Lars Bäckman


Professor, Psychology
+46 8 524 858 40

lars.backman.1@ki.se
KI Profile page: http://ki.se/en/people/laback

Lars Bäckman
Photo: Ulf Sirborn

Effective 2002 Lars Bäckman holds a professorship at the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet. Lars is af Jochnick professor in the cognitive neuroscience of aging since 2011. This post is based on a donation from the af Jochnick Foundation of 50 million Swedish kronor over a 10-year period. He has previously held professorships at Gothenburg University (1993-1998) and Uppsala University (1998-2002). Lars is a cognitive psychologist by training and received his Ph.D. from the University of Umeå in 1984. He has supervised 20 graduate students who have completed their dissertation work and 17 post-doctoral fellows.

Since 1984 Lars has regularly received funding as principal investigator from one or several of the major research councils in Sweden. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (chairperson in Class IX [Social Sciences] 2010-2015) and the European Academy of Sciences, and received the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in 2008. His scientific work has resulted in 352 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 7 edited volumes, and 66 book chapters.

Lars has served on numerous boards and committees including the Swedish Council for Social Research, the Swedish Sports Research Council, and the Swedish Research Council, where he chaired the priority committee for psychology between 2001-2006. He has been a member of the editorial board for several journals within general psychology, gerontology, and rehabilitation.

His primary research area is cognition in normal and pathological aging, with special focus on memory and the research activities range from large-scale epidemiological studies to experimental brain-imaging work. A major finding in the cognitive-epidemiological research is that people who will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia show deficits in episodic memory, speed, and executive functions several years, if not decades, prior to clinical diagnosis. Intervention studies demonstrate that training of memory and attention results in clear performance benefits and accompanying brain changes among older adults, although the size of improvement is typically reduced relative to younger adults.

In the fMRI work, a recurrent observation is that older adults underactivate task-relevant brain regions during episodic and working memory. PET studies demonstrate marked losses in dopamine functions from early to late adulthood. These losses have been linked to age-related cognitive deficits. In an ongoing longitudinal study (COBRA), PET and MRI are integrated to delineate the interplay among neuromodulation, structural brain integrity, functional activation patterns, and cognition in old age.

Selected publications

Kalpouzos, G.., Garzon, B., Sitnikov, R., Heiland, C., Salami, A., Persson, J., & Bäckman, L. (in press). Higher striatal iron concentration is linked to frontostriatal underactivation and poorer memory in normal aging. Cerebral Cortex. 

Brehmer, Y., Shing, Y.-L., Heekeren, H. R., Lindenberger, U., & Bäckman, L. (2016). Training-induced changes in subsequent-memory effects: No major differences among children, younger adults, and older adults. Neuroimage, 131, 214-225.

Nyberg, L., Karalija, N., Salami, A., Andersson, M., Wåhlin, A., Kaboodvand, N., Köhnke, Y., Axelsson, J., Rieckmann, A., Papenberg, G., Garrett, D. D., Riklund, K., Lövdén, M., Lindenberger, U., & Bäckman, L. (2016). Dopamine D2 availability is linked to hippocampal-caudate functional connectivity and episodic memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 113, 7918-7923. 

Guitart-Masip, M., Salami, A., Garrett, D., Rieckmann, A., Lindenberger, U., & Bäckman, L. (2015). BOLD variability is related to dopaminergic neurotransmission and cognitive aging. Cerebral Cortex, 26, 2074-2083.

Papenberg, G., Lindenberger, U., & Bäckman, L. (2015). Aging-related magnification of genetic effects on cognitive and brain integrity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 506-514.

Persson, J., Rieckmann, A., Kalpouzos, G., Fischer, H., & Bäckman, L. (2015). Influences of a DRD2 polymorphism on updating of long-term memory representations and caudate BOLD activity: Magnification in aging. Human Brain Mapping, 36, 1325-1334.

Pantzar, A., Jonsson Laukka, E., Atti, A.-R., Papenberg, G., Keller, L., Graff, C., Fratiglioni, L., & Bäckman, L. (2014). Interactive effects of KIBRA and CLSTN2 polymorphisms on episodic memory in old-age unipolar depression. Neuropsychologia, 62, 137-142.

Bäckman, L., & Nyberg, L. (2013). Dopamine and training-related working-memory improvement. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37, 2209-2219.

Bäckman, L., Nyberg, L., Soveri, A., Johansson, J., Andersson, M., Dahlin, E., Neely, A. S., Virta, J., Laine, M., & Rinne, J. O. (2011). Effects of working-memory training on striatal dopamine release. Science, 333, 718.

Dahlin, E., Stigsdotter-Neely, A., Larsson, A., Bäckman, L., & Nyberg, L. (2008). Transfer of learning after updating training mediated by the striatum. Science, 320, 1510-1512.

Name / Phone
Agahi, Neda
+46 8 524 858 10
Agerholm, Janne

Angleman, Sara

Annerholm, Cecilia
+46 8 524 858 37
Avelar Pereira, Bárbara
+46 8 524 858 36
Bäckman, Lars
+46 8 524 858 40
Becker, Nina

Berggren, Rasmus

Blomgren, Lena Ragert
+46 8 524 858 22
Brehmer, Yvonne

Brozzoli, Claudio

Calderón-Larrañaga, Amaia

Dahlberg, Lena
+46 23 778439
Darin Mattsson, Alexander
+46 8 524 858 11
de Boer, Lieke

Dekhtyar, Serhiy
+46 8 524 858 18
Ding, Mozhu

Dintica, Cristina

Dohrn, Ing-Mari

Ek, Stina

Ekström, Ingrid

Eyjólfsdóttir, Harpa Sif

Fastbom, Johan

Fischer, Håkan
+46 8 16 23 57
Fors, Stefan

Fratiglioni, Laura
+46 8 524 858 19
Fredborg, William
+46 8 524 858 30
Fritzell, Johan
+46 8 524 858 12
Garzón, Benjamín
+46 700 03 89 66
Grande, Giulia

Guitart-Masip, Marc

Heap, Josephine
+46 8 524 858 13
Heiland, Emerald

Helsing Västfjäll, Marie
+46 8 524 858 29
Hooshmand, Babak

Johansson, Lennarth
+46 8 690 6868
Johnell, Kristina
+46 8 524 858 20
Jonsson Laukka, Erika
+46 8 524 858 31
Kaboodvand, Neda

Kalpouzos, Grégoria
+46 8 524 858 33
Kane, Kimberly

Kåreholt, Ingemar
+46 8 524 858 14
Karlsson, Björn

Kelfve, Susanne

Lebedev, Alexander

+46 76 590 4649
Lennartsson, Carin
+46 8 524 858 15
Li, Xin

Lövdén, Martin
+46 8 524 858 28
Lundkvist, Pär

Mangialasche, Francesca

Marengoni, Alessandra
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Marseglia, Anna

Meinow, Bettina

Morin, Lucas

Nilsen, Charlotta
+46 8 524 858 16
Nilsson, Jonna
+46 8 524 858 27
Olsen, Marie
+46 23 77 84 53
Pan, Kuan-Yu

Pantzar, Alexandra

Papenberg, Goran

Payton, Nicola
+46 8 524 858 35
Persson, Jonas
+46 8 524 858 32
Qiu, Chengxuan
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Rehnberg, Johan

Rizzuto, Debora
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Salami, Alireza
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Samrani, George

Schön, Pär
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Shang, Ying

Sindi, Shireen
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Sjölund, Britt-Marie
+46 652 362 35
Stenfors, Cecilia

Straatmann, Viviane

Sundberg, Louise

Suthat, Vanessa
+46 8 524 858 38
Tan, Edwin

Thorslund, Mats

+46 70 584 8038
Vetrano, Davide Liborio

von Strauss, Eva

Wahlberg, Maria
+46 8 524 858 24
Wang, Zhida

Wang, Hui-Xin

Wang, Rui

Wastesson, Jonas
+46 8 524 858 25
Welmer, Anna-Karin

Xu, Weili
+46 8 524 858 26
Yohuang, Maria
+46 8 524 858 39
Zucchelli, Alberto