Wallenberg Adacemy Fellows

“Since the program started in 2012, 150 young researchers have become Wallenberg Academy Fellows. The Foundation is very happy to be able to provide promising research talent the opportunity to freely develop their ideas over a five-year period,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chairman of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

The purpose of these investments is to boost Sweden as a research nation by retaining the greatest talents in the country and by recruiting young international researchers to Swedish universities. Via an integral mentor program, they also have an opportunity to strengthen their scientific leadership and better utilize their research results.

Jonas Olofsson. Photo: Markus Marcetic/Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Jonas Olofsson. Photo: Markus Marcetic/Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Jonas Olofssons research 

Researchers understanding of how the brain stores memories come primarily from studies of visual stimuli. Wallenberg Academy Fellow Jonas Olofsson will examine how we store scent memories. A reduced ability to feel the smell may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease and some suggest that the scent exercise can improve memory.

To understand how smells affect the human brain Jonas Olofsson will follow patterns of activity in the parts of the brain that we now know are important for scent memories. Using the latest methods for brain imaging he will examine how to associate smells linguistic concepts (such as the word rose is associated to the rose scent) and the scent impressions associated with specific locations to form the event memories. By comparing the image impression he will explore what distinguishes scent memories from picture memories.

- As Wallenberg Academy Fellow, I want to use brain imaging methods to explore how different sensory experiences can be stored in such different ways in our memories. It can help us understand why in dementia different memories disappear, while others are preserved, says Jonas Olofsson.

Jonas Olofsson will also study people at high risk for dementia and try to understand why scent memory often decay in early stages of dementia. At the same time, he will examine how the scent-based memory training can enhance the brain and be used as a treatment for people with incipient dementia.

Read more about Jonas Olofsson