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We do basic science, and study immune responses mediated by T cells.

T cells play a crucial role in providing protection against many infections and developing cancers. In recent years it has become clear that T cells are an extremely diverse group of immune cells, and that different T cell subsets have different properties.

T cell subsets differ with respect to their expression of cell surface receptors, their production of inflammatory and cytotoxic mediators, their anatomic localization, and their migratory behavior. As a consequence, not all T cell subsets play an equal role in the control of infections and tumors, or the pathology associated with inflammatory disorders. What we find particularly interesting is that such diversity exists even among T cells that recognize the exact same antigen. Using a combination of several state-of-the-art single-cell technologies, we study how different CD8 T cell subsets arise, and what mechanisms underlie their specific properties.


Interested in joining?

If you are genuinely interested in science, are fascinated by the basic mechanisms that drive T cell responses, have the social skills to work in a collaborative research environment, and would like to join our team, please get in contact.

Please send an email with a short description of your research interests and your CV to:

Immune responses mediated by T cells

Our research is directed at understanding basic principles and mechanisms underlying the generation, maintenance and consequences of the heterogeneity within the T cell immune response, with a special focus on CD8 T cells.

t cells

Gerlach Lab in the Media

We’re part of the #ImmunityCommunity

 Immunity Community – 25th Anniversary of Immunity



Wallenberg Academy Fellow movie, 2020

Research for better medicines and vaccines against viruses and bacteria


What we work on, 2019

Our research, and the research of all other Wallenberg Academy Fellows explained in easy language


Trends in Immunology, TrendsTalk, 2018

Interview with Carmen Gerlach in the context of an interview series with starting PI’s


Wallenberg Academy Fellow in Medicine 2017

Research description on the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation website
Overview presenting all Wallenberg Academy Fellows 2017
Announcement of the Karolinska Institute (KI) affiliated fellows on the KI website


Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine 2017

Research description & movie on the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation website
Movie and overview presenting all Ragnar Söderberg fellows
Announcement of the Karolinska Institute (KI) affiliated fellows on the KI website



Carmen Gerlach

Fascinated by the biology of the human body, I studied Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University in Leiden, the Netherlands (B.Sc. 2003 & M.Sc. 2005). As I wanted to see something of the world at the same time, I participated in an exchange program with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and performed an internship in parasitology that included field work in rural northern Ghana. My growing interest in immunology led me to perform my Master thesis in the lab of Rienk Offringa and Kees Melief at the Leiden University Medical Center, and during that time I realized that I wanted to continue my research career in this field.

As PhD student in Ton Schumacher’s lab at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam (2005-2011), I got the chance to combine technological development with gaining deeper insights into basic immunological processes. Together with a few colleagues, I developed a cellular barcoding technology that allows in vivo tracking and fate mapping of single naive T cells. Using this technology, I established that while virtually all naive CD8 T cells give rise to both effector and memory cell progeny (Gerlach et al., J.Exp. Med. 2010), individual naive T cells nevertheless mount very distinct immune responses to facilitate robustness of the overall response (Gerlach et al., Science 2013).

During my postdoc in Ulrich von Andrian’s lab at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA (2011-2017), I studied the memory CD8 T cell response in more detail, which led to the delineation of a novel subset, named ‘peripheral memory cells (Tpm)’ that has unique migratory, homeostatic and functional properties (Gerlach et al., Immunity 2016).

To gain a better understanding of the computational aspects involved in the analysis of (immune) cells with the current high-dimensional single-cell technologies, I spent 8 months as visiting scholar in Nir Yosef’s lab at the University of California Berkeley in Berkeley, USA (2017).

Since November 2017, I am an Assistant Professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

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