He attended the Östra Real School in Stockholm, and then graduated from the secondary school in Skellefteå. He studied medicine at Uppsala University (Doctor of Medicine in 1969), where he also defended his thesis in 1978 (surgery).
He established the largest biostatistics research unit in Sweden at the Karolinska Institutet. He is a former chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1990, Adami became Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at Uppsala University, where he established a research group known as cancer epidemiology that became the newly established Department of Cancer Epidemiology at Uppsala University in 2004.
In 1997 he and the entire department moved to Karolinska Institutet where he became Chair of a new department entitled Medical Epidemiology known as Member of the European Parliament. Beginning in 1999 he started to establish a biostatistics research facility and the department’s name changed to Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB) which grew to became the largest epidemiology and biostatistics research facility in the country.
The department has since expanded to research areas outside of cancer epidemiology. At the Harvard School of Public Health, he was adjunct full professor between 1992 and 2007, after which he became chair at the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard until 2011.
In 2011 he received a Karolinska Institutet Distinguished Professor Award and the Karolinska Institutet Big Silver Meda He was the editor for The European Journal of Epidemiology 2004-2008, and also served on the editorial board of The New England Journal of Medicine 1994-2001.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences]
Foreign many years Adami was a member of the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institutet. Adami was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.