• About
Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset

Aisha S. Ahmed Team

Clinical and Experimental Orthopedic Research


Clinical and experimental research on mechanisms of pain, inflammation, and tissue regeneration in chronic musculoskeletal disorders. Our research combines computational and biochemical approaches to identify predictive biomarkers for patient benefit.

Research Projects/Areas

Pain and inflammation in Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Chronic pain and pathological joint changes associated with OA are a leading cause of chronic disability and major health concern globally.

We are identifying biological markers of pain associated with joint to brain pain signalling, providing details of pain processes in chronic OA. By using proteomic approaches combined with patient’s clinical data we are unraveling specific proteins and key signaling pathways involved in pain pathology. Potential biomarkers are further validated by biochemical methods and their regulation by the proteasome system is studied in in-vivo and in-vitro models. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis for OA pathology would help to develop patient-specific treatments to be implemented at an early stage of the disorder.

Although, the likelihood of developing OA increases with age, female sex is a significant contributing factor. One of our research aims is to unravel sex-related factors and signaling pathways in OA pathophysiology.

Connective tissue injuries and healing

Connective tissues such as tendon, ligament, menisci, often take longer time to heal due to their relative paucity of innervation and micro vascularity. Patients who sustain tendon and ligament injuries often exhibit long term impaired outcomes and one year after injury many patients still report pain, fatigue, and limited function in the affected joint with high individual variations.

We are identifying potential biomarkers and investigating their role in transition from the inflammatory to proliferative healing phase in injured human connective tissues to strengthen their regenerative role.

Our research also focuses on heterogeneity in healing outcomes for the development of individualized treatment. By assessing patients for their good vs poor outcome risk, we are identifying biomarkers associated with healing outcome. By using Mass Spectrometry on clinical samples, cell-based injury models and molecular techniques, our aim is to identify patient groups more susceptible to unsatisfactory healing and need interventions to augment the healing process.

Team Leader

Aisha Siddiqah Ahmed, Associate Professor, aisha.ahmed@ki.se, phone: +46735056601

Team members

Amina Hamzatova, Research Student, gamzatova.a.g@gmail.com

Junyu Chen, MD. PhD, Junyu.chen@ki.se

Paul W. Ackermann, Professor and Senior physician, paul.ackermann@regionstockholm.se, Paul Ackermann is an Orthopedic Surgeon and expert on connective tissue wound healing. Experience of clinical studies and implementation of new therapies in clinical implementation.


Xinjie Wu, MD PhD

Miral Meriet Tadros


Swedish Rheumatism Association

The Research Council for Sport Science

King Gustav V:s 80 years Foundation Sweden

PhD theses from the lab

Novel biomarkers in regulating human dense connective tissue repair

By Junyu Chen, MD PhD, 2022

Selected publications

eEF2 improves dense connective tissue repair and healing outcome by regulating cellular death, autophagy, apoptosis, proliferation and migration. Chen J, Wang J, Wu X, Simon N, Svensson CI, Yuan J, Hart DA, Ahmed AS#, Ackermann PW#. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Apr 21;80(5):128.

Complement factor D as a predictor of Achilles tendon healing and long-term patient outcomes. Chen J, Wang J, Hart DA, Ahmed AS#, Ackermann PW#. FASEB J 2022, 36, e22365.

Elevated inflammatory proteins in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with painful knee osteoarthritis are associated with reduced symptom severity. Palada V, Ahmed AS, Freyhult E, Hugo A, Kultima K, Svensson CI, Kosek E. J Neuroimmunol. 2020 Dec 15;349:577391.

NF-κB-Associated Pain-Related Neuropeptide Expression in Patients with Degenerative Disc Disease. Ahmed AS, Berg S, Alkass K, Druid H, Hart DA, Svensson CI, Kosek E. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 3;20(3):658.

Activation of NF-κB in Synovium versus Cartilage from Patients with Advanced Knee Osteoarthritis: A Potential Contributor to Inflammatory Aspects of Disease Progression. Ahmed AS, Gedin P, Hugo A, Bakalkin G, Kanar A, Hart DA, Druid H, Svensson C, Kosek E. Immunol. 2018 Oct 1;201(7):1918-1927.

Differences in neuroimmune signalling between male and female patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Kosek E, Finn A, Ultenius C, Hugo A, Svensson C, Ahmed AS. J Neuroimmunol. 2018 Aug 15; 321, 49-60.

Suppression of pain and joint destruction by inhibition of the proteasome system in experimental osteoarthritis. Ahmed AS, Li J, Erlandsson-Harris H, Stark A, Bakalkin G, Ahmed M. Pain. 2012; 153(1): 18-26.

About CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) is a foundation instituted by the Stockholm County Council (Region Stockholm). CMM is at the heart of a close partnership with the Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, fueling advancements in biomedical and clinical research.


Center for Molecular Medicine Foundation, org. nr. 815201-3689

Karolinska University Hospital L8:05

Visionsgatan 18

171 76 Stockholm, Sweden


Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset