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Translational Muscle Research Unit

Ola Hansson’s group

Our research

Our research unit is interested in learning how genetic variation influences skeletal muscle function and whole-body metabolism.

We use translational approaches and regularly conduct focused intervention studies in humans. These studies involve taking skeletal muscle biopsies. From the biopsies, muscle stem cells (satellite cells) are isolated and later used for preclinical measurements. In our projects, we combine physiological measurements like VO2max, muscular strength, and glucose tolerance with preclinical readouts, for example RNA and ChIP sequencing, fibre typing, gene knockdown, and exon skipping.

We hope that this research will lead to a new understanding of skeletal muscle function with implications primarily for human health, but also provide answers to fundamental evolutionary questions.


A long-term goal is to establish what the most beneficial exercise program to counteract genetic predisposition to metabolic diseases and type 2 diabetes looks like.

More specifically, we aim to:

  • Elucidate the role of the RAB3GAP2 gene in recovery from exercise.
  • Determine how different modalities of exercise influence skeletal muscle splicing.
  • Develop, test, and implement a new method for skeletal muscle fibre typing.


During the last 100 years, we have gradually reduced our daily levels of physical activity significantly. As less fit, weaker, and fatter, we have become more prone to diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization reports that one in four adults do not meet the global recommended levels of physical activity. According to WHO, people who are insufficiently active have a 20–30 percent increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.

Our recent work has identified exciting opportunities for addressing this problem, ranging from individualised training advice based on genetic information to possible pharmacological interventions for improving health outcomes by exercise. This kind of knowledge will have a profound influence not only on leisure-time physical activity but also on mobilising recovering patients.

Research output

Link to a list of research output by the group in Lund University’s research portal

Team members

Link to a list of team members in Lund University’s research portal

Current major grants

  • The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) Industry-oriented postdoc, 2024-2026
  • Royal Physiographic Society of Lund, 2024
  • The Albert Påhlsson Foundation, 2015-2024
  • The Crafoord Foundation, 2010-2024
Portrait of Ola Hansson. Photograph.


Ola Hansson
Principal investigator
Associate Professor of functional genomics
+46 (0)725 21 46 43
+46 (0)40 39 12 28
ola [dot] hansson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Ola Hansson’s profile in Lund University’s research portal



EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
Link to EXODIAB’s page in Lund University’s research portal

FIMM – Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki University, Finland
Link to webpage with more information about FIMM