Professor Robert A. Harris
Professor Robert A. Harris (Bob) was born in Harpenden in Southern UK in 1966. He conducted a Bsc.Hons undergraduate degree at Portsmouth Polytechnic, majoring in Parasitology in 1987. PhD studies at University College London studying innate immune agglutinins in Schistosoma host snail species with Terry Preston and Vaughan Southgate as supervisors culminated with a thesis defence in early 1991. A 2.5 year postdoc at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in Paul Kaye’s research group ensued, with focus on understanding the intracellular fate of Leishmania spp. protozoans in macrophages. Bob was awarded a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship that permitted his relocation to the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) in the spring of 1994. A postdoc period was spent split between the labs of Anders Örn and Tomas Olsson, in which he studied Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma bruceii protozoan proteins. Bob became an Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in 1999, heralding his establishment as a PI. Bob started to work with autoimmune diseases in 1996 and began study of therapy using live parasite infections or parasite molecules. His research group has developed autoantigen-specific vaccines, defined the effects of post-translational biochemical molecules on autoantigenicity and developed a macrophage adoptive transfer therapy that prevents pathogenesis in several experimental disease models. He became Professor of Immunotherapy in Neurological Diseases in 2013. In recent years research focus has centred on understanding the immunopathogenesis of incurable neurodegenerative diseases, with particular emphasis on development of immunotherapies directed at microglial cells as potential therapeutic paradigms.
Bob Harris CV July 2020
ERIK HERLENIUS GROUP
Development of autonomic control
Immature or deficient autonomic control is a common problem in infants born at a premature age and is of central importance in apneas, secondary hypoxic brain damage and sudden infant death syndrome.
PER ERIKSSON GROUP
For better understanding of disturbances in respiratory control we study early development of cardiorespiratory control, brainstem neural networks and its associations with normal and pathological breathing. The conceptual change introduced by our recent data that endogenous prostaglandins are central pathogenic factors in respiratory disorders and the hypoxic response, open new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues that should significantly better the diagnostics and treatment of newborns and adult patients.
Inflammation is a major culprit in breathing disorders and we hypothesize that by using a newly developed urinary prostaglandin biomarker we can screen, detect and protect against inflammation related breathing disorders.
Our collaborative efforts enable us to move from a clinical problem to molecular understanding of the disease and studies are performed in patients, animal & in vitro models.
Our research is focused on the development of autonomic control with normal and paediatric patients as the target. Autonomic dysfunction in breathing and circulatory control often has its origin in neurodevelopment disorders. Furthermore, our basic research in developmental neuroscience how neural activity and stem cells form activity dependent networks is vital for the development of therapeutic interventions.
CENTER FOR MOLECULAR MEDICINE
INGRID KOCKUM GROUP
Genetic Epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis
Our aim is to identify genetic risk factors for multiple sclerosis, study their function and how they together with life-style risk factors for multiple sclerosis interact.
We are trying to identify novel genetic risk variants for inflammatory diseases with focus on multiple sclerosis, both in collaboration with international consortia (e.g. MultipleMS (https://www.multiplems.eu/) and International Multiple Sclerosis Genetic Consortium (www.imsgenetics.org) and more recently together with deCODE. We are using both traditional genotyping and next generation sequencing in these studies. Currently more than 230 susceptibility variants have been identified for multiple sclerosis, the major ones being in the HLA region. We are attempting to identify which genes these variants control expression for using RNAseq data from samples from multiple sclerosis patients.
We are studying how genetic multiple sclerosis risk variants interact with multiple sclerosis risk life-style exposures such as smoking, and viral infections since this pinpoints which biological processes are acting together to cause multiple sclerosis. Several such interactions have been identified as that between HLA genes and smoking.
Immune response to viral infections such herpes virus infections (e.g. Epstein Barr, Cytmegalo Virus and Human Herpes Virus 6) is altered in multiple sclerosis, it is however unclear if this is a consequence of the disease or if these viral infections themselves affect the risk of developing MS. We are trying to address this by comparing genetic risk factors for serological response to these infections and genetic risk factors for multiple sclerosis.
Because we have access to a uniquely large and well characterized dataset of multiple sclerosis patients we are now embarking on trying to identify genetic and life-style exposure risk factors for progression/severity of multiple sclerosis. One of the stumbling blocks here is how to measure severity and progression. We will use a variety of measures ranging from standard measures such as EDSS, to patient reported outcomes and potential biomarkers such as neurofilament light. This work will be carried out in the MultipleMS project, a Horizon2020 funded project that is coordinated by Ingrid Kockum and Maja Jagodic. In this project we will also aim to stratify patients based on genetic and life-style exposures with the aim of identify subpopulations of patients that respond differently to different treatments in order to achieve personalized medicine for multiple sclerosis. We are also attempting to identify novel biomarkers for multiple sclerosis and these stratified patient populations.
MultipleMS: Multiple manifestations of genetic and non-genetic factors in Multiple Sclerosis disentangled with a multi-omics approach to accelerate personalised medicine
Role of genetic and lifestyle exposures in severity/outcome of multiple sclerosis
Role of virus infections in risk for multiple sclerosis
Genetic control of immune response to viral infections with focus on herpes viruses and JC virus
EU-STANDS4PM: A European standardization framework for data integration and data-driven in silico models for personalized medicine
Manouchehrinia A, Piehl F, Hillert J, Kuhle J, Alfredsson L, Olsson T, Kockum I, Confounding effect of blood volume and body mass index on blood neurofilament light chain levels, Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2020 Jan;7(1):139-143
International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium. Multiple sclerosis genomic map implicates peripheral immune cells and microglia in susceptibility. Science. 2019 Sep 27;365(6460)
Tengvall K, Huang J, Hellström C, Kammer P, Biström M, Ayoglu B, Lima Bomfim I, Stridh P, Butt J, Brenner N, Michel A, Lundberg K, Padyukov L, Lundberg IE, Svenungsson E, Ernberg I, Olafsson S, Dilthey AT, Hillert J, Alfredsson L, Sundström P, Nilsson P, Waterboer T, Olsson T, Kockum I. Molecular mimicry between Anoctamin 2 and Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 associates with multiple sclerosis risk. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Aug 20;116(34):16955-16960
International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium. Low-Frequency and Rare-Coding Variation Contributes to Multiple Sclerosis Risk. Cell. 2018 Nov 29;175(6):1679-1687.e7
Kular L, Liu Y, Ruhrmann S, Zheleznyakova G, Marabita F, Gomez-Cabrero D, James T, Ewing E, Lindén M, Górnikiewicz B, Aeinehband S, Stridh P, Link J, Andlauer TFM, Gasperi C, Wiendl H, Zipp F, Gold R, Tackenberg B, Weber F, Hemmer B, Strauch K, Heilmann-Heimbach S, Rawal R, Schminke U, Schmidt CO, Kacprowski T, Franke A, Laudes M, Dilthey AT, Celius EG, Søndergaard HB, Tegnér J, Harbo HF, Oturai AB, Olafsson S, Eggertsson HP, Halldorsson BV, Hjaltason H, Olafsson E, Jonsdottir I, Stefansson K, Olsson T, Piehl F, Ekström TJ, Kockum I, Feinberg AP, Jagodic M. DNA methylation as a mediator of HLA-DRB1*15:01 and a protective variant in multiple sclerosis. Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 19;9(1):2397.
James T, Lindén M, Morikawa H, Fernandes SJ, Ruhrmann S, Huss M, Brandi M, Piehl F, Jagodic M, Tegnér J, Khademi M, Olsson T, Gomez-Cabrero D, Kockum I. Impact of genetic risk loci for multiple sclerosis on expression of proximal genes in patients. Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Mar 1;27(5):912-928.
Sundqvist E, Buck D, Warnke C, Albrecht E, Gieger C, Khademi M, Lima Bomfim I, Fogdell-Hahn A, Link J, Alfredsson L, Søndergaard HB, Hillert J; International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium, Oturai AB, Hemmer B, Kockum I, Olsson T. JC polyomavirus infection is strongly controlled by human leucocyte antigen class II variants. PLoS Pathog. 2014 Apr 24;10(4):e1004084.