Petronella Kettunen


Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Visiting address
Wallinsgatan 6
431 41 Mölndal
Postal address
Wallinsgatan 6
431 41 Mölndal

About Petronella Kettunen

Associate professor Petronella Kettunen received a PhD in medicine (Neuroscience) at the Karolinska Institutet in 2004. She is leading a research group at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, is the co-director of Centre for Cognitive Medicine.. Between 2006 and 2009 she was a postdoc at UCLA and 2015 to 2019 a senior visiting researcher at University of Oxford.

Lab web page:


Read about the research in the Kettunen lab:

Current research in the molecular cognition lab:

1. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and memory

We are studying the molecular and cellular events that underlie learning. To this end, we are using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and combining transgenic and molecular methods, behavioral experiments and in vivo calcium imaging.

2. Pathways underlying memory impairments and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

We are interested in understanding how the Alzheimer’s disease-related peptide, amyloid beta, is preventing memory formation in vivo. We are also studying the processes of amyloid-beta-mediated neurodegeneration.

3. The role of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease

In our preparation, we are able to follow the dynamics of microglia, i.e. the immune cells of the brain. In this way, we hope to increase our understanding of the process of amyloid beta clearance and the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. We are also interested in understanding how microglia are regulating the function of nerve cells and the activity of the brain.

4. Evaluation of welfare parameters for zebrafish and establishment of guidelines for zebrafish housing

In this project with support from Formas (2019 – 2022), the government research council for sustainable development, we will raise and keep zebrafish under different conditions and measure different welfare markers. In this way, we can learn which conditions affect welfare in zebrafish. Our goal is establish guidelines for zebrafish housing which today is lacking.

5. Translational studies of the gene quaking

In collaboration with Lina Emilsson and Elena Jazin at Uppsala University we are investigating how the gene quaking contributes to the development of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disease. We are combining experiments in zebrafish with analyses in human material.

6. Neuronal networks underlying social behavior

In collaboration with the Westberg lab at Sahlgrenska Academy, we are investigating the molecular pathways and transmitter systems underlying social behavior.

Dr Kettunen is also the initiator and organizer of the PhD student course Learning and memory – from synapses to memory tests, 3 higher education credits at University of Gothenburg. Course code SN00016.

Funding sources:

EU •FP7 •Horizon 2020

USA •Grass Foundation

SWEDEN •ALF clinical project grants •Anér Foundation •Alzheimer foundation •Brain Foundation •Capio Research Foundation •Formas •Hedström Foundation •Hellmuth Hertz Foundation •Iris Jonzén-Sandblom and Greta Jonzén Foundation •Wilhelm and Martina Lundgren Foundation •Längmanska Foundation •Markus Borgström Foundation •National Board of Health and Welfare •Nilsson-Ehle donations •O. E. and Edla Johansson Science Foundation •Region Västra Götaland •Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor •Swedish Society for Medical Research •Swedish Research Council •Tore Nilson Foundation for Medical Research •Vinnova •Torsten Söderberg Foundation •Wenner-Gren Foundations •Åhlén Foundation •Åke Wiberg Foundation