Researcher - Surgery

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Arnelo, Urban

Urban Arnelo Urban Arnelo, MD, PhD

General information
General surgeon with special training in upper abdominal surgery and endoscopy. Head of Endoscopic Surgery.
Member of the endoscopy council in Swedish Gastroenterological Association. Board member of Scandinavian Association for Digestive Endoscopy (SADE). Chairman of The Nordic countries Allied Network for Development and Research in Endoscopy (ANDRE), the SADE research committée.

Teaching interest
Upper abdominal surgery and Endoscopy

Research interest
Endoscopic surgery
IAPP in the control of food intake

Del Chiaro, Marco

Marco Del ChiaroMarco Del Chiaro, MD, PhD, FACS

General information
Marco Del Chiaro is Associate Professor and head of the Pancreatic Surgery Unit at Division of Surgery (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet.
He is revisor of the European Pancreatic Club, former member of the UEG future trends committee, member of the Scientific International Advisory Board of the International Association of Pancreatology, member of the EU Pancreas study group. Marco Del Chiaro is also the founder and leader of the Italian Registry for Familial Pancreatic Cancer, of the European Study Group on Cystic Tumors of the Pancreas and of the Nordic Study Group on Cystic Tumors of the Pancreas. He´s member of editorial boards of International scientific journals (i.e. JAMA Surgery) and author of more thnt 600 scientific publications including 87 peer review papers.

Teaching activity
From 2003 to 2010 Marco Del Chiaro was Adjunct Professor of Surgery at University of Pisa (Italy). From 2013 is Associate professor of Surgery at Karolinska Institutet.
During his carrier Marco Del Chiaro was appointed as external teacher, both for undergraduate and graduate students in different Universities (Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery at Malta University, Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University).
He served as mentor for undergraduate and graduate student.
He was supervisor for medical degree thesis, resident thesis and PhD thesis.

Research activity

Marco Del Chiaro focalized his research activity on pancreatic diseases.

  • Cystic Tumors of the pancreas:

They are probably the biggest area of research. Dr. Del Chiaro is currently an International recognized expert and author of the European Guidelines on Cystic Tumors of the Pancreas.

  • Familial pancreatic cancer
  • Locally advanced pancreatic cancer
  • Robotic Surgery
  • Immunotherapy

Dahlstrand, Ursula

Ursula Dahlstrand Ursula Dahlstrand, M.D., Ph.D.

Teaching interest
Abdominal wall surgery, Colorectal surgery

Research interest
Abdominal wall hernia (inguinal, femoral and ventral)

Egenvall, Monika

Monika Svanfeldt Monika Egenvall, Consultant surgeon, PhD

General information
Colorectal surgeon

Teaching interest
Colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and perioperative care

Research interest

  1. Anemia, bleeding, blood transfusion and surgery for colorectal cancer
  2. Colorectal cancer in elderly

Enochsson, Lars

Lars Enochsson Lars Enochsson, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Adjunct Senior Lecturer

General information
Senior consultant at the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden and certified image guided instructor at the Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Training (CAMST). Since 2012 responsible for GallRiks (The Swedish Register for Cholecystectomy and ERCP) a national quality registry for gallstone surgery and ERCP. Member of Technologies and Simulation Committee, vid American College of Surgeons, Division of Education, Accredited Education Institutes.

Teaching interest
Endoscopic surgery
Advanced medical simulation

Research interest
Endoscopic surgery
The effects of Advanced Medical Simulation and coaching on surgical performance

Hammarqvist, Folke

Folke Hammarqvist Folke Hammarqvist, Adj Professor in emergency surgery

General information
Specialist in surgery since 1994, associate professor in surgery 1996, lector and since 2009 adj professor in emergency surgery. Has been working at the Karolinska University Hospital since 1999. Is responsible for emergency surgery and since one year also for a process regarding the development of routines in emergency operations.

Teaching interest
Is teaching in the fields of metabolism, nutrition, emergency surgery and traumatology. Responsible for SK-course in emergency surgery since 2001, and for the KN-course (Clinical Nutrition) since 2002. Is ATLS-instructor and responsible for the ATLS course at Huddinge. Earlier developed a course in safe surgery.

Research interest
Research in the fields of metabolism, nutrition, emergency surgery and traumatology. Is a member of a net-work together with CLINTEC-colleagues from the clinics of nephrology, gynecology and obstetrics, anaesthesia and intensive care and from CMM (Center for Molecular Medicine). The research has a focus on nutrition and metabolism during catabolic conditions such as surgical emergencies with or without inflammation. In the field of surgery common conditions such as surgery and complications of gallstone disease, pancreatitis, appendicitis and ileus.

Gunnarsson, Ulf

Ulf Gunnarsson Ulf Gunnarsson, Affiliated reseacher

General information
Multi disciplinary and multi professional research group with several doctoral candidates and younger supervisors advised by senior researchers. National framework with contributors at most Swedish regions. Regular education meetings for younger researchers with the possibility to participate by video link.

Teaching interest
Colorectal surgery and abdominal wall surgery

Research interest
Colorectal cancer and abdominal wall surgery

Heuchel, Rainer

Rainer Heuchel,Senior Researcher, Head of Pancreatic Research Lab

General information
Rainer Heuchel has done his PhD on transcriptional enhancers at the University of Zuerich/Switzterland under the supervision of Prof. Walter Schaffner. He then joined the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Reseach headed by Carl-Henrik Heldin where his research focussed on PDGF and TGF-beta signaling using genetically engineered mouse models. In 2008 he joined Prof. Matthias Löhr at Karolinska Institutet where he heads the pancreas research lab.

Teaching interest
Molecular biology, cell biology, animal models of human diseases.

Research interests
Inflammatory and cancerous diseases of the pancreas
Acute and chronic pancreatitis are very difficult to treat diseases. Chronic pancreatitis has also been identified as a risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer. We use different mouse models recapitulating these two forms of human pancreatitis in order to better understand the basic biology of these diseases and to identify new targets for drug and treatment development.
According to the Cancerfonds Rapporten 2012, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has raised from the fifth to the fourth most frequent cause of death by cancer in Sweden, although it is not even among the 10 most common forms of cancer. The fact that PDAC has changed place with breast cancer is, however, not due to an increase in PDAC incidence, but is based on the improvements made in the treatment of breast cancer. This indicates the dilemma of PDAC, in that there is no diagnostic biomarker, the diagnosis is late and the tumor, once identified is almost completely resistant towards conventional chemo- and radiation therapy. The increased therapy resistance is mainly due to the enormous fibrotic response (desmoplasia), seen as excessive collagen disposition (comparable to scar tissue), induced by the stromal cells. Therefore the stroma of an "average" PDAC is consisting to at least 50% of tumor stroma (mainly activated stellate cells, macrophages etc.), which is hindering the access of potential anti-cancer drugs to the actual cancer cells.
Many drugs have been developed, which fight cancer cells successfully in 2-dimensional cell culture and xenograft experiments (subcutaneous injection of cancer cells) in nude mice. These approaches have the critical disadvantages that they do not take into account the collagen-rich stroma (2-D culture and xenograft), the lack of a functioning immune system (nude mice) and the wrong placing of the tumor (subcutaneous vs. into the pancreas). In order to circumvent these systematic problems we have developed 3-dimensional stroma-containing cancer cell cultures (avascular minitumors), which are able to identify those drugs, which only work in 2-D culture and thus have very little chance to ever work in a patient. Drugs with proven anti-cancer potential in our 3-D setup are then tested in genetically defined mouse tumor models, which not only mimic the preneoplastic development of human PDAC, but are characterized by the same collagen-rich stroma. These astonishing similarities between mouse and man are most probably based on the fact that the mouse PDAC is induced by the same genes (KRAS, TP53) that have been found mutated in the majority of patients. Besides drug/therapy testing, we use the pre-clinical mouse models also to 1) identify new biomarkers and drug targets, 2) identify and chararcterize cancer stem cells and to 3) characterize the impact of additional mutations in tumor development and metastasis formation.
In conclusion, we have set up a progressive filter strategy for anti-PDAC drugs (2D to 3D in vitro systems followed floowoed by genetically engineered mouse models) which will significantly reduce the number of mice required in drug testing and hopefully increase the efficacy of drugs entering human phase-I clinical trials for PDAC.

Isaksson, Bengt

Bengt Isaksson Bengt Isaksson, Med.Dr.

General information
We are a multidisciplinary research team with three registered graduate students, senior researchers and many young people interested in hepatobiliary surgery. National cooperation network for epidemiology and RCTs, and Scandinavian in SNHCC. We participate actively in international meetings such as UEGW and IHPBA as well as Swedish national meetings.

Teaching interest
Hepatology, Hepatobiliary surgery, Oncologic surgery, Reconstructive biliary surgery, Hepatobiliary malignancies

Research interest
Hepatobiliary surgery, colorectal cancer, liver metabolism, liver function assessment, liver regeneration, cancer cachexia

Löhr, Matthias

Matthias Löhr Matthias Löhr, Professor of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

General information
Matthias Löhr was appointed professor of gastroenterology & hepatology at Karolinska Institutet in 2007, incoming from the Univ. Heidelberg/dkfz. From the times of his MD thesis through PhD and lateron, he concentrated on several aspects of the pancreas, both in clinical medicine, translational and basic sciences. He is heading the Pancreas Research Team at Gastrocentrum and leading the KICancer Diagnose-related network for HPB tumors. For hte European Gastroenterologists (UEG), he is sitting in several committees at the EU in Brussels. He is also leading the Pancreas 2000 program, an educational program for future pancreatologists in Europe.

Teaching interest
All of pancreatology, GI oncology, basic H&P, personal development/ethics

Research interest
Research is concentrated around the pancreas, all the way from clinical pancreatology in hereditary and autoimmune pancreatitis, biomarkers, endoscopic therapy (ERCP) to function tests and early clinical studies in pancreatic cancer with novel therapeutic concepts. The translational and basic research is conducted in the lab (PaCaRes), lead by Rainer Heuchel [LINK]. The group is also member of the Center for Biosciences [LINK]. In the lab, the research concentrates on the connective tissue reaction around pancreatic cancer and its role in chemoresistance. We developed o novel 3D model consisting of pancreatic cancer cels and stromal cells. The research is funded by VR, CF, EU, RaHFo, and others.

Sandblom, Gabriel

Gabriel Sandblom Gabriel Sandblom, Docent, Adjungerad Lektor

Segersvärd, Ralf

Ralf Segersvärd Ralf Segersvärd, Med Dr

General information
Vi are a multidisciplinary research team with two registered graduate students, senior researchers and many young people interested in pancreatology. National cooperation network for proteomics and RCTs, and internationally in the ESPAC's. We participate actively in international meetings such as the European Pancreatic Club (EPC), UEGW and IHPBA as well as Swedish national meetings.

Teaching interest
Pancreatology, Pancreatic surgery , Pancreatic cancer, and bile duct diseases.

Research interest
Pancreatology, Pancreatic surgery , Pancreatic cancer.

Zawacka-Pankau, Joanna

Joanna Zawacka-PankauJoanna Zawacka-Pankau

General Information
Dr Joanna Zawacka-Pankau is Assistant Professor and group leader in the Division of Surgery. She has done her Ph.D. at University of Gdansk, Poland under supervision of Prof. Anna J. Podhajska. Her research focused on activation of p53 tumor suppressor by small molecules and photodynamic therapy of cancer in colon cancer cells. In 2005 she joined Prof. Galina Selivanova Lab from the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology, Karolinska Institutet as a postdoctoral fellow to study the mechanism and outcome of activation of wild-type p53 by small molecules. Then, she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Biotechnology, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, Gdansk, Poland where she focused on exploring the mechanism of tumor suppression upon pharmacological activation of p53 family members in p53 deficient and mutant tumors. 

In 2012 she took up a position of Assistant Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology and in 2016 she joined the Division of Surgery.

Research Description

Elucidating the mechanisms of tumor suppression by p53 protein family members
In the majority of all human cancer cases, the cancer suppressor protein p53 is lost or mutated. TP53 mutations lead to gains of function, which promotes more metastatic and fatal diseases that are extremely difficult to cure. p53 belongs to a family of genes known as the p53 family, which includes p63 and p73. The functional roles of these two other members in cancer have remained unclear due to the existence of multiple isoforms. The main two isoforms can be categorized into the following groups: TA isoforms expressed from promoter P1 and ∆N isoforms expressed from the alternative promoter, P2. The TA isoforms, which resemble p53 in structure, act as tumor suppressors, and the ∆N isoforms, which bind to p53, TAp63, and TAp73 inhibit their function, thus act as oncogenes. Due to the high degree of homology in their DNA binding domains, p53 family proteins recognize the same set of apoptotic target genes and work together to induce apoptosis upon DNA damage. Additionally, unlike TP53, genes that code for TA isoforms are rarely mutated in cancers, which makes them promising targets for the development of small-molecule activators to treat cancers with losses or mutations in TP53 gene, a strategy that is mostly unexplored.

Thus, we aim to aid the development of new therapies for these tumors by a novel approach involving the activation of TA isoforms of the p53 protein family members using genetic and pharmacological approach. In particular, we strive to identify previously unrecognized ‘druggable’ synthetic sick interactions with cellular inhibitors of TA isoforms. We apply already identified by us molecules to explore the mechanism of tumor suppression driven by TA isoforms of p53 protein family with a particular focus on cancer cells’ metabolism. Our approach will allow developing new drug combinations for more effective and personalized treatment of cancer patients with p53 loss or mutations including pancreatic or lung cancers.