Research group Physical Activity and Brain Health, E-PABS

In collaboration with industry, health care and schools, we conduct research on how patterns of activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep can support mental well-being and mental abilities in different phases of life.


We want to understand the underlying physiological and psychological mechanisms, how patterns of physical activity relate to brain health in specific parts of the population, and how physical activity can be promoted in a sustainable way at school, work and leisure. This applies to both people who are currently doing well and those who are in need of rehabilitation.


We want to develop knowledge about when in life, how, and under what conditions physical activity can benefit or disadvantage brain function and health.

Our research can be used to make life better for people. Therefore, we develop new knowledge in effective and sustainable collaborations with partners who can utilise the results of research by improving their services, products and working methods.

Research questions

  • What are the pathways of how everyday physical activity and exercise affect the brain and its function?
  • How should effective, sustainable and realistic behavioural change interventions be designed and implemented in schools, health care and workplaces?

Research themes

The research at the Physical Activity and Brain Health research group is based on three themes.

We want to identify the pathways of how everyday activity and exercise affect the brain and its function.

Within the theme, we develop knowledge on the neurophysiological effects of physical activity, as well as on the intensities and patterns of physical activity needed to promote cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and biochemical pathways for brain health, in individuals with or without neurological or psychiatric health conditions.

Principal Investigator

Maria Ekblom

Physical activity epidemiology investigates how ill health and health relate to the extent and type of physical activity in large groups of people. We are also interested in how hereditary, psychological, social, and physical factors correlate with how much people move physically.

We also conduct method development on how best to measure the extent of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in large groups and obtain contextual information about the circumstances under which people move.

Principal Investigator

Örjan Ekblom

The research within the theme aims to develop and evaluate effective, sustainable and realistic behavioural change interventions in school contexts and workplaces.

The project includes a review and review of the research literature regarding evidence-based behavior change techniques. Based on this review and workshops with the business partners, interventions (efforts to change) will be developed in collaboration with the business partners and evaluated in smaller pilot projects to test feasibility.

Principal Investigator

Gisela Nyberg

Our researchers

  • Susanne Andermo, Affiliated Researcher, PhD in Medical Science
  • Carla Nooijen, Affiliated Researcher, PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine.
  • Eva Norén Selinus, Affiliated Researcher, PhD, Senior Consultant in Child Psychiatry
  • Amanda Lönn, Affiliated Researcher, PhD in Sport Science
  • Emerald Heiland, Affiliated Researcher, PhD in Medical Science
  • Emil Bojsen-Møller, Affiliated Researcher, PhD in Sport Science


We have gratefully received support for our research on physical activity, sustainability and brain health from:

  • The Knowledge Foundation
  • The Swedish Research Council
  • Skandia Ideas for Life
  • The Åke Wiberg Foundation
  • Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences
  • Partner companies and organisations (see below)

On this page


  • Maria Ekblom´s profilbildProfessor, Deputy Head of Department, Director of Doctoral StudiesMaria 8-120 53 736
  • Elisabeth Möller´s profilbildProject CoordinatorElisabeth Mö 8-120 53 896
Last modified:25 Apr 2024