Robert Harris research group

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We aim to apply novel therapies derived from experimental studies into the human clinical setting.

Our Research

The Applied Immunology group is dedicated to investigation of the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), type I diabetes (T1DM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and developing new therapies for use in these diseases. These represent some of the most common diseases in the Western World, and constitute a tremendous burden to health budgets worldwide. Currently used therapies have only a modest benefit for most patients, and the need for new therapeutic interventions is thus paramount. Through study of experimental diseases we aim to apply this knowledge to the human clinical situation.

We conduct a strongly interconnected research programme aimed at using knowledge gained from projects in basic science to applications in a clinical setting. These aims can be summarised as:

  • Characterization of the immune mechanisms underlying autoimmune diseases
  • Defining the biochemical and immunological basis of the autoantigenicity of self proteins
  • Development of novel therapies to treat autoimmune diseases

Another major aim is the training of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. We contribute to teaching in the undergraduate programs for Allergy, Immunology & Inflammation, Neuroscience and Biomedicine. Students and clinicians are welcome to conduct projects in the laboratory. The research laboratory is located in the Centre for Molecular Medicine (CMM) at the Karolinska Hospital. Within CMM, we collaborate with research groups in rheumatology, immunology, cell biology and other disciplines. We are also engaged in active collaborations with research groups at MTC, Huddinge Hospital and several international institutions.

Research projects

  • Post-translational modification of myelin proteins in pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Personalised myeloid cell therapy for treatment of chronic autoimmune diseases
  • Myeloid cells in treatment of glioblastoma multiformes brain tumours

Selected publications

Sweet and sour--oxidative and carbonyl stress in neurological disorders.
Harris R, Amor S
CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets 2011 Feb;10(1):82-107

TNF production in macrophages is genetically determined and regulates inflammatory disease in rats.
Gillett A, Marta M, Jin T, Tuncel J, Leclerc P, Nohra R, et al
J. Immunol. 2010 Jul;185(1):442-50

Characterization of Multiple Sclerosis candidate gene expression kinetics in rat experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Thessen Hedreul M, Gillett A, Olsson T, Jagodic M, Harris R
J. Neuroimmunol. 2009 May;210(1-2):30-9

Differential regulation of central nervous system autoimmunity by T(H)1 and T(H)17 cells.
Stromnes I, Cerretti L, Liggitt D, Harris R, Goverman J
Nat. Med. 2008 Mar;14(3):337-42

Malondialdehyde modification of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein leads to increased immunogenicity and encephalitogenicity.
Wållberg M, Bergquist J, Achour A, Breij E, Harris R
Eur. J. Immunol. 2007 Jul;37(7):1986-95

Group members

Bodo LippitzAssociated
Dan SunnemarkAssociated
Harald LundPhD student, Graduate Student
Jinming HanAssociated
Kelly Lynne ShafferGraduate Student
Melanie PieberPhD student, Graduate Student
Robert HarrisResearch team leader, Professor
Roham ParsaPhD student
Xingmei ZhangAssistant professor