Eduardo Villablanca group

Immunology and allergy

Associate professor, Research group leader

Eduardo Villablanca

Principal researcher
K2 Department of Medicine, Solna

Immune cell homeostasis at the intestinal barrier, PI Eduardo J. Villablanca

Czarnewski P., et al, Nutrients, 2017.

Research interests

Mucosal Immunology, Oral tolerance, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is a manifestation of an inappropriate inflammatory response to intestinal microorganisms in genetically susceptible individuals. IBD is a multifactorial complex disease, which is believed to originate from anomalous balance between tolerogenic and inflammatory immune responses against “self” antigens. Although substantial progress has been made over the last decade in defining the genetic architecture of IBD, there is currently no cure likely due to a yet incomplete understanding of the causes leading to IBD.

Research focus

Our lab is seeking to understand the genetic, cellular and environmental contribution towards inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) susceptibility. We have developed a research program that integrates cellular immunology, bioinformatics and the creation of novel in vivo models to ultimately interrogate the function of IBD-associated polymorphisms as well as to study host-microbiota interactions. In particular, we are trying to understand how deregulation of intestinal immune homeostasis might lead to IBD and trying to discover the function of IBD-risk genes identified by Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). To discover the function of IBD-risk genes, we focus on biological processes that are involved at the initiation (priming of adaptive immune responses), progression (chronic inflammation) or resolution (tissue repair) of IBD. To translate genetic mutations to function, we have developed an innovative pipeline that integrate bioinformatics and animal models, including zebrafish and mouse, to ultimately validate candidate mutations in human tissues by using organoids. We aim to transform the way in which the gene-environment interactions are currently being investigated.

Group members

Srustidhar Das, PhD / Postdoc (2015- )

Oscar Diaz Perez, PhD student (2016- )

Rebeca Cardoso, PhD student (2017- )

Nicola Gagliani, Assistant Professor (2017-  )

Rodrigo Morales, PhD / Postdoc (2018- )

Kumar P. Tripathi, PhD / Postdoc (2018- )

Xinxin Luo, PhD student (2020-  )

Katja Selin, PhD student (2020-  )

Gustavo A. Monasterio Ocares, DDS, PhD / Postdoc (2020- )

Chiara Sorini, PhD / Postdoc (2016- )

Francisca Castillo, Research assistant (2020-  )

Jennifer Fransson, Bioinformatician 2020-  )

Chira Zagami, Student (2020-  )

Sanghita Benerjee, Postdoc (2020-  )


Sara Fernandez, Research tech (2015)

Paulo Czarnewski, PhD / Postdoc (2015)

Suvi Karvinen, Master student (2017)

Muksheed Shaik, Research tech (2017)

Anders Appelblom, Master student (2017)

Shuangjia Xue, Master student (2017)

Cristian Doñas, PhD / Postdoc (2019)

Martina Parigi, PhD student (2020)

Annika Frede, PhD / Postdoc (2020)

Roham Parsa, PhD / Postdoc (2020)

Santoshnisikranth Inampudi, Research tech (2020)

Group Villablanca lab 2019.

Villablanca group

Group Villablanca lab 2016.

Left to right: Srustidhar Das, Martina Parigi, Eduardo J. Villablanca, Chiara Sorini, Oscar Perez, Paulo Czarnewski.

Photo: Casper Wahlund

Video link


Selected publications

Link to all publications on PubMed here.

Tumor-mediated liver X receptor-alpha activation inhibits CC chemokine receptor-7 expression on dendritic cells and dampens antitumor responses.
Villablanca EJ, Raccosta L, Zhou D, Fontana R, Maggioni D, Negro A, et al
Nat. Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):98-105

Gut-tropic T cells that express integrin α4β7 and CCR9 are required for induction of oral immune tolerance in mice.
Cassani B, Villablanca EJ, Quintana FJ, Love PE, Lacy-Hulbert A, Blaner WS, et al
Gastroenterology 2011 Dec;141(6):2109-18

Gut immune maturation depends on colonization with a host-specific microbiota.
Chung H, Pamp SJ, Hill JA, Surana NK, Edelman SM, Troy EB, et al
Cell 2012 Jun;149(7):1578-93

MyD88 and retinoic acid signaling pathways interact to modulate gastrointestinal activities of dendritic cells.
Villablanca EJ, Wang S, de Calisto J, Gomes DC, Kane MA, Napoli JL, et al
Gastroenterology 2011 Jul;141(1):176-85

Vitamin A and immune regulation: role of retinoic acid in gut-associated dendritic cell education, immune protection and tolerance.
Cassani B, Villablanca EJ, De Calisto J, Wang S, Mora JR
Mol. Aspects Med. 2012 Feb;33(1):63-76

β7 integrins are required to give rise to intestinal mononuclear phagocytes with tolerogenic potential.
Villablanca EJ, De Calisto J, Torregrosa Paredes P, Cassani B, Nguyen DD, Gabrielsson S, et al
Gut 2014 Sep;63(9):1431-40

Breast Milk and Solid Food Shaping Intestinal Immunity.
Parigi SM, Eldh M, Larssen P, Gabrielsson S, Villablanca EJ
Front Immunol 2015 ;6():415

Mechanisms of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Peloquin JM, Goel G, Villablanca EJ, Xavier RJ
Annu. Rev. Immunol. 2016 05;34():31-64

Intestinal epithelial cell-specific RARα depletion results in aberrant epithelial cell homeostasis and underdeveloped immune system.
Jijon HB, Suarez-Lopez L, Diaz OE, Das S, De Calisto J, Parada-kusz M, et al
Mucosal Immunol 2018 05;11(3):703-715

Flt3 ligand expands bona fide innate lymphoid cell precursors in vivo.
Parigi SM, Czarnewski P, Das S, Steeg C, Brockmann L, Fernandez-Gaitero S, et al
Sci Rep 2018 01;8(1):154

β7 integrins contribute to intestinal tumor growth in mice.
Das S, Doñas C, Akeus P, Quiding-Järbrink M, Mora JR, Villablanca EJ
PLoS ONE 2018 ;13(9):e0204181

Commensal Bacteria-Specific CD4+ T Cell Responses in Health and Disease.
Sorini C, Cardoso RF, Gagliani N, Villablanca EJ
Front Immunol 2018 ;9():2667

Molecular and functional heterogeneity of IL-10-producing CD4+ T cells.
Brockmann L, Soukou S, Steglich B, Czarnewski P, Zhao L, Wende S, et al
Nat Commun 2018 12;9(1):5457

Conserved transcriptomic profile between mouse and human colitis allows unsupervised patient stratification.
Czarnewski P, Parigi SM, Sorini C, Diaz OE, Das S, Gagliani N, et al
Nat Commun 2019 Jun;10(1):2892

Open positions

We always want to get in touch with highly motivated students and potential post-docs. If you are interested in doing research within our group please contact the group leader Eduardo Villablanca.

Villablaca Lab on Twitter