Pernilla Wittung Stafshede

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede obtained a PhD in Physical Chemistry 1996 at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. During 1997–1998 she did a postdoc at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. In 1999 she started her independent career as an assistant professor in Chemistry at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. She received tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 2002. In 2004 she moved to Rice University, Houston, Texas, as associate professor with tenure in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology department.
After 5 years, in 2008, Wittung-Stafshede returned to Sweden and became full professor in Chemistry at Umeå University in the north of Sweden. She spent 7 years there before moving to Chalmers in Gothenburg in 2015 to the then newly founded Biology and Biological Engineering department (now department of Life Sciences); there acting as head of the Chemical Biology division for the first three years. Overall, her research is dominated by protein folding/misfolding biophysical studies using an array of biophysical tools. She has made pioneering discoveries around the role of metals in protein folding, macromolecular crowding effects on folding reactions, as well as on mechanisms of copper-transport proteins. Her current focus is directed towards roles of copper transport proteins in cancer and cross-reactivity as a modulator of amyloid formation.
In 2016, Wittung-Stafshede was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences (chemistry class) and in 2020 she joined the Nobel Prize in Chemistry committee. In 2020, she was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Biotechnology division). For more than a decade now, she has been engaged in the Biophysical Society in various leadership roles.
Over the years, Wittung-Stafshede has trained many young scientists including numerous women and minorities. In 2019, she launched the 10-year gender equality program Genie (Gender Initiative for Excellence) at Chalmers ( which aims to increase research excellence via faculty recruitments and academic cultural/system changes. She was the leader for Genie during the first four years, 2019 to 2022. Over the years, she has become a spokesperson for gender equality, in Sweden and internationally, and she often gives seminars on this topic. Wittung-Stafshede has published over 260 peer-reviewed scientific articles and over 45 popular texts.

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