Johan Zelano
Photo: Johan Wingborg

Johan Zelano Group

Research group
Active research
Project period
2020 - ongoing
Project owner
University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Short description

Johan Zelano is Professor of neurology at the Sahlgrenska academy, University of Gothenburg, and a consultant neurologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

About Zelano Group

Johan Zelano is a professor of neurology at Sahlgrenska academy and a consultant neurologist at Sahlgrenska university hospital. The research group belongs to the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, and became a part of the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational medicine in June 2020.

Research goals

The goal of the research is to improve diagnosis, treatment, and health care of persons with epilepsy, with a specific focus on epilepsy acquired in adulthood. From animal models, we know that inflammation and reorganization of brain networks are key aspects of development of epilepsy and an important aim is to identify biomarkers of these processes to allow early detection, diagnosis and in the longer run prevention.

Once epilepsy is established, there is also a need for biomarkers of seizures (treatment effect) and more information on optimal choice of antiepileptic drugs, and the impact of epilepsy on overall prognosis.

Research methods

We do clinical studies collecting blood or csf biobanks linked to clinical follow-up, epidemiological research based on national registers, and neuroimaging. The group has multiple national and international collaborations. Our main current projects include big data analyses of antiseizure medications in register data, and the PREDICT biobank study of epilepsy and epilepsy health care in VGR (see information below)

Johan Zelano - portrait
Photo: Johan Wingborg

Contact Information

Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Box 430
405 30 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Blå Stråket 7, Plan 3, Sahlgrenska , 413 45 Göteborg

Group members


Judith Klecki,


Sarah Akel,
Research area: PREDICT fluid biomarkers

Markus Karlander,
Research area: Epilepsy after traumatic brain injury

Post doc

Saman Ashtiani,
Research area: PREDICT fluid biomarkers, big data

David Larsson,
Research area: PREDICT, poststroke epilepsy

Klara Andersson,
Research area: PREDICT fluid biomarkers

Current Projects

We evaluate the potential of resting state fMRI to identify individuals with acquired epilepsy. Recruitment is closed.

Biomarkers in focal epilepsy
In this biobank study, blood samples from individuals with and without epilepsy are analyzed for biomarkers that can indicate epilepsy and/or seizures. Recruitment is closed.

This VGR-region-spanning epilepsy biobank study will start in 2021 and collect blood samples and conduct yearly surveys from individuals with epilepsy. The main aims are to identify biomarkers or genetic predisposition for epilepsy or severe side effects with particular epilepsy treatments, to study access to and use of epilepsy care, and psychosocial consequences of epilepsy.

Epidemiology of acquired epilepsy
By using national health registers, we study risk factors, prognosis, and treatment of acquired epilepsy in many brain diseases.

Geographic mapping of epilepsy and seizures in Western Sweden
We map the prevalence of epilepsy and incidence of seizures in VGR, to identify underserved areas with regard to epilepsy care.

Digitization tools
We are evaluating an online platform for women with epilepsy offering patient education and therapeutic drug monitoring.

Key Publications

Neurofilament light, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and tau in a regional epilepsy cohort: High plasma levels are rare but related to seizures. Akel S, Asztely F, Banote RK, Axelsson M, Zetterberg H, Zelano J. Epilepsia. 2023. Accepted


Antiseizure medication selection and retention for adult-onset focal epilepsy in a Swedish health service region: a population-based cohort study. Larsson D, Mroue D, Andren K, Zelano J. Epilepsia. 2023. Accepted



Selection and continuation of antiseizure medication in children with epilepsy in Sweden 2007-2020 Håkansson S, Wikström R, Zelano J Pediatr Neurol; (144):19-25. 2023.


CSF biomarkers in patients with epilepsy in Alzheimer's disease: a nation-wide study. Banote RK, Håkansson S, Zetterberg H, Zelano J. Brain Commun. 2022 Aug 17;4(4):fcac210.


Risk and cause of death in post-traumatic epilepsy: a register-based retrospective cohort study. Karlander M, Ljungqvist J, Sörbo A, Zelano J. J Neurol. Jul 19. 2022


Temporal trends of epilepsy in multiple sclerosis. Mahamud Z, Burman J, Zelano J. Acta Neurol Scand. Jul 18. 2022; (146):492-8.


Epilepsy diagnosis after Covid-19: A population-wide study. Westman G, Zelano J. Seizure. Jul 9;101:11-14, 2022.


Epilepsy in patients with congenital heart disease: A nationwide cohort study. Zelano J, Dellborg M, Eriksson P, Mandalenakis Z. Brain Behav. Aug;12(8):e2699, 2022.


Ambulance assignments for epilepsy seizures were more common in socioeconomically weaker areas [in Swedish]. Zelano J, Magnusson C.Lakartidningen. Apr 11;119:21165. 2022


Big data analysis of ASM retention rates and expert ASM algorithm: A comparative study. Håkansson S, Zelano J.Epilepsia. Jun;63(6):1553-1562, 2022


Valproate Restrictions in Sweden and Norway: online survey suggests implementation deficit. Zelano J. Tauböll E, Svedberg L, Tomson T. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. May; 145(5):551-556, 2022.


Association Between Antiseizure Drug Monotherapy and Mortality for Patients With Poststroke Epilepsy. Larsson D, Baftiu A, Johannessen Landmark C, von Euler M, Kumlien E, Åsberg S, Zelano J. JAMA Neurol. Feb 1;79(2):169-175, 2022



Brain injury markers in new-onset seizures in adults: a pilot study. Eriksson H, Banote R, Larsson D, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Zelano J. Seizure. 2021 Aug 22;92:62-67.


Quantitative Proteomic Analysis To Identify Differentially Expressed Proteins In Patients With Epilepsy. Banote R, Larsson D, Berger E, Kumlien E, Zelano J. Epilepsy Research, 2021, Aug;174:1006674


Potential for improved retention rate by personalized antiseizure medication selection: A register-based analysis. Håkansson S, Karlander M, Larsson D, Mahamud Z, Garcia-Ptacek S, Zelezniak A, Zelano J.Epilepsia. 2021 Sep;62(9):2123-2132.


Retention rate of antiepileptic drugs in MS. Mahamud Z, Håkanson S, Burman J, Zelano J. Epilepsy and behavior, 2021, Aug;121(Pt A):108034


Posttraumatic epilepsy in adults: a nationwide register-based study. Karlander M, Ljungqvist J, Zelano J. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Mar 9;92(6):617-21, 2021


An online tool for information to women with epilepsy and therapeutic drug monitoring in pregnancy: design and pilot study. Lisovska K, Gustafsson E, Klecki J, Edelvik Tranberg A, Zelano J. Epilepsia Open, Jun;6(2):339-344, 2021


Valproic acid and socioeconomic associations in Swedish women with epilepsy 2010-2015. Andersson K, Bolin K, Ozanne A, Tomson T, Zelano J. Acta Neurol Scand. Acta Neurol Scand 2021;143: 383-388.


Prehospital lactate levels in blood as a seizure biomarker: A multi-center observational study. Magnusson C, Herlitz J, Höglind R, Wennberg P, Edelvik Tranberg A, Axelsson C, Zelano J. Epilepsia, 2021, Feb;62(2):408-415.


Risk of epilepsy diagnosis after a first unprovoked seizure in dementia.

Mahamud Z, Mononen CP, Brigo F, Garcia-Ptacek S, Zelano J. Seizure, Nov;82:118-124, 2020


Epilepsy after brain infections in adults. Zelano J, Westman G. Neurology, Dec 15;95(24):e3213-e3220, 2020


Risk of stroke after new-onset seizures. Larsson D, Farahmand B, Åsberg S, Zelano J. Seizure, 2020, Dec;83:76-82.


Increased risk of epilepsy in patients registered in the Swedish Dementia Registry. Zelano J, Brigo F, Garcia-Patie S. Eur J Neurol. Jan 27(1):129-135, 2020


Prognostic impact of epilepsy in multiple sclerosis. Mahamud Z, Burman J, Zelano J. Mult Scler Relat Disord. Feb;38:101497, 2020


Acute symptomatic seizures and epilepsy after mechanical thrombectomy. Eriksson H, Löwhagen Hendén P, Rentzos A, Pujol-Calderón F, Karlsson JE, Höglund K, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Rosengren L, and Zelano J. Epilepsy and Behavior, Mar;104:106520, 2020


Socioeconomic outcome and access to care in adults with epilepsy in Sweden: A nationwide cohort study. Andersson K, Ozanne A, Edelvik Tranberg A, E Chaplin J, Bolin K, Malmgren K, Zelano J. Seizure. Dec 3;74:71-76, 2019


Neuronal antibodies in adult patients with new-onset seizures: a prospective study. Zelano J, Axelsson M, Constantinescu R, Malmeström C, Kumlien E. Brain and behavior, Nov 9;11, Nov;9(11):e01442, 2019


High-resolution mapping of epilepsy prevalence, ambulance use and socioeconomic deprivation in an urban area of Sweden. MagnussonC, Zelano J, Epilepsia, Oct; 60(10):2060-2067, 2019


Family history increases the risk of late poststroke seizures. Eriksson H, Asberg S, Widerfelt K, Zelano J. Neurology, Nov 19;93(21):1954-1970, 2019


The provision of epilepsy care across Europe. Zelano J, Kleicki J, Christenstenssen J, Tomson T, Malmgren K. Epilepsia Open, 2019;4: 144-152.


Retention Rate of First Antiepileptic Drug in Poststroke Epilepsy: a Nationwide Study. Larsson D, Åsberg S, Kumlien E, Zelano J. Seizure, Nov 23;64:29-33, 2018


Treatment of epilepsy in multiple sclerosis. Dagiasi I, Vall V, Kumlien E, Burman J, Zelano J. Seizure, Apr 5; 58:47-51, 2018


The risk of epilepsy after a first seizure in multiple sclerosis. Mahamud Z, Burman J, Zelano J. European journal of neurology. Jun; 25(6):854-860, 2018


Epilepsy in Multiple Sclerosis: a nation-wide population based register study. Burman J, Zelano J. Neurology, Dec 12;89(24):2462-2468, 2017


Pre-stroke seizures: a nationwide register-based investigation. Zelano J, Larsson D, Kumlien E, Åsberg S. Seizure, Jul;49:25-29, 2017


Causes of death in poststroke epilepsy. Hansen J, Åsberg S, Kumlien E, Zelano J. PLOS One, Apr 5;12(4):e0174659, 2017


Association between poststroke epilepsy and death: a nationwide cohort study. Zelano J, Redfors P, Åsberg S, Kumlien E. European Stroke Journal, 1(4) 272-278, 2016

Open Positions

There are currently no open positions, but externally funded master students and post docs are always welcome. Do contact Johan Zelano for information on potential projects.