Professor Sven Pettersson


Professor Sven Pettersson
Professor of Metabolic Disorders
Principal Investigator, Microbiota Host Interactions, Nutrigenomics & Metabolism Laboratory
Laboratory Staff
  • Parag Kundu, Senior Research Fellow
  • Lee Hae Ung, Senior Research Fellow
  • Kim Hye Jin, Senior Research Fellow
  • Ruchi Agrawal, Research Fellow
  • Maisha Reza, PhD, Assistant/Personal Assistant
  • Alicia Kang, Research Assistant/Personal Assistant
  • Katherine Martin Ann, PhD Student
  • Xing Yuli, PhD Student


Germ Free Facility Team Members

  • Elma Llanto Faylon, Research Assistant, Veterinarian
  • Maryann Ang, Research Assistant
  • Norhashimah Binte Sulaiman, Research Assistant
  • Teo Kok Huan, Research Assistant

Professor Sven Pettersson, MD, PhD, is a cell biologist focusing on microbiome mediated mechanisms regulating mammalian host physiology. Ongoing projects seek to decipher microbiome mediated signalling pathways and metabolites that support cell metabolism relevant to neurons and muscle cells. He joined the Lee Kong Chain School of Medicine in 2014 as Professor of Metabolic Disease and was concurrently appointed Scientific Director of the School’s Germ-Free facility in Singapore. In 2015, he was appointed Deputy Director of Cluster 2 at the Centre of Microbial Excellence, SCELSE. The same year, he was also appointed Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Science (CIFAR).

Research Focus

Prof Pettersson believes that microbes are key components in maintaining body functions relevant to health, a paradigm shift from the perception that microbes are only harmful to human health. Prof Pettersson is a strong proponent of the holobiont concept, which considers human beings as a composite of several different microorganisms that together with the mammalian genome collectively determine body, mind and function i.e., your individuality. He is highly recognised for discovering a link between the microbial communities in our gut and the development and function of the brain. His finding that gut microbes could change behaviour and affect key neuronal signalling pathways in animal models has provided important new insights in neurobiological research in CNS and lately also in ENS. While working mostly in animal models, his team also has initiated collaborations with healthcare workers working in areas of neurodegenerative diseases and healthy ageing.  Ultimately, Prof Pettersson hopes to identify better diagnostics and biomarkers that sustain health, prevent frailty and cognitive decline.

  1. ​Thion MS, Low D, Silvin A, Chen J, Grisel P, Schulte-Schrepping J, Blecher R, Ulas T, Squarzoni P, Hoeffel G, Coulpier F, Siopi E, David FS, Scholz C, Shihui F, Lum J, Amoyo AA, Larbi A, Poidinger M, Buttgereit A, Lledo PM, Greter M, Chan JKY, Amit I, Beyer M, Schultz JL, Schlitzer A, Pettersson S, Ginhoux F, Garel S. (2017). Microbiome influences prenatal and adult microglia in a sex-specific Manner. Cell. 172:1-17.
  2. Kundu P, Blache E, Elinav E, Pettersson S. (2017). Our gut microbiome: the evolving inner self. Cell. 171(7):1481-1493.
  3. Korecka A, Dona A, Lahiri S, Tett AJ, Al-Asmakh M, Braniste V, D’Arienzo R, Abbaspour A, Reichardt N, Fujii-Kuriyama Y, Rafter J, Narbad A, Holmes E, Nicholson J, Arulampalam V, Sven Pettersson. (2016). Bidirectional communication between the Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) and the microbiome tunes host metabolism. NPJ Biofilms Microbiome. 2: 16014.
  4. Kundu P, Genander M, Strååt K, Classon J, Ridgway RA, Tan EH, Björk J, Martling A, van Es J, Sansom OJ, Clevers H, Pettersson S, Frisén J. (2015). An EphB signaling pathway is associated with intestinal tumor initiation and growth. Sci Transl Med. 7(281): 281ra44.
  5. Kabouridis PS, Lasrado R, McCallum S, Song HC, Snippert HG, Clevers H, Pettersson S, Pachnis V. (2015). Microbiota controls the homeostasis of glial cells in the gut lamina propria. Neuron. 85(2): 289-295.
  6. Braniste V, Al-Asmakh M, Kowal C, Anuar F, Abbaspour A, Toth M, Korecka A, Bakocevic N, Ng LG, Kundu P, Gulyas B, Halldin C, Hultenby K, Nilsson H, Hebert H, Volpe BT, Diamond B, Pettersson S. (2014). The indigenous gut microbiota regulate permeability of the blood-brain barrier in mice. Sci Transl Med. 6(266): 266er7.
  7. Kundu P, Pettersson S. (2014). Immunology: Mammalian watchdog targets bacteria. Nature. 512(7515):377-378.
  8. Kundu P, Ling TW, Li Y, D’Arienzo R, Bunte RM, Berger T, Arulampalam V, Chambon P, Mak TW, Wahli W, Pettersson S. (2013). Absence of intestinal PPARgamma aggravates acute infectious colitis in mice through a Lipocalin-2 dependent pathway. PloS Pathog. 10(1):e1003887. 
  9. Nicholson JK, Holmes E, Kinross J, Burcelin R, Gibson G, Jia W, Pettersson S. (2012). Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions. Science. 336(6086):1262-1267.
  10. Diaz Heijtz R, Wang S, Anuar F, Qian Y, Björkholm B, Samuelsson A, Hibberd ML, Forssberg H, Pettersson S. (2011). Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 108(7):3047-3052.