Division of Renal Medicine, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institutet

The experimental division of Renal Medicine comprises a number of "state of the art" techniques and molecular biology methods to study vascular maintenance under uremic environment, calcification and early ageing. The laboratory subunits focus on transcriptomic and epigenetic analyses, studies on vascular structure and function, intracellular signaling pathways, as well as screening of different pharmacological compounds with proposed benefits on vascular function together with measurements of traditional and novel risk markers associated with CKD and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.


1. 10% of the population worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), and millions die each year because they do not have access to affordable treatment. (1)

2. According the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, chronic kidney disease was ranked 27th in the list of causes of total number of deaths worldwide in 1990, but rose to 18th in 2010. This degree of movement up the list was second only to that for HIV and AIDs. (2)

3. Over 2 million people worldwide currently receive treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive, yet this number may only represent 10% of people who actually need treatment to live. (3)

4. In people aged 65 through 74 worldwide, it is estimated that one in five men, and one in four women, have CKD.  (1;4)

5. In Sweden, the prevalence of CKD has reached epidemic proportions with 10-12% of the population showing signs of CKD. Thus, kidney disease has evolved from merely a sub-speciality to a global health problem. (5)

6. The life expectancy of 20-year old dialysis patient is like that of a 75-year old person with normal kidney function. The quality of life is low and the average dialysis patient is willing to trade an entire life of dialysis for just six years of life in normal health.

7. CKD patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to accelerated arterio- and atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in CKD patients. (5)

8. As CKD is also associated with premature aging, especially with regard to vascular disease, patients suffering from CKD are a particularly vulnerable group of patients. (6)

9. The increased epidemic of diabetes leads to diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is a severe complication that represents the single most common cause for final stage of CKD when dialysis or kidney transplantation is required. (7)

10. Chronic kidney disease can be treated. With early diagnosis and treatment, it's possible to slow or stop the progression of kidney disease!

Read more at http://www.worldkidneyday.org/ in collaboration with http://www.worldkidneyday.org/faqs/chronic-kidney-disease/


Advanced Translational Research Hub for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): from bench to bedside (NEED CKD)

  • We represent a multidisciplinary unit which aims to further improve knowledge and expertise in the battle against Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
  • We utilize epidemiological data from Sweden, EU and worldwide and make use of clinical and novel biomarkers data to predict and target vascular abnormalities towards amelioration of early vascular ageing under uremic environment.
  • We also assess available opportunities for potential intervention strategies (drug testing) to battle CKD and its associated consequences for cardiovascular disease complications.


For more information, please visit:

If you are interested in the research proposal, collaboration or experimental matters, please don't hesitate to contact us!



  • Primary contact for the laboratory management: Karolina Kublickiene (karolina.kublickiene@ki.se)
  • Technical expertise and contacts for current facility services, including biobanking and consulting: Ann-Christin Bragfors Helin (Ann-Christin.Bragfors-Helin@ki.se) & Monica Eriksson (Monica.Eriksson@ki.se)


Group members:

  • Professor Peter Stenvinkel (Principal Investigator) 
  • Associate Professor Karolina Kublickiene: Focus on vascular physiology and pathophysiology in chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and in preeclampsia. Studies involve a range of isolated small artery bioassays in combination with in in vivo assessment of artery function and measurements of markers for increased cardiovascular risk.
  • Assistant Professor Anna Witasp: Focus on transcriptomic and epigenetic analyses to identify disease mechanisms and novel risk markers associated with vascular complications in CKD.
  • Associate Professor Harvest Gu: Focus on genetic and functional analyses in diabetes, obesity and diabetic complications especially nephropathy.
  • Associate Professor Annette Bruchfeld (annette.bruchfeld@karolinska.se)
  • Professor Bengt Lindholm (Affiliated BAXTER) 
  • Anna Levin (MD, PhD student)
  • Xiuli Zhang (MD, PhD, post-doc researcher)
  • Dhekra Alnaqeb (PhD student candidate)
  • Neja Mudrovcic (MD)
  • Samsul Arefin (Licenciate)
  • Ann-Christin Bragfors Helin (BMA)
  • Monica Eriksson (BMA)


  • Björn Anderstam (Bjorn.Anderstam@ki.se)


  • Louise Nordfors, PhD, Senior researcher, CLINTEC and Department of Molecular medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet 
  • Martin Schalling, Professor Genetics, Department of Molecular medicine and Surgery and Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet 
  • Annika Wernerson, Professor, Pathology and Renal Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Anders Thorell, Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyds Hospital and Department of Surgery Ersta Hospital
  • Ulf Hedin, Professor, Vascular Surgery and Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet
  • Ljubica Perisic, Assistant Professor, Vascular Surgery and Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet
  • Magnus Bäck, Professor Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • Jaakko Patrakka, PhD, Research group leader, Integrated Cardio Metabolic Center, Karolinska Institutet
  • Anita Aperia, Professor, Pediatric Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet
  • Lena Scott, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet
  • Maria Eriksson, Senior researcher, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet
  • Tomas Ekström, Professor, Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet

International collaborators:

  • Paul Shiels, Professor, Institute of Cancer Sciences, MVLS, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Dagmara McGuiness, PhD, Institute of Cancer Sciences, MVLS, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Pieter Evenepoel, Professor, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lars Wennberg, Docent, Transplantation Dept., Karolinska University Hospital
  • Mathias Haarhaus, MD, PhD Renal Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Peter Barany, Associate Professor, Renal Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital,
  • Tony Qureshi, MD, PhD, Statistician, Karolinska Institutet
  • Hannes Olauson, PhD Läkare, Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Magnus Söderberg, Associate Professor, Pathology Astra Zeneca
  • Paolo Parini, Professor, Clinical Chemistry, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Peter Bergman, Associate Professor, Mikrobiology, Karolinska University Hospital,
  • Per Magnusson, Associate Professor, Clinical Chemistry, Linköping
  • Eva Hurt-Camejo, Professor, Astra Zeneca, Gothenburg
  • Torkel Brismar, Associate Professor, Radiology, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Jonaz Ripsweden MD, PhD Radiology, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Barry Freedman, Wake Forest Uni, USA. Genetics of diabetic nephropathy
  • Claes-Göran Östenson, KI. Genetics and epigenetics of type 2 diabetes
  • Chong Shen, Nanjing Med Uni, China. Genetic and epidemiological study of diabetes, obesity and diabetic nephropathy;
  • Kerstin Brismar, Henrik Falhammar, KI. Genetics and epigenetics of diabetes and diabetic nephropathy
  • Khalid Alrubeaan, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Genetic and proteomic studies of type 2 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy in Saudi population
  • Norhashimah Abu Seman, Inst of Medical Research, Malaysia. Genetics and epigenetics of diabetic nephropathy
  • Xiuli Zhang, China Med Uni, China. Molecular defects of zinc transporter in diabetic nephropathy; http://ki.se/en/people/xiuzha
  • Amaryllis Van Craenenbroeck, MD, PhD


  • Evianne Larsson (Evianne.Larsson@ki.se)



1. World Kidney Day: Chronic Kidney Disease. 2015; http://www.worldkidneyday.org/faqs/chronic-kidney-disease/ .

2. Jha V, Garcia-Garcia G, Iseki K, et al. Chronic kidney disease: global dimension and perspectives. Lancet. Jul 20 2013;382(9888):260-272.

3. Couser WG, Remuzzi G, Mendis S, Tonelli M. The contribution of chronic kidney disease to the global burden of major noncommunicable diseases. Kidney Int. Dec 2011;80(12):1258-1270.

4. Levey AS, Atkins R, Coresh J, et al. Chronic kidney disease as a global public health problem: approaches and initiatives - a position statement from Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes. Kidney Int. Aug 2007;72(3):247-259.

5. Stenvinkel P. Chronic kidney disease: a public health priority and harbinger of premature cardiovascular disease. J Intern Med. 2010; 268:456-67.

6. Kooman JP, Kotanko P, Schols AMWJ et al. Chronic kidney disease and premature ageing. Nat. Rev. Nephrol. Oct 2014; 10: 732-742

7. IDF, Diabetes Atlas, 7th edition 2015 http://www.diabetesatlas.org/