Professor Sven Pettersson

Visiting Professor 

Email: [email protected] 
Research Programme: Microbiome Medicine​


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 Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) in 2014 as a Professor of Metabolic Disease. He is also the Scientific Director of the School’s ​Germ-Free facility in Singapore. Since 2015, he has been affliated with the Centre of Microbial Excellence, SCELSE. The same year,  he was also appointed Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Science (CIFAR).​​ Currently, he is a visting professor at LKCMedicine 

Research Focus

​​Prof Pettersson believes that microbes are key components in the developtment and maintanence of body functions, including the brain. There is 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 the functions of the body and mind. 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 modify 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. His current work aims to identify molecular mechanisms underlying gut microbe to brain communication with a strong focus on neurogenesis, memory and learning. While working mostly in animal models, his team also has initiated collaborations with healthcare workers working in areas of healthy ageing. Ultimately, Prof Pettersson hopes to identify better diagnostics and biomarkers that sustain health, prevent frailty and cognitive decline.
Selected Publications

Kundu P., Lee H.U., Garcia-Perez I., Tay E.X.Y, Kim H., Faylon L.E., Martin K.A., Purbojati R., Drautz-Moses D.I., Ghosh S., Nicholson J.K., Schuster S., Holmes E., Pettersson S. (2019). Neurogenesis and prolongevity signaling in young germ-free mice transplanted with the gut microbiota of old miceScience Translational Medicine, Nov 13;11(518). doi:  10.1126/scitranslmed.aau4760.

Reza M.M., Finlay B.B., Pettersson S. (2019). Gut microbes, ageing & organ function: a chameleon in modern biology?EMBO Molecular Medicine11(9):e9872. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201809872.​

Geva-Zatorsky N., Elinav E., Pettersson S. (2019). When Cultures Meet: The Landscape of "Social" Interactions between the Host and Its Indigenous MicrobesBioEssays, 41(10):e1900002. doi: 10.1002/bies.201900002. 

Lahiri S., Kim H., Garcia-Perez I., Reza MM., Martin K.A., Kundu P., Cox L.M., Selkrig J., Posma J.M., Zhang H., Padmanabhan P., Moret C., Gulyás B., Blaser M.J., Auwerx J., Holmes E., Nicholson J., Wahli W., Pettersson S. (2019). The gut microbiota influences skeletal muscle mass and function in miceScience Translational Medicine24;11(502). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan5662. 

Huang Z, Wang J, Xu X, Wang H, Qiao Y, Chu WC, Xu S, Chai L, Cottier F, Pavelka N, Oosting M, Joosten LAB, Netea M, Ng CYL, Leong KP, Kundu P, Lam KP, Pettersson S. Wang Y. (2019). Antibody neutralisation of microbiota-derivedcirculating  peptidoglycan dampens inflammation and amelioratesautoimmunityNature Microbiology, 4(5):766-773. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0381-1.​

Thion M.S., Low D., ...Pettersson S. et al. (2017). Microbiome influences prenatal and adult microglia in a sex-specific mannerCell. 172(3):500-16.

Kundu P., Blache E., ...Pettersson S. (2017). Our gut microbiome: the evolving inner selfCell. 171(7):1481-93.

Nicholson JK, Holmes E, ...Pettersson S. (2012). Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions. Science. 336(6086):1262-67.

Diaz Heijtz R, Wang S, ...Pettersson S. (2011). Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behaviorProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108(7):3047-52.