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Robert Harris research group


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

Competitive repopulation of an empty microglial niche yields functionally distinct subsets of microglia-like cells.
Lund H, Pieber M, Parsa R, Han J, Grommisch D, Ewing E, et al
Nat Commun 2018 11;9(1):4845

Fatal demyelinating disease is induced by monocyte-derived macrophages in the absence of TGF-β signaling.
Lund H, Pieber M, Parsa R, Grommisch D, Ewing E, Kular L, et al
Nat. Immunol. 2018 05;19(5):1-7

TGFβ regulates persistent neuroinflammation by controlling Th1 polarization and ROS production via monocyte-derived dendritic cells.
Parsa R, Lund H, Tosevski I, Zhang X, Malipiero U, Beckervordersandforth J, et al
Glia 2016 11;64(11):1925-37

BAFF-secreting neutrophils drive plasma cell responses during emergency granulopoiesis.
Parsa R, Lund H, Georgoudaki A, Zhang X, Ortlieb Guerreiro-Cacais A, Grommisch D, et al
J. Exp. Med. 2016 07;213(8):1537-53

Adoptive transfer of immunomodulatory M2 macrophages prevents type 1 diabetes in NOD mice.
Parsa R, Andresen P, Gillett A, Mia S, Zhang X, Mayans S, et al
Diabetes 2012 Nov;61(11):2881-92

Group members


Jinming Han Graduate Student
Robert Harris Research team leader, Professor
Sebastian Lewandowski Associated
Harald Lund Associated
Gunborg Linnéa Palme Graduate Student
Dan Sunnemark Associated
Xingmei Zhang Associated
Keying Zhu Graduate Student