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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

Breast cancer Nuclear receptors Estrogen receptors
Education & Training

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

Concentrations of bile acid precursors in cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer's disease patients
Griffiths, WJ, Abdel-Khalik, J, Yutuc, E, Roman, GC, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JÅ & Wang, Y 2019, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, vol. 134, pp. 42-52.

LXR Suppresses Inflammatory Gene Expression and Neutrophil Migration through cis-Repression and Cholesterol Efflux
Thomas, DG, Doran, AC, Fotakis, P, Westerterp, M, Antonson, P, Jiang, H, Jiang, XC, Gustafsson, J-A, Tabas, I & Tall, AR 2018, Cell Reports, vol. 25, no. 13, pp. 3774-3785.e4.

Combining mouse embryonic stem cells and zebrafish embryos to evaluate developmental toxicity of chemical exposure
Conde-Vancells, J, Vazquez-Chantada, M, McCollum, CW, Bondesson, M, Kalasekar, SM, Wlodarczyk, BJ, Gustafsson, JÅ, Cabrera, RM & Finnell, RH 2018, Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 81, pp. 220-228.

ERa expression in T lymphocytes is dispensable for estrogenic effects in bone
Gustafsson, KL, Nilsson, KH, Farman, HH, Andersson, A, Lionikaite, V, Henning, P, Wu, J, Windahl, SH, Islander, U, Movérare-Skrtic, S, Sjögren, K, Carlsten, H, Gustafsson, J-A, Ohlsson, C & Lagerquist, MK 2018, Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 238, no. 2, pp. 129-136.

Estrogen receptor subtypes dictate the proliferative nature of the mammary gland
Dall, GV, Hawthorne, S, Seyed-Razavi, Y, Vieusseux, J, Wu, W, Gustafsson, JA, Byrne, D, Murphy, L, Risbridger, GP & Britt, KL 2018, Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 237, no. 3, pp. 323-336.

Estrogen receptor ß controls proliferation of enteric glia and differentiation of neurons in the myenteric plexus after damage
D’Errico, F, Goverse, G, Dai, Y, Wu, W, Stakenborg, M, Labeeuw, E, De Simone, V, Verstockt, B, Gomez-Pinilla, PJ, Warner, M, Di Leo, A, Matteoli, G & Gustafsson, JA 2018, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 22, pp. 5798-5803.

Farnesoid X receptor is essential for the survival of renal medullary collecting duct cells under hypertonic stress
Xu, S, Huang, S, Luan, Z, Chen, T, Wei, Y, Xing, M, Li, Y, Du, C, Wang, B, Zheng, F, Wang, N, Guan, Y, Gustafsson, JÅ & Zhang, X 2018, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 21, pp. 5600-5605.

ERß alters the chemosensitivity of luminal breast cancer cells by regulating p53 function
Bado, I, Pham, E, Soibam, B, Nikolos, F, Gustafsson, J-A & Thomas, C 2018, Oncotarget, vol. 9, no. 32, pp. 22509-22522.

Pharmacological activation of estrogen receptor beta augments innate immunity to suppress cancer metastasis
Zhao, L, Huang, S, Mei, S, Yang, Z, Xu, L, Zhou, N, Yang, Q, Shen, Q, Wang, W, Le, X, Lau, WB, Lau, B, Wang, X, Yi, T, Zhao, X, Wei, Y, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JÅ & Zhou, S 2018, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 16, pp. E3673-E3681.

ERb Sensitizes NSCLC to Chemotherapy by Regulating DNA Damage Response
Nikolos, F, Thomas, C, Bado, I & Gustafsson, JÅ 2018, Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 233-242.

The ERß4 variant induces transformation of the normal breast mammary epithelial cell line MCF-10A; the ERß variants ERß2 and ERß5 increase aggressiveness of TNBC by regulation of hypoxic signaling
Faria, M, Karami, S, Granados-Principal, S, Dey, P, Verma, A, Choi, DS, Elemento, O, Bawa-Khalfe, T, Chang, JC, Strom, AM & Gustafsson, JÅ 2018, Oncotarget, vol. 9, no. 15, pp. 12201-12211.

ERß activation in obesity improves whole body metabolism via adipose tissue function and enhanced mitochondria biogenesis
González-Granillo, M, Savva, C, Li, X, Fitch, M, Pedrelli, M, Hellerstein, M, Parini, P, Korach-André, M & Gustafsson, J-A 2018, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

Role of HSD17B13 in the liver physiology and pathophysiology
Su, W, Mao, Z, Liu, Y, Zhang, X, Zhang, W, Gustafsson, J-A & Guan, Y 2018, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

Molecular mechanisms involved in the non-monotonic effect of bisphenol-a on ca2+ entry in mouse pancreatic ß-cells
Villar-Pazos, S, Martinez-Pinna, J, Castellano-Muñoz, M, Alonso-Magdalena, P, Marroqui, L, Quesada, I, Gustafsson, J-A & Nadal, A 2017, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 11770.

Role of estrogen receptor beta in neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells
Varshney, MK, Inzunza, J, Lupu, D, Ganapathy, V, Antonson, P, Rüegg, J, Nalvarte, I & Gustafsson, J-A 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, no. 48, pp. E10428-E10437.

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.

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.

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.

Liver X receptor ß increases aquaporin 2 protein level via a posttranscriptional mechanism in renal collecting ducts
Su, W, Huang, SZ, Gao, M, Kong, XM, Gustafsson, JÅ, Xu, SJ, Wang, B, Zheng, F, Chen, LH, Wang, NP, Guan, YF & Zhang, XY 2017, American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology, vol. 312, no. 4, pp. F619-F628.

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, J-A & Guan, Y 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, no. 12, pp. 3181-3185.