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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

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

Somatic loss of estrogen receptor beta and p53 synergize to induce breast tumorigenesis
Bado, I, Nikolos, F, Rajapaksa, G, Wu, W, Castaneda, J, Krishnamurthy, S, Webb, P, Gustafsson, JÅ & Thomas, C 2017, Breast Cancer Research, vol 19, no. 1, 79. DOI:

Estrogen receptor ß, a regulator of androgen receptor signaling in the mouse ventral prostate
Wu, WF, Maneix, L, Insunza, J, Nalvarte, I, Antonson, P, Kere, J, Yu, NYL, Tohonen, V, Katayama, S, Einarsdottir, E, Krjutskov, K, Dai, YB, Huang, B, Su, W, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114, no. 19, pp. E3816-E3822. DOI:

Liver X receptor a induces 17ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-13 expression through SREBP-1c
Su, W, Peng, J, Li, S, Dai, YB, Wang, CJ, Xu, H, Gao, M, Ruan, XZ, Gustafsson, JÅ, Guan, YF & Zhang, XY 2017, American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol 312, no. 4, pp. E357-E367. DOI:

Ablation of cytochrome P450 omega-hydroxylase 4A14 gene attenuates hepatic steatosis and fibrosis
Zhang, X, Li, S, Zhou, Y, Su, W, Ruan, X, Wang, B, Zheng, F, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JÅ & Guan, Y 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114, no. 12, pp. 3181-3185. DOI:

Speedy A-Cdk2 binding mediates initial telomere-nuclear envelope attachment during meiotic prophase i independent of Cdk2 activation
Tu, Z, Bayazit, MB, Liu, H, Zhang, J, Busayavalasa, K, Risal, S, Shao, J, Satyanarayana, A, Coppola, V, Tessarollo, L, Singh, M, Zheng, C, Han, C, Chen, Z, Kaldis, P, Gustafsson, JÅ & Liu, K 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114, no. 3, pp. 592-597. DOI:

Genomics of sex hormone receptor signaling in hepatic sexual dimorphism
Zheng, D, Wang, X, Antonson, P, Gustafsson, JÅ & Li, Z 2016, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. DOI:

An ERß agonist induces browning of subcutaneous abdominal fat pad in obese female mice
Miao, YF, Su, W, Dai, YB, Wu, WF, Huang, B, Barros, RPA, Nguyen, H, Maneix, L, Guan, YF, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 38579. DOI:

Defective cholesterol metabolism in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Abdel-Khalik, J, Yutuc, E, Crick, PJ, Gustafsson, J-Å, Warner, M, Roman, G, Talbot, K, Gray, E, Griffiths, WJ, Turner, MR & Wang, Y 2016, Journal of Lipid Research, vol 58, no. 1, pp. 267-278. DOI:

Dysregulation of Notch and ERa signaling in AhR-/- male mice
Huang, B, Butler, R, Miao, Y, Dai, Y, Wu, W, Su, W, Fujii-Kuriyama, Y, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JÅ 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 42, pp. 11883-11888. DOI:

24-hydroxycholesterol participates in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor development
Soncini, M, Corna, G, Moresco, M, Coltella, N, Restuccia, U, Maggioni, D, Raccosta, L, Lin, CY, Invernizzi, F, Crocchiolo, R, Doglioni, C, Traversari, C, Bachi, A, Bernardi, R, Bordignon, C, Gustafsson, JÅ & Russo, V 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 41, pp. E6219-E6227. DOI:

Identification of vascular disruptor compounds by analysis in zebrafish embryos and mouse embryonic endothelial cells
McCollum, CW, Conde-Vancells, J, Hans, C, Vazquez-Chantada, M, Kleinstreuer, N, Tal, T, Knudsen, T, Shah, SS, Merchant, FA, Finnell, RH, Gustafsson, JÅ, Cabrera, R & Bondesson, M 2016, Reproductive Toxicology. DOI:

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 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:

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: