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Members Björkström Group

Niklas Björkström, Group Leader, MD PhD, Associate Professor

Niklas received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Karolinska Institutet in 2011. He completed postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA). Niklas established an independent laboratory at CIM, Karolinska Institutet in 2013 and is an associate professor at Karolinska Institutet since 2016. His research focuses on human tissue-resident NK cells with a particular emphasis on uterine and liver NK cells. In his spare time he enjoys fly fishing and playing golf.

Martin Cornillet, PhD, postdoctoral fellow

Martin finished his PhD in 2014 that concerned the study of specific autoantibodies in Rheumatoid arthritis (Toulouse, France). He is now focusing on the development of Mass Cytometry to analyse immune cells, and particularly NK-cell phenotype and function in different contexts relating to liver physiology/pathophysiology. He likes cooking, practicing sports (karate, tennis, football...) and is interested in art and music discovering.

Lena Berglin, PhD, postdoctoral fellow

Lena received her Masters degree in Molecular Cell Biology from Södertörns Högskola, Huddinge, in 2007 and her PhD from Karolinska Institutet in 2015. Her work focuses on understanding how the immune system contributes to the pathogenesis of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). One of the goals is to use immunohistochemistry to characterize immune cells and inflammatory proteins in livers from PSC patients. In her spare time she likes to be in the countryside, to cook and to read crime novels.

Martin Ivarsson, PhD, postdoctoral fellow

Martin received his MScEng from Uppsala University and his PhD from Karolinska Institutet in 2014. 2015-2016 he's conducting postdoctoral studies in the Moffett-group at University of Cambridge, UK. Martin is affiliated with the Björkström-group at Karolinska Institutet and his interest relates to uterine and decidual NK cells. When not at work, he's a dedicated Manchester United-fan.

Christine Zimmer, PhD student

Christine received her Masters degree in Molecular Life Sciences from Stockholm University, Stockholm, in 2013. She is interested in understanding the capacity of natural killer cells to recognize and eliminate cholangiocarcinoma cells. When not at work, she enjoys sports, especially running and hiking.

Benedikt Strunz, MD, PhD-student

Benedikt graduated 2014 as a MD and additionally accomplished a Bachelor's degree in Biology (University of Tuebingen, Germany). His work so far was on the influence of chemotherapeutic drugs on NK cell reactivity, whereas now he focuses on the role of liver resident NK cells in HCV infected patients as well as phenotyping uterine NK cells. In his spare time he likes sports like cross country skiing and rowing, enjoys music and jazz concerts and loves the cinema.

Julia Hengst, PhD student

Julia received her Masters degree in Molecular Medicine from the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany in 2012. She is currently a PhD-student out of Hannover Medical School through the International Research Training Group Program. Her research focus is NK-cells during hepatitis virus infections as well as methods development for analysis of limited numbers of immune cells by flow cytometry. When not at work, she enjoys sports, especially soccer and gymnastics.

Natalie Stiglund, MD, PhD-student

Natalie received her M.D. from Karolinska Institutet in 2016 and is currently a PhD-student. She is studying the role of NK-cells in fatty liver disease and development of steatohepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, reading, and travelling.

Jonna Bister, MD-student. E-post:

Jonna is currently attending medical school at the Karolinska Institutet and will finish in 2017. She is doing her medical thesis in the group studying NK cell development in the human uterus.

Previous members
Sanna Nyström, now postdoc at University of Tokyo
Kimia Maleki, master-student, now PhD-student at Karolinska Institutet