Nine of the Faculty of Science research areas, each nationally-leading and having a high international status, have been specially chosen to profile the University. On Mars 31st 2011 the following areas were chosen:

Astrophysics and Particle Physics



Our knowledge of mass and material is incomplete. Many extreme conditions in the universe, for example dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of supernovae and black holes, demand further investigation. Research at Stockholm University, including work using large-scale particle-accelerators (CERN), telescopic and satellite studies, has produced groundbreaking internationally acknowledged results.
Contact: Claes Fransson Department of Astronomy

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Reactions that affect different molecules provide a basic understanding of physics at the atomic level. This research may yield new materials and demonstrate the conditions for life in space. The fundamental characteristics of atoms and molecules are studied in advanced facilities, where they are accelerated to very high speeds and made to collide with electrons. This research has a long history at the University. With the new instrument DESIREE in the Department of Physics, it is possible to accelerate and study atoms in extremely cold environments close to absolute zero temperature. The instrument was developed with funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council. This expertise is crucial to research on how atoms and molecules behave in the cold universe.
Contact: Mats Larsson Department of Physics 

Biological Membranes
Biomembranes filter and steer the transmission of information and vital substances at a cellular level, where membrane proteins play a central role. Our research groups bring together a unique combination of theoretical and experimental competence in this area, and are working together to chart the structure and function of membrane proteins. The results of this research have important implications for the future development of medicines to treat a wide variety of diseases.
Contact: Gunnar von Hejne Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Biological Modelling
Quantitative biomodelling: molecules to populations
Through the use of robust and well-constructed mathematical models, it is possible to predict how biological systems react dynamically to inner or outer changes. At Stockholm University, research on such models is taking place across a wide swathe of areas. Researchers have access to unique experimental and population-based data as well as super-computer facilities, and are currently producing research of the highest international quality.
Contact: Olof Leimar Department of Zoology

Catalysis in Organic Chemistry
Researchers in this field conduct world-leading research into new selective reaction methods. Using different catalysts, reactions are developed that contribute to the production of medicine, for example.



The research covers the development of catalysts based on both organometallic compounds and biological enzymes. New reaction methods are developed for
precise control over what chemical substances are created. Computer models and theoretical chemistry are important components of this research, both for predicting what reactions may occur, and for modifying the catalysts.

One of the starting points in this research is that many chemical substances exist in two "mirror images" with different properties – much like a right and a left hand are similar, yet different. A successful field of research has been the development of catalysts based on palladium and other transition metals for so-called asymmetric synthesis, for making sure that only one molecule of the possible mirror images is created. Such reactions are of interest to the production of medicine, for example. Biological catalysts in the form of various enzymes are also studied and produced using biotechnical methods.
Contact: Jan Erling Bäckvall Department of Organic Chemistry

Climate, Seas and Environment
The most comprehensive research programmes in Sweden on climate and the environment are based at Stockholm University, utilising both contemporary and historical data, as well as promoting internationally-outstanding environmental research on the world’s eco-systems. This research is of crucial importance for the protection of our future climate, environment, and health.
Contact: Johan Kleman Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology

Genome Function and Stability
Genomics and gene expression is major research focus at Stockholm University. Several groups study genome replication and DNA repair in model organisms and human cells at the molecular level. Research on gene expression and its control is also central to the molecular understanding of biology. Molecular biologists at Stockholm University explore the basic mechanisms of gene regulation in animal development, immune responses and cell communication. These studies provide the framework for the development of new applications in agriculture and medicine.
Contact: Neus Visa Department of Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics

Stockholm has historically been a strong environment for geometry studies. The creator of today's coordinate system, for example, the French philosopher and mathematician Descartes, operated in Stockholm in the 17th century. Today's research is carried out by the Geometry group at the Stockholm Mathematics Centre, a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology. The Geometry group conducts basic research in three main areas:

Geometric quantisation tries to understand more about mathematical reality through the study of fundamental connections and structures. This area is linked to several branches of mathematics, including mathematical physics, algebra and number theory.
Point counting makes statistical calculations of points on geometric structures. Point counting on elliptic curves can today be used for encryption, but the University focuses on basic research in the area.
Complex geometry explores objects that are described by equations with complex numbers, such as multitudes and symmetries. There is a link to so-called tropical geometry, where problems of classical geometry are simplified without changing the solution.
Contact: Vacant Department of Matematics

Material Chemistry
The aim of material chemistry is to produce new materials with unique characteristics, through research based on chemical principles. At Stockholm University, researchers are conducting internationally-outstanding research on new catalytic reactions. This knowledge is applied in a hybrid materials project where metal catalysers are encapsulated in porous material, leading to the creation of new types of material, a number of which have been produced by our researchers in recent years.
Contact: Xiaodong Zou Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry