About our research

In psychoneuroimmunology, aspects of behaviour is studied in relation to the interplay between the brain, the endocrine and the immune system. Within this framework, we study factors such as stress and sleep in relation to immune function. We also study how immune defence influences measures of  brain function, subjective (self-rated) health, pain regulation and social interaction as part of a so called sickness response. In addition, we study how people can detect sickness in others, and the behavioural consequences of such detection.

The research is conducted in collaboration projects  between Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet, other universities, and units within the health care system. The interdisciplinary framework is also used as a point of departure for intervention research, for example psychological treatment of  chronic stress, health anxiety, sleep problems and long-standing pain. We focus on transdiagnostic symptoms,  such as pain, poor subjective health, depressed mood and fatigue, and also applies this perspective in treatment research.

The work is conducted within a marked interdisciplinary network with competence in psychology, immunology, endocrinology, physiology, allergology , anthropology and cognitive neuroscience. Several studies in the interface between psychology and biomedicine are focused on allergy, in which the relation between chronic inflammation and behaviour is of particular interest. Also, we study the effects of inflammation, both acute experimental and chronic allergic, on brain function, measured with methods such as fMRI and PET.

Several studies concern biological and psychological determinants for subjective health. These studies are performed both with experimental methods - such as causing a short-lived harmless inflammatory reaction which entails a transient feeling of sickness – and through longitudinal observational studies in diverse populations. Other experimental studies concern the effect of sleep deprivation on brain activity and emotional regulation.