Lars Bäckman

Professor, Psychology
+46 8 524 858 40
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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 22 graduate students who have completed their dissertation work and 18 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 375 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 7 edited volumes, and 67 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), we integrate PET and MRI to delineate the interplay among neuromodulation, structural brain integrity, functional activation patterns, and cognition in old age.

Selected publications

Papenberg, G., Jonasson, L., Karalija, N., Köhncke, Y., Andersson, M., Axelsson, J., Wåhlin, A., Riklund, K., Lindenberger, U., Lövdén, M., Nyberg, L., & Bäckman, L. (2019). Mapping the landscape of human dopamine D2/3 receptors with [11C] raclopride. Brain Structure and Function, 224, doi: 10.1007/s00429-019-01938-1.

Papenberg, G., Karalija, N., Salami, A., Rieckmann, A., Andersson, M., Axelsson, J., Lindenberger, U., Lövdén, M., Nyberg, L., & Bäckman, L. (in press).  Balance between transmitter availability and dopamine D2 receptors in prefrontal cortex influences memory functioning. Cerebral Cortex.

Salami, A., Garrett, D. D., Wåhlin, A., Rieckmann, G., Papenberg, G., Karalija, N., Jonasson, L., Andersson, M., Axelsson, J., Johansson, J., Riklund, K., Lövdén, M., Lindenberger, U., Bäckman, L., & Nyberg, L. (2019). Dopamine D2/D3 binding potential modulates neural signatures of working memory in a load-dependent fasion. Journal of Neuroscience, 39, 537-547.

Bäckman, L., Waris, O., Johansson, J., Andersson, M., Rinne, J. O., Alakurtti, K., Soveri, A., Laine, M., & Nyberg, L. (2017). Increased dopamine release after working-memory updating training: Neurochemical correlates of transfer. Scientific Reports, 7, doi: 100.1038/s41598-017-07577-y.

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.

Papenberg, G., Ferencz, B., Mangialasche, F., Mecocci, P., Cecchetti, R., Kalpouzos, G., Fratiglioni, L., & Bäckman, L. (2016). Physical activity and inflammation: Effects on grey-matter volume and cognitive decline in aging. Human Brain Mapping, 37, 3462-3473.

Rypma, B., Fischer, H., Rieckmann, A., Hubbard, N. A., Nyberg, L., & Bäckman, L. (2015). Dopamine D1 binding predicts fusiform BOLD activity during face-recognition performance. Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 14702-14707.

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.

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

Annerholm, Cecilia
+46 8 524 858 37
Augustsson, Erika

Bäckman, Lars
+46 8 524 858 40
Blomgren, Lena Ragert
+46 8 524 858 22
Brehmer, Yvonne

Brozzoli, Claudio

Calderón-Larrañaga, Amaia

Chen, Shuyun

Dahlberg, Lena
+46 23 778439
Darin Mattsson, Alexander
+46 8 524 858 11
Dekhtyar, Serhiy
+46 8 524 858 18
Dintica, Cristina

Dove, Abigail

Ekström, Ingrid

Eyjólfsdóttir, Harpa Sif

Fastbom, Johan

Fischer, Martin

Fischer, Håkan
+46 8 16 23 57
Förare, Jonas

Fors, Stefan

Forslund, Maria

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

Guitart-Masip, Marc

Guo, Jie

Gustavsson, Jonatan

Harber-Aschan, Lisa

Heap, Josephine
+46 8 524 858 13
Helsing Västfjäll, Marie
+46 8 524 858 29
Hooshmand, Babak

Hu, Xiaonan

Jonsson Laukka, Erika
+46 8 524 858 31
Kalpouzos, Grégoria
+46 (0)790682160
Kåreholt, Ingemar
+46 8 524 858 14
Karlsson, Björn

Kelfve, Susanne

Lennartsson, Carin
+46 8 524 858 15
Li, Xin

Li, Yuanjing

Lind, Ellinor
08-524 858 38
079-068 21 65
Lövdén, Martin
+46 8 524 858 28
Marengoni, Alessandra
+39 030 252 8554
Marseglia, Anna

Meinow, Bettina

Nilsen, Charlotta
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Nilsson Horré, Jonna
+46 8 524 858 27
Östergren, Olof

Papenberg, Goran

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

Ripamonti, Enrico

Rizzuto, Debora
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Saadeh, Marguerita

Salami, Alireza
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Salminen Frisendahl, Nathalie

Samrani, George

Schön, Pär
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Sjöberg, Linnea

Sjölund, Britt-Marie
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Speh, Andreja

Straatmann, Viviane

Sundberg, Louise

Suthat, Vanessa
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Tan, Edwin

Thorslund, Mats

+46 70 584 8038
Triolo, Federico

Vetrano, Davide Liborio

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von Strauss, Eva

Wahlberg, Maria
+46 8 524 858 24
Walsh, Amy

Wang, Hui-Xin

Wang, Rui

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

Wu, Jing

Xia, Xin

Xu, Weili
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Yohuang, Maria
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