About the Research Group Leader
Robert "Bob" 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 Institute in 1999, marking 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.
Current research interests centre on developing novel immunotherapies for neurodegenerative diseases, with focus on ALS and Alzheimer's disease. Cell therapies based on adoptive transfer of myeloid cells or Amniotic Epithelial cells aim to modulate the harmful effects of microglia activation. Additional approaches include targeting microglia with particles containing cargoes that will modulate microglia activation states, and current projects develop DNA origami constructs and nanoparticles for this purpose.