Per Svenningsson

Short Bio

About me:

I am Senior consultant and Professor of Neurology at the Karolinska University Hospital / Karolinska Institute, Department of Clinical Neuroscience. I am also part-time Professor of Neurodegenerative Disorders at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, King’s College London, UK. My special area of expertise is movement disorders and neuropharmacology.

At the Karolinska Institute, I lead a multidisciplinary laboratory with an international team of both preclinical and clinical PhD students and postdocs working in connection to clinically active neurologists. Our research laboratory studies receptor-mediated mechanisms for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. We have ongoing collaborations both within academia and the pharmaceutical industry regarding wet and/or imaging biomarker studies for diagnosis and evaluating disease treatment effects.

I work at the Department of Neurology at Karolinska Universityhospital Huddinge. I also scientifically lead the Centre for Parkinson’s disease at the Academic Specialist Center  Stockholm. This Centre is unique in Scandinavia and consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. This platform is ideal to foster the next generation of physician-scientists in clinical research on Parkinson’s disease.

Our clinical team has considerable experience in clinical trials and we are running trials for development, establishment and/or evaluation of new treatment strategies against Parkinson’s disease. We have established the BioPark cohort and perform longitudinal clinical ratings and collect patient biospecimens incl DNA/serum/PBMC/CSF and some patients also take part in imaging studies. At Kings College London, my group investigates the molecular and cellular basis of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. We use patient plasma and CSF samples to identify molecular targets for diagnosis, patient stratification and predictive biomarkers.


I obtained my MD and PhD from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. During my PhD, with Prof. Bertil Fredholm, I studied the function of adenosine A2A receptors in the striatum. The studies were relevant to the actions of psychostimulants and Parkinson´s disease (PD). In fact, the A2A antagonist, istradefylline, is approved for symptomatic relief in PD.

Between 1999 and 2003, I was a postdoc and assistant professor in Prof. Paul Greengard’s group at the Rockefeller University, NY, USA. My studies mainly concerned signal transduction mechanisms mediated through the serotonin system and resulted in fundamental observations on the actions of psychostimulants and antidepressants. During this period, I found that an unknown protein, called p11, interacts with 5-HT1B and 5-HT4 receptors and amplifies serotonergic signaling.

I then returned to Karolinska Institute, where I started my own lab as an associate professor, and restarted my clinical qualifications at the Karolinska Hospital. In 2012, I was appointed Professor in Neurology at Karolinska Institutet.

Awards and distinguished memberships

Honors, Named Lectures and Awards

  • 2006    Opening Plenary Lecture, XIV World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics
  • 2007    NARSAD Young Investigator Award
  • 2008    Werner Lowenthal´s Lecture, Richmond, USA
  • 2008    Researcher position from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • 2015    Individual ERC Consolidator grant
  • 2016    Wallenberg Clincal Scholar, Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation
  • 2017    Eurolife Distinguished Medal Lecture in Barcelona
  • 2017    Frontiers in Medicine lecture, Lund
  • 2020    Arvid Carlsson Prize
  • 2021    Wallenberg Clincal Scholar, Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation

Commisions of Trust

  • 2005-  Grant reviewer for INSERM/ANR, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish research       councils
  • 2008-   Swedish Movement Disorder Society, elected board member
  • 2009-   Swedish Parkinson Fund, scientific reviewing committee
  • 2010-   Scientific coordinator for the Nicholson Programme between Karolinska Institutet and Rockefeller University
  • 2012-   Parkinson Research Foundation, scientific committee
  • 2013-2016       Member of the Executive Committee for European College of         Neuropsychopharmacology
  • 2014-   Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • 2014-   Member of Movement Disorder Society Educational and European Commitee
  • 2015-   Member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet
  • 2018-   Swedish Brain Fund, scientific reviewing committee
  • 2019, 2020      Adjunct member of the Nobel Committee deciding the Nobel Prize in        Physiology or Medicine
  • 2019-   Elected Chairman, Swedish Movement Disorder Society
  • 2019-   Elected member of the Committee for Research at Karolinska Instiutet
  • 2019-   Director StratNeuro at Karolinska Instiutet
  • 2020-   Elected Chairman, Basic Science Special Interest Group, Movement Disorder       Society
  • 2021-   Elected member of the Nobel Committee deciding the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Membership of Editorial Boards of Scientific Journals

  • 2009-   J Mol Neuroscience
  • 2012-   PLoS ONE
  • 2012-   Frontiers in Psychopharmacology
  • 2012-   ISRN Neurology
  • 2016-   Neuropharmacology
  • 2017-   Translational Neurodegeneration
  • 2019-   International Journal of Medical Sciences

Guest Editor

  • 2019, 2021      Current Opinion of Neurology “Update on Movement disorders”