maneix, L, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 27, pp. 7614-7619. DOI:

Selective Estrogen Receptor ß Agonist LY500307 as a Novel Therapeutic Agent for Glioblastoma
Sareddy, GR, Li, X, Liu, J, Viswanadhapalli, S, Garcia, L, Gruslova, A, Cavazos, D, Garcia, M, Strom, AM, Gustafsson, JA, Tekmal, RR, Brenner, A & Vadlamudi, RK 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 24185. DOI:

Cyclodextrin promotes atherosclerosis regression via macrophage reprogramming
Zimmer, S, Grebe, A, Bakke, SS, Bode, N, Halvorsen, B, Ulas, T, Skjelland, M, De Nardo, D, Labzin, LI, Kerksiek, A, Hempel, C, Heneka, MT, Hawxhurst, V, Fitzgerald, ML, Trebicka, J, Björkhem, I, Gustafsson, JÅ, Westerterp, M, Tall, AR, Wright, SD, Espevik, T, Schultze, JL, Nickenig, G, Lütjohann, D & Latz, E 2016, Science Translational Medicine, vol 8, no. 333, ra50. DOI:

Soluble (pro)renin receptor via ß-catenin enhances urine concentration capability as a target of liver X receptor
Lu, X, Wang, F, Xu, C, Soodvilai, S, Peng, K, Su, J, Zhao, L, Yang, KT, Feng, Y, Zhou, SF, Gustafsson, JÅ & Yang, T 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 13, pp. E1898-E1906. DOI:

ERß decreases the invasiveness of triple-negative breast cancer cells by regulating mutant p53 oncogenic function
Bado, I, Nikolos, F, Rajapaksa, G, Gustafsson, JÅ & Thomas, C 2016, Oncotarget, vol 7, no. 12, pp. 13599-13611. DOI:

Estrogen receptor ß controls MMP-19 expression in mouse ovaries during ovulation
Nalvarte, I, Töhönen, V, Lindeberg, M, Varshney, M, Gustafsson, JÅ & Inzunza, J 2016, Reproduction, vol 151, no. 3, pp. 253-259. DOI:

Sexual dimorphism in circadian physiology is altered in LXRa deficient mice
Feillet, C, Guérin, S, Lonchampt, M, Dacquet, C, Gustafsson, JÅ, Delaunay, F & Teboul, M 2016, PLoS ONE, vol 11, no. 3, e0150665. DOI:

Historical overview of nuclear receptors
Gustafsson, JA 2016, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol 157, pp. 3-6. DOI:

Gustafsson, JA & Webb, P 2016, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol 157, pp. 1-2. DOI:

Estrogen receptor beta as target for colorectal cancer prevention
Williams, C, DiLeo, A, Niv, Y & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Cancer Letters, vol 372, no. 1, pp. 48-56. DOI:

BRCA1 inhibits AR-mediated proliferation of breast cancer cells through the activation of SIRT1
Zhang, W, Luo, J, Yang, F, Wang, Y, Yin, Y, Strom, A, Gustafsson, JÅ & Guan, X 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 22034. DOI:

Liver X Receptor ß Is Involved in Formalin-Induced Spontaneous Pain
Bao, X, Cai, Y, Wang, Y, Zhao, J, He, X, Yu, D, Huang, J, Jing, S, du, Z, Yang, T, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JA & Fan, X 2016, Molecular Neurobiology, pp. 1-15. DOI:

Nuclear hormone receptor LXRa inhibits adipocyte differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells with Wnt/beta-catenin signaling
Matsushita, K, Morello, F, Zhang, Z, Masuda, T, Iwanaga, S, Steffensen, KR, Gustafsson, JÅ, Pratt, RE & Dzau, VJ 2016, Laboratory Investigation, vol 96, no. 2, pp. 230-238. DOI:

Estrogen signaling and unfolded protein response in breast cancer
Rajapaksa, G, Thomas, C & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. DOI:

Lxr regulates lipid metabolic and visual perception pathways during zebrafish development
Pinto, CL, Kalasekar, SM, McCollum, CW, Riu, A, Jonsson, P, Lopez, J, Swindell, EC, Bouhlatouf, A, Balaguer, P, Bondesson, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, vol 419, pp. 29-43. DOI:

Estrogen receptor-a knockout mice
Antonson, P, Humire, P & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, . in Methods in Molecular Biology. vol. 1366, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1366, Humana Press Inc. pp. 425-430. DOI:

Adult Human and Mouse Ovaries Lack DDX4-Expressing Functional Oogonial Stem Cells
Zhang, H, Panula, S, Petropoulos, S, Edsgärd, D, Busayavalasa, K, Liu, L, Li, X, Risal, S, Shen, Y, Shao, J, Liu, M, Li, S, Zhang, D, Zhang, X, Gerner, RR, Sheikhi, M, Damdimopoulou, P, Sandberg, R, Douagi, I, Gustafsson, JÅ, Liu, L, Lanner, F, Hovatta, O & Liu, K 2016, Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, vol 71, no. 1, pp. 29-30. DOI:

Memo interacts with c-Src to control Estrogen Receptor alpha sub-cellular localization
Frei, A, MacDonald, G, Lund, I, Gustafsson, JÅ, Hynes, NE & Nalvarte, I 2016, Oncotarget, vol 7, no. 35, pp. 56170-56182. DOI:

Estrogen receptors in breast carcinogenesis and endocrine therapy
Huang, B, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2015, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, vol 418, pp. 240-244. DOI: