Team Microbiota-Inflammation

The driving question of my research team is the role of the microbiome in chronic infections like HIV /HCV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Additionally we investigate the mechanisms behind success of microbiome modulation in the clinic – faecal microbial transplantation - which has very good outcome in treating recurrent Clostridium difficile infections.

Our group has previously shown that changes of gut microbiota are extensive during HIV infection and contribute to the inflammation that is pathognomonic for HIV infection. Furthermore, we have recently reported that Elite controllers (rare individuals that can control HIV-1 infection without antiviral treatment) have a gut microbiome that is more like healthy individuals concerning the bacterial composition and functional metabolic potential.

My studies aim to elucidate the complexity of interactions between microbiome and immune system that leads to disease control mechanisms. The research is of translational nature and is highly patient-orientated and we apply the novel knowledge of omics in solving important clinical questions. Besides patient-orientated studies my research interest also include in vitro studies on models of gut inflammation/microbial translocation.

Team Leader

Piotr Nowak

Adjunct senior lecturer
H7 Department of Medicine, Huddinge

Piotr Nowak is an Infectious Disease Specialist since 2014 and currently holds the award of Clinical Research Fellow (2016-) SLL/KI.

Piotr has obtained his MD degree at Warsaw Medical University, Poland and PhD at Karolinska Institutet /Division of Virology (2007).

Team members

Jan Vesterbacka

Affiliated to research
H7 Department of Medicine, Huddinge

Jan Vesterbacka is specialist in infectious diseases and Senior consultant at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital with special assignment at the HIV unit.

Jan is presently a PhD student with focus on microbial translocation and alterations in the gut microbiota in HIV infected patients and their changes during antiretroviral therapy.


High throughput sequencing, metabolomics, integrated system biology, cell cultures


  • Roger Paredes, Microbial Genomics Group at the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, Badalona, Catalonia, Spain.
  • Marius Troseid, University of Oslo
  • Lars Engstrand, Karolinska Institutet

Research support

  • Stockholm County Council
  • Swedish Physicians Against AIDS Foundation
  • Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation Grants
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