Jan-Ake Gustafsson

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

Liver X receptor beta deficiency attenuates autoimmune-associated neuroinflammation in a T cell-dependent manner
Bogie, JFJ, Vanmierlo, T, Vanmol, J, Timmermans, S, Mailleux, J, Nelissen, K, Wijnands, E, Wouters, K, Stinissen, P, Gustafsson, JÅ, Steffensen, KR, Mulder, M, Zelcer, N & Hendriks, JJA 2021, , Journal of Autoimmunity, vol. 124, 102723. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2021.102723

25 years of ERß: a personal journey
Warner, M, Fan, X, Strom, A, Wu, W & Gustafsson, JÅ 2021, , Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. R1-R9. https://doi.org/10.1530/JME-21-0121

Expression of Sex Hormone Receptor and Immune Response Genes in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells During the Menstrual Cycle
Brundin, PMA, Landgren, BM, Fjällström, P, Shamekh, MM, Gustafsson, JÅ, Johansson, AF & Nalvarte, I 2021, , Frontiers in Endocrinology, vol. 12, 721813. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2021.721813

Drivers and suppressors of triple-negative breast cancer
Wu, W, Warner, M, Wang, L, He, WW, Zhao, R, Guan, X, Botero, C, Huang, B, Ion, C, Coombes, C & Gustafsson, JA 2021, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 33, e2104162118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2104162118

Testosterone Reduces Body Fat in Male Mice by Stimulation of Physical Activity Via Extrahypothalamic ERa Signaling
Kim, NR, David, K, Corbeels, K, Khalil, R, Antonio, L, Schollaert, D, Deboel, L, Ohlsson, C, Gustafsson, JÅ, Vangoitsenhoven, R, Van Der Schueren, B, Decallonne, B, Claessens, F, Vanderschueren, D & Dubois, V 2021, , Endocrinology, vol. 162, no. 6, bqab045. https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqab045

Estrogen receptor ß and treatment with a phytoestrogen are associated with inhibition of nuclear translocation of EGFR in the prostate
Wu, WF, Wang, L, Spetsieris, N, Boukovala, M, Efstathiou, E, Brössner, C, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JA 2021, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 13, 2011269118. https://doi.org/10.1073/PNAS.2011269118

Bisphenol-S and Bisphenol-F alter mouse pancreatic ß-cell ion channel expression and activity and insulin release through an estrogen receptor ERß mediated pathway
Marroqui, L, Martinez-Pinna, J, Castellano-Muñoz, M, dos Santos, RS, Medina-Gali, RM, Soriano, S, Quesada, I, Gustafsson, JA, Encinar, JA & Nadal, A 2021, , Chemosphere, vol. 265, 129051. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129051

Estrogen receptor beta and neural development
Nalvarte, I, Varshney, M, Inzunza, J & Gustafsson, JÅ 2021, . in G Litwack (ed.), Hormones and Stem Cells. Vitamins and Hormones, vol. 116, Academic Press, pp. 313-326. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.vh.2021.02.007

Loss of liver X receptor ß in astrocytes leads to anxiety-like behaviors via regulating synaptic transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex in mice
Li, X, Zhong, H, Wang, Z, Xiao, R, Antonson, P, Liu, T, Wu, C, Zou, J, Wang, L, Nalvarte, I, Xu, H, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JA & Fan, X 2021, , Molecular Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01139-5

Female mice lacking ERß display excitatory/inhibitory synaptic imbalance to drive the pathogenesis of temporal lobe epilepsy
Wang, Z, Xie, R, Yang, X, Yin, H, Li, X, Liu, T, Ma, Y, Gao, J, Zang, Z, Ruan, R, Li, Y, Huang, K, Chen, Q, Shen, K, Lv, S, Zhang, C, Yang, H, Warner, M, Gustafsson, JA, Liu, S & Fan, X 2021, , Theranostics, vol. 11, no. 12, pp. 6074-6089. https://doi.org/10.7150/thno.56331

Folic acid supplementation rescues valproic acid-induced developmental neurotoxicity and behavioral alterations in zebrafish embryos
Muhsen, M, Youngs, J, Riu, A, Gustafsson, JÅ, Kondamadugu, VS, Garyfalidis, E & Bondesson, M 2021, , Epilepsia, vol. 62, no. 7, pp. 1689-1700. https://doi.org/10.1111/epi.16915

Novel liver x receptor ligand gac0001e5 disrupts glutamine metabolism and induces oxidative stress in pancreatic cancer cells
Srivastava, S, Widmann, S, Ho, C, Nguyen, D, Nguyen, A, Premaratne, A, Gustafsson, JÅ & Lin, CY 2020, , International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 21, no. 24, 9622, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249622

Motor Function Deficits in the Estrogen Receptor Beta Knockout Mouse: Role on Excitatory Neurotransmission and Myelination in the Motor Cortex
Varshney, MK, Yu, NYL, Katayama, S, Li, X, Liu, T, Wu, WF, Töhönen, V, Krjutškov, K, Kere, J, Fan, X, Inzunza, J, Gustafsson, JÅ & Nalvarte, I 2020, , Neuroendocrinology, vol. 111, no. 1-2, pp. 27-44. https://doi.org/10.1159/000506162

Intestinal estrogen receptor beta suppresses colon inflammation and tumorigenesis in both sexes
Hases, L, Indukuri, R, Birgersson, M, Nguyen-Vu, T, Lozano, R, Saxena, A, Hartman, J, Frasor, J, Gustafsson, JÅ, Katajisto, P, Archer, A & Williams, C 2020, , Cancer Letters, vol. 492, pp. 54-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2020.06.021

Bisphenol-A exposure during pregnancy alters pancreatic ß-cell division and mass in male mice offspring: A role for ERß
Boronat-Belda, T, Ferrero, H, Al-Abdulla, R, Quesada, I, Gustafsson, JA, Nadal, Á & Alonso-Magdalena, P 2020, , Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 145, 111681. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2020.111681

Estrogen receptor ß regulates AKT activity through up-regulation of INPP4B and inhibits migration of prostate cancer cell line PC-3
Chaurasiya, S, Wu, W, Strom, AM, Warner, M & Gustafsson, JA 2020, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 42, pp. 26347-26355. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2007160117

Screening of Focused Compound Library Targeting Liver X Receptors in Pancreatic Cancer Identified Ligands with Inverse Agonist and Degrader Activity
Karaboga, H, Huang, W, Srivastava, S, Widmann, S, Addanki, S, Gamage, KT, Mazhar, Z, Ebalunode, JO, Briggs, JM, Gustafsson, J-Å, Filgueira, CS, Gilbertson, SR & Lin, C-Y 2020, , ACS Chemical Biology. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.0c00546

Pharmacological Activation of Estrogen Receptor Beta Overcomes Tumor Resistance to Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy
Huang, S, Zhou, N, Zhao, L, Gimple, RC, Ahn, YH, Zhang, P, Wang, W, Shao, B, Yang, J, Zhang, Q, Zhao, S, Jiang, X, Chen, Z, Zeng, Y, Hu, H, Gustafsson, JÅ & Zhou, S 2020, , iScience, vol. 23, no. 9, 101458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2020.101458

The absence of oestrogen receptor beta disturbs collagen I type deposition during Achilles tendon healing by regulating the IRF5-CCL3 axis
Bian, X, Liu, T, Yang, M, Gu, C, He, G, Zhou, M, Tang, H, Lu, K, Lai, F, Wang, F, Yang, Q, Gustafsson, JÅ, Fan, X & Tang, K 2020, , Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, vol. 24, no. 17, pp. 9925-9935. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.15592

Generation of an all-exon Esr2 deleted mouse line: Effects on fertility
Antonson, P, Apolinário, LM, Shamekh, MM, Humire, P, Poutanen, M, Ohlsson, C, Nalvarte, I & Gustafsson, JÅ 2020, , Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 529, no. 2, pp. 231-237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.06.063