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Yenan Bryceson group

Subsets of lymphocytes, such as cytotoxic T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, can kill infected or neoplastic cells. Individuals carrying mutations in specific genes required for such lymphocyte cytotoxicity may develop life-threatening disorders.

In the most severe cases, these are often triggered by viral infections and elicit uncontrolled immune cell proliferation and hyperinflammatory immune pathology. Otherwise, such mutations may predispose to malignancies.

We have developed methods for quantification of human cytotoxic lymphocyte responses. Our research strives to understand the complex regulation of cytotoxic lymphocyte function in health, infection, and disease in the setting of human genetic variability and environmental factors. Moreover, we aim to develop refined techniques for determining human immune status. We hope that outcomes of this work will include fundamentally new conceptualizations of immunological disorders, basic immunological and genetic insights, and potent, specific immunomodulatory interventions for treatment of disease.

Our laboratory is based at the Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine and employs a wide range of techniques. To gain clinical and scientific insights into human diseases, we collaborate closely with clinicians at Karolinska Institutet, across Scandinavia and the rest of the world.

Keywords: Cellular cytotoxicity, NK cells, cytotoxic T cells, cancer, primary immunodeficiencies, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis


Yenan Bryceson, Group Leader, PhD, Assistant Professor

Yenan received his MSc degree from the University of Oslo, Norway in 2000, and his PhD from Karolinska Institutet in 2008 after after working in the lab of Eric Long at the National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA and receiving support from the National Institutes of Health, Karolinska Institutet Graduate Partnership Program. He is Assistant Professor. His laboratory is located within the Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, skiing, fly fishing and is trying to figure out surfing.

Phone: +46 (0)***********

Jelve Zendegani

Jelve trained a biomedical analyst in Sweden, receiving her Master degree in Biomedicine from Kalmar University in 1996. She has experience in a variety of molecular biological and immunological techniques from work at Pennsylvania State University USA, King’s College London, and Karolinska Institutet. She joined the Bryceson lab in 2014 where she performs analyses of patients with suspected immunodeficiencies, in addition to supporting the every-day function of the laboratory. In her spare time she enjoys baking, photography, travelling and hiking.

Tim Holmes, PhD

Tim received his BSc from the University of Leeds and earned a PhD at the same University in 2009. His current research is focussed on identifying epigenetic differences and transcription factor networks driving cytotoxic cell specification. In his spare time Tim enjoys both skiing and snowboarding and has ambitions to learn to kite-surf!

Irene Gutierrez Perez, PhD

Irene received her MSc degree in chemistry from University of Alicante, Spain, in 2010 and a PhD (summa cum laude with international mention) in Neuroscience from the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante, Spain, in 2015. She joined the Bryceson lab in 2017 and her work focuses on understanding and harnessing NK cell memory. She currently holds a fellowship awarded by the Wenner-Gren Foundations. In her spare time she enjoys reading, doing sports and traveling.

Donatella Galgano, PhD

Donatella received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Siena, Italy in 2015. She joined the Bryceson lab in 2017. Her work focuses on vesicular traffic pathways underlying lymphocyte cytotoxicity and their alteration in the context of primary immunodeficiencies. In her spare time she enjoys reading and listening to rock music, going to the gym and doing yoga.

Saeed Eshtad, PhD

Saeed received his MSc degree in Molecular Life Sciences from Stockholm University, Sweden in 2012. He started his PhD studies in Helleday lab, Karolinska Institutet, and defended his thesis with the title of “Targeting DNA Repair Pathways for Cancer Therapy” in 2017. He is currently interested in studying the pathophysiology of MDS and AML using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. Saeed enjoys playing indoor football and calligraphy in his free time.

Beatrice Zitti, PhD

Beatrice received her MSc degree in Medical Biotechnology in 2013 and her PhD (with honours) in Life Science in 2016, from University of Rome – Sapienza, Italy, after working as a Guest Researcher in the lab of John J. O’Shea at the NIH. She joined the Bryceson lab in 2017. Her work will address mechanisms of activation and maintenance of memory cytotoxic lymphocytes in health and disease. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, good music and doing sports.

Takuya Sekine, PhD

Tak received his PhD in Clinical Medicine Research from Imperial College London, UK in 2016 and joined the Bryceson lab in 2017. His work focuses on identifying and mechanistically understanding novel primary immunodeficiency diseases with susceptibility to viral infection, hyperinflammation, as well as cancer. In his spare time he enjoys watching movies, swimming and discovering nice coffee places.

Heinrich Schlums, PhD student

Heinrich received his MSc degree from the Technical Universtiy of Braunschweig, Germany in 2010. He is currently enrolled in the Experimental Medicine Program at Karolinska Institutet. His studies concern human cytotoxic lymphocyte signalling in health and disease. In his spare time he enjoys picking mushrooms and tasting wine.

Lamberto Torralba Raga, PhD student

Lamberto Torralba Raga received his BSc degree in Biochemistry in 2012 from the University of Valencia, Spain. He then moved to Stockholm to pursue an MSc degree in Biomedicine at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, which he finished in 2014. He is currently enrolled in the Experimental Medicine PhD Program at Karolinska Institutet. His research addresses the immunoregulation of cytotoxic lymphocytes in severe systemic autoimmunity. In his spare time he enjoys reading science fiction, going out for a run and traveling.

Giovanna Perinetti Casoni, PhD student

Giovanna received her BSc in Biotechnology in 2013 from the University of Trieste, Italy. Then, she moved to Trondheim, Norway, and obtained an MSc in Molecular Medicine from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, NTNU, in 2015. She is currently enrolled in the Experimental Medicine PhD Program at Karolinska Institutet. Her studies focus in understanding granule exocytosis in cytotoxic lymphocytes and how pathological mutations impair this process.

In her spare time she enjoys synchronized swimming and traveling, and she hopes to ameliorate her skiing skills.


Current projects in the group encompass studies of cytotoxic lymphocyte signaling and activation, specifically focusing on the mechanisms of granule release, development of improved assays for identification of human immunodeficiencies affecting cytotoxic lymphocyte function, studies of primary immunodeficiencies with high mortality or morbidity related to viral infections, autoimmunity, and cancer, as well as projects aimed at understanding the variability among humans in regards to cytotoxic lymphocyte responses.

These projects employ advanced tools in molecular biology, flow cytometry, microscopy and high-throughput genetics.

Research is performed with a number of national and international collaborators:

  • Matthew Collin, Newcastle University
  • Stephan Ehl, University of Freiburg
  • Kimberley Gilmour, Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Jan-Inge Henter, Karolinska Institutet
  • Eric Long, National Institutes of Health
  • Jeffrey Miller, University of Minnesota
  • Magnus Nordenskjöld, Karolinska Institutet
  • Jens Rettig, University of Saarland
  • Lars Rönnblom, Uppsala University
  • Anna Wedell, Karolinska Institutet
  • Sheila Weitzmann, SickKids Hospital

Financial support

  • European Research Council (Starting Grant)
  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
  • Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Academy Fellow)
  • Swedish Cancer Foundation
  • Histiocytosis Association
  • ALF
  • Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation

Selected publications

Link to all publications (PubMed)

























































Open positions

  • Postdoc position

    We are seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to work full time on a project investigating how cytotoxic lymphocytes, such as NK cells and cytotoxic T cells, kill target cells.

    We offer a unique setting for translational research aimed at understanding causes of pathogenesis in human diseases associated with primary defects in cytotoxic lymphocyte function. The Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine is situated at the Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge with reliable access to human material, including patient samples. Translational research efforts are encouraged.

    This post-doctoral position was created to stimulate basic research on signalling and vesicle trafficking in cytotoxic lymphocytes. The research aims to gain understanding of the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte cytotoxic function and facilitate clinical diagnostic efforts. Successful candidates will be encouraged to pursue their own fundamental research questions and to publish important results in leading journals.

    Requirements include a Ph.D. and/or M.D. within the fields of Immunology, Cell Biology, or Biochemistry with publications in internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals. Less than 3 years postdoctorial training and demonstrated communication skills in English. The ideal candidates will have extensive training in immunology, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and/or bioinformatics. Experience with microscopy, flow cytometry, cell culture, gene knockdown, and/or proteomics is an advantage.

    To apply, submit Cover letter and CV, including publication list and names of three references to Yenan Bryceson.