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The Origin of the Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascluar and Metabolic Research in Gothenburg

The planning of the Wallenberg Laboratory started in the late 1970s. Although the medical faculty in Gothenburg had a strong research tradition within the field of cardiovascular research, the resources were not integrated and the research facilities existed at different locations all over the hospital and in the preclinical institutions. The philosophy of the Wallenberg Laboratory was to gather the cardiovascular research into one location and to integrate basic research with clinical research − a scientific approach that we today refer to as translational medicine.

In 1980, the Wallenberg Foundation donated 10 million SEK to the building of an experimental cardiovascular laboratory. This was later followed by a 10 million SEK donation from Astra to support clinical research in the laboratory.

When the laboratory opened in 1987, it housed five research groups with different disciplines and coming from different institutions within the faculty.

  • Per Björntorp, professor of internal medicine, studied obesity, especially abdominal obesity, and its relation to cardiovascular disease. He performed pioneering research into what has now been identified as the metabolic syndrome.
  • Göran Bondjers, professor of cardiovascular research, studied vascular biology and was one of the first researchers to develop the response-to-injury hypothesis of atherosclerosis. His group also studied lipoprotein metabolism and the interaction of lipoproteins with tissue components of the vascular wall.
  • Åke Hjalmarsson, professor of cardiology, studied the role of adrenergic stimulation in the heart. His group made important contributions toward understanding the role of adrenergic beta-blockers in ischemic heart disease, myopathy and heart failure.
  • Tore Scherstén, professor of surgery, studied energy metabolism and free radical formation in ischemic skeletal muscle.
  • John Wikstrand, professor of clinical physiology, developed carotid ultrasound into a research tool, which was later used to investigate the relation between hypertension, other risk factors, interventions and the development of atherosclerosis.

These five groups ensured that the Wallenberg Laboratory was immediately recognized on the world map as an excellent center for cardiovascular research. These original groups have been followed by many outstanding researchers who have maintained the tradition of excellence.

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Wallenberg Laboratory

SU/Sahlgrenska, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden

Visiting Address:
Bruna Stråket 16

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