Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede


PernillaWittungPernilla Wittung-Stafshede

Swedish chemist Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede specializes in biophysics, she is also a professor of chemical biology at Chalmers Technical University, Göteborg.

She received her master’s degree in chemical engineering at the Swedish Chalmers Technical University, and earned her PhD in 1996 at the same place under the supervision of Bengt Nordén, studying the interactions of intelligent nucleic acids and various proteins.

Later she continued her studies and research in the Unites States: at the Bechman Institute of the University of California, at Tulane University (Louisiana), and also at Rice University (Texas).
In 2008 she returned to Sweden, first as a professor at Umeå University, and in 2015 to her previous university in Chalmers, where she became head of the Chemical Biology Division at the Department of Biological Engineering. She considers it important to form an innovative research atmosphere at the university both for students and colleagues.

She is interested in the physical and chemical properties of proteins; more specifically in metalloproteins, misfolded and aggregated proteins- the occurrence of which may be linked to diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. Thus, a more detailed understanding of the mentioned proteins may lead to the creation of more effective therapies.

She investigates protein folding mechanisms with both in vitro and in vivo methods, using various biophysical (e.g. kinetic) and theoretical methods along with mutagenesis.

She pays special attention to the cellular transport of copper, carried out by metalloproteases. Since this metal is usually abundant in tumour cells, uncovering its transport mechanisms may lead to an enhanced understanding of tumour cell-development.

She has more than 2000 publications; moreover, she is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded her the Göran Gustafsson Prize in 2009. In 2010 she was one of the 10 Swedish researchers, who were granted the five-year Wallenberg Fellowship from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

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