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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

Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 impairs the reparative properties of macrophages and microglia in the brain
Bogie, JFJ, Grajchen, E, Wouters, E, Corrales, AG, Dierckx, T, Vanherle, S, Mailleux, J, Gervois, P, Wolfs, E, Dehairs, J, Van Broeckhoven, J, Bowman, AP, Lambrichts, I, Gustafsson, J-A, Remaley, AT, Mulder, M, Swinnen, JV, Haidar, M, Ellis, SR, Ntambi, JM, Zelcer, N & Hendriks, JJA 2020, The Journal of experimental medicine, vol. 217, no. 5.

Lipidomic analysis of human primary hepatocytes following LXR activation with GW3965 identifies AGXT2L1 as a main target associated to changes in phosphatidylethanolamine
Santinha, D, Klopot, A, Marques, I, Ellis, E, Jorns, C, Johansson, H, Melo, T, Antonson, P, Jakobsson, T, Félix, V, Gustafsson, J-A, Domingues, MR, Mode, A & Helguero, LA 2020, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol. 198, 105558.

Selective estrogen receptor (ER)ß activation provokes a redistribution of fat mass and modifies hepatic triglyceride composition in obese male mice
González-Granillo, M, Savva, C, Li, X, Ghosh Laskar, M, Angelin, B, Gustafsson, J-A & Korach-André, M 2020, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, vol. 502, 110672.

Nuclear Receptors in Cancer Inflammation and Immunity
Zhao, L, Hu, H, Gustafsson, J-A & Zhou, S 2020, Trends in Immunology, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 172-185.

mRNA as a Novel Treatment Strategy for Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Type 5
Hauser, S, Poenisch, M, Schelling, Y, Höflinger, P, Schuster, S, Teegler, A, Betten, R, Gustafsson, J-A, Hübener-Schmid, J, Schlake, T, Chevessier-Tünnesen, F, Horscroft, N, Björkhem, I & Schöls, L 2019, Molecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development, vol. 15, pp. 359-370.

Bisphenol A Regulates Sodium Ramp Currents in Mouse Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons and Increases Nociception
Soriano, S, Gil-Rivera, M, Marroqui, L, Alonso-Magdalena, P, Fuentes, E, Gustafsson, J-A, Nadal, A & Martinez-Pinna, J 2019, Scientific reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 10306.

Absence of estrogen receptor beta leads to abnormal adipogenesis during early tendon healing by an up-regulation of PPAR? signalling
Bian, X, Liu, T, Zhou, M, He, G, Ma, Y, Shi, Y, Wang, Y, Tang, H, Kang, X, Yang, M, Gustafsson, J-A, Fan, X & Tang, K 2019, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 7406-7416.

Immunoregulatory Functions of Nuclear Receptors: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications
Zhao, L, Gimple, RC, Yang, Z, Wei, Y, Gustafsson, J-A & Zhou, S 2019, Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Differential activity of BPA, BPAF and BPC on zebrafish estrogen receptors in vitro and in vivo
Pinto, C, Hao, R, Grimaldi, M, Thrikawala, S, Boulahtouf, A, Aït-Aïssa, S, Brion, F, Gustafsson, J-A, Balaguer, P & Bondesson, M 2019, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, vol. 380, 114709.

Oestrogen receptor ß mediates the actions of bisphenol-A on ion channel expression in mouse pancreatic beta cells
Martinez-Pinna, J, Marroqui, L, Hmadcha, A, Lopez-Beas, J, Soriano, S, Villar-Pazos, S, Alonso-Magdalena, P, Dos Santos, RS, Quesada, I, Martin, F, Soria, B, Gustafsson, J-A & Nadal, A 2019, Diabetologia, vol. 62, no. 9, pp. 1667-1680.

Retinal and optic nerve degeneration in liver X receptor ß knockout mice
Song, XY, Wu, WF, Gabbi, C, Dai, YB, So, M, Chaurasiya, SP, Wang, L, Warner, M & Gustafsson, J-A 2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 33, pp. 16507-16512.

Update on ERbeta
Gustafsson, J-A, Strom, A & Warner, M 2019, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol. 191, 105312.

Correction: Estrogen signalling and the metabolic syndrome: Targeting the hepatic estrogen receptor alpha action(PLoS ONE (2013) 8:2 (e57458) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057458)
Matic, M, Bryzgalova, G, Gao, H, Antonson, P, Humire, P, Omoto, Y, Portwood, N, Pramfalk, C, Efendic, S, Berggren, PO, Gustafsson, J-A & Dahlman-Wright, K 2019, PloS one, vol. 14, no. 6, e0217526.

Nuclear Receptors: Recent Drug Discovery for Cancer Therapies
Zhao, L, Zhou, S & Gustafsson, J-A 2019, Endocrine Reviews, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 1207-1249.

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.

Sex-specific lipid molecular signatures in obesity-associated metabolic dysfunctions revealed by lipidomic characterization in ob/ob mouse 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1103 Clinical Sciences
González-Granillo, M, Helguero, LA, Alves, E, Archer, A, Savva, C, Pedrelli, M, Ahmed, O, Li, X, Domingues, MR, Parini, P, Gustafsson, J-A & Korach-André, M 2019, Biology of Sex Differences, vol. 10, no. 1, 11.

Erratum: The genome landscape of ERa- and ERß-binding DNA regions (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2008) 105 (2604–2609) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0712085105)
Liu, Y, Gao, H, Marstrand, TT, Ström, A, Valen, E, Sandelin, A, Gustafsson, J-A & Dahlman-Wright, K 2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 4, pp. 1460-1461.

Colitis-induced colorectal cancer and intestinal epithelial estrogen receptor beta impact gut microbiota diversity
Ibrahim, A, Hugerth, LW, Hases, L, Saxena, A, Seifert, M, Thomas, Q, Gustafsson, J-A, Engstrand, L & Williams, C 2019, International Journal of Cancer.

VSMC-specific EP4 deletion exacerbates angiotensin II-induced aortic dissection by increasing vascular inflammation and blood pressure
Xu, H, Du, S, Fang, B, Li, C, Jia, X, Zheng, S, Wang, S, Li, Q, Su, W, Wang, N, Zheng, F, Chen, L, Zhang, X, Gustafsson, J-A & Guan, Y 2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 17, pp. 8457-8462.

Liver X Receptor Alpha Is Important in Maintaining Blood-Brain Barrier Function
Wouters, E, de Wit, NM, Vanmol, J, van der Pol, SMA, van Het Hof, B, Sommer, D, Loix, M, Geerts, D, Gustafsson, J-A, Steffensen, KR, Vanmierlo, T, Bogie, JFJ, Hendriks, JJA & de Vries, HE 2019, Frontiers in immunology, vol. 10.

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