Erik Lindahl

Erik Lindahl


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Works at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Telephone 08-16 10 62
Visiting address Science for Life Laboratory, Tomtebodavägen 23, Box 1031, 171 65 Solna
Postal address Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Professor of Biophysics at the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, although our research group is physically located at Science for Life Laboratory, which is a joint research environment between SU, KTH, and KI.

Apart from spending time on teaching and research with my group, we are involved in a number of scientific environments, with particular focus on mobility and cooperation between the three Stockholm Universities. I spend a great deal of my time as co-director of the strategic research area SeRC (Swedish e-Science Research Center), which we started as a joint SU-KTH-KI-LiU initiative, I am one of the scientific directors of SciLifeLab's platform for bioinformatics, and I'm responsible for Stockholms University's part of a new joint KTH-SU-KI master program in molecular techniques in life sciences. In collaboration with Uppsala University we have also created a Swedish node within CECAM, through which I also serve on the CECAM council.

Much of our research is dependent on large computer resources. Together with a number of universities in Europe, we have established a new EU-funded center-of-excellence for computational biomolecular research - BioExcel - where I'm the lead scientist. Since 2014, I have served on the Scientific Steering Committee for the European Computer Infrastructure PRACE, and during 2017 I serve as of the Scientific Steering Committee and sit on the PRACE Board of Directors. Feel free to drop me a line if you have thoughts or ideas about how to improve the computational infrastructure both in Sweden and internationally to make sure it is guided by the researchers' needs instead of the opposite.


If you are interested in learning how fundamental biophysics about biological macromolecules such as proteins, DNA, and membranes, and in particular how models, statistical mechanics and simulations can be used to understand them, I teach the course Biophysical Chemistry in the second half of spring each year (Mondo link). Most of the lectures are recorded, and you can also find them in a YouTube playlist

I'm also partially involved in the KBX000 project course in bioinformatics (Mondo), although my colleague Arne Elofsson does the lion's share of the work there.

Finally, I'm in charge of Stockholm University's part of the Master program in Molecular Techniques in Life Sciences given jointly by SU, KTH, and KI. Here, you might meet me during registration, follow-up events, and not least your final thesis project.





Our research is focused on understanding the doors and windows of our cells in the form of membrane proteins in general, and in particular the functions of ion channels and pumps that transport ions to make our nervous system work. We use a number of techniques ranging from bioinformatics to build models of human receptors and channels based on bacterial structures, biomolecular simulations to understand the molecular-level interactions in these complex molecules, and experimental techniques such as electrophysiology or spectroscopy to measure functional effects of conformational transitions, and how these are influenced by mutations in the membrane proteins or small molecules that can work as medical drugs. For example, this has enabled us to use molecular models in combination with experiments to determine how voltage-gated ion channels move between intermediate states during opening (Henrion 2012, Lindahl 2012). Similarly, in our work on the ligand-gated ion channels responsible for transmitting signals across the synaptic cleft between nerve cells we have been able to show that there are separate binding sites for molecules that either potentiate (amplify) or inhibit the nerve signals (Murail 2012). We can even reverse the behavior of the these channels by introducing single-site mutations that force the molecule to bind in a different allosteric modulation site, which opens the door to design of pairs of drugs that could be used to control the nerve system on a very fine-grained level (Brömstrup 2013). Finally, we are using both simulations and experiments to study how ATPase pumps transport ions, which has led to the first-ever structures of pumps with bound ions (Nyblom 2013).

The team also works with molecular simulation methodology development, in particular the widely used GROMACS package for which we are steering an international development team (Pronk 2013, Abraham 2015).

Since the start of 2016, we are excited to help build the new national infrastructure and research platform around cryo-electro microscopy at Stockholm University. Structure determination with cryo-EM works by collecting tens of thousands to millions of extremely noisy 2D images of single molecules, and our work is focused on developing new better and faster methods to reconstruct three-dimensional electron densities from the noisy micrograph data, in particular for the program RELION (Kimanius 2016, Forsberg 2017).



Swedish Research Council, European Research Council, Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Strategic Research Area on E-Science, Science for Life Laboratory, Foundation for Strategic Research, Horizon-2020/EINFRA, National Institute of Health, Carl Trygger Foundation, Magnus Bergvall foundation, STINT, Computing resources through SNIC, and cryo-EM time through the SU-led facility at SciLifeLab funded by KAW and the Erling Persson foundation.


Group members:

Rebecca Howard, Researcher
Stefan Fleischmann, System administrator
Christian Blau, Postdoc
Stephanie Heusser, PhD student
Dari Kimanius, PhD student
Björn Forsberg, PhD student
Marie Lycksell, PhD student
Mark Abraham, Researcher
​Laura Orellana, Postdoc
Magnus Andersson, Researcher
Szilard Pall, Researcher
Paul Bauer, Researcher


Do you want to join us?

On the PhD level, all positions funded directly by the research group will be announced through the department. Apart from this, there might be a few external agencies (e.g. Lawski) that occasionally directly funds PhD studies. For both options, successful candidates typically have a very strong academic track record, and prior experience either from working with us, or very strong recommendations from a different group. 

On the postdoctoral level, our most successful candidates have usually secured their own funding e.g. from the EU Marie Curie program or Swedish foundations like Carl Trygger. For postdoctoral scholars, we require that you have extensive experience from working with some of the methods used on the group, and also an outstanding academic track record with several first-author publications.

If you think this describes you, don't hesitate to drop us a line!

Last updated: September 12, 2017

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