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Birgitta Henriques-Normark Group

Birgitta Henriques-Normark is Professor in medical microbial pathogenesis at MTC as well as a Medical Doctor (MD) with speciality in clinical bacteriology.

The main research interest is host-bacterial interactions. This spans many projects, ranging from bacterial regulatory systems to the immune response of the host. Much work is done together with other groups in a larger constellation of researchers to facilitate introduction of new techniques and ideas.

Project Groups Within The Birgitta Henriques-Normark Group

Jan-Ingmar Flock

Edmund Loh

Host-pathogen interactions in health and disease

Our research focuses mainly on host-bacterial interactions, with projects ranging from bacterial regulatory systems to innate immune responses in the host. The main research program includes studies on the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of pneumococcal infections, from the clinical side to more basic approaches looking at host-pathogen interactions. Also, antibiotic resistance development is targeted.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, killing 1 to 2 million people every year. Despite being devastating pathogens they are also frequent colonizers of the upper respiratory tract of healthy children attending day-care centers. We have studied the molecular epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease and found that certain serotypes and clones are more prone to give raise to invasive disease, such as clones of type 1 and 7F. These types are more commonly found among previously healthy individuals. We have also identified novel virulence factors such as a pilus like structure important for adherence, colonization, and virulence, as well as for the inflammatory response. Furthermore we have shown that pneumococci are trapped but not killed by so called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). However, the bacteria may free themselves from NETs by using an endonuclease, thereby promoting spread to the lungs and the bloodstream. Recently we have found that of the Toll-like receptors (TLR) 1,2,4,6 and 9, only TLR 9 plays a non-redundant role in pneumococcal infections. Other research includes studies of inhibitors of the type III secretion system in Chlamydia trachomatis, an enzymatic ruler that modulates Lewis antigen glycosylation of Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide during persistent infection, antimicrobial peptides, and invasive Group A streptococcal infections. We will also continue our work on the recently described pilus-like structure and other potential vaccine candidates, as well as on type III secretion inhibitors for drug development.

The work can tentatively be divided into the following areas:


1. The innate immune defense and bacterial infections.
The interaction between the innate immune system and microbial pathogens including for example Toll like receptors, NODs, scavenger receptors and antimicrobial peptides.

2. Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci).
Involves many aspects of this pathogen, ranging from its epidemiology and antibiotic resistance to virulence and pathogenesis aspects and the interaction with the innate immune system.

3. Helicobacter
To understand the interactions with the host and why some strains are more virulent than others.

4. Regulation of virulence genes.
Escherichia coli and Salmonella are the main models to look at gene regulatory mechanisms involved in virulence and adaptation to new environments.

5. Bacterial adhesion organelles.
Studying the biogenesis of adhesion organelles, such as pili and curli. But also their role in disease.

6. Cell wall synthesis.
Includes projects from reageneration of cell wall components and programmed cell death in bacteria to the function and regulation of beta-lactamases.

7. Chlamydia species.
Specifically we are studying inhibitors of the type III secretion system.
To find out more details please have a look at our recent publications.

Research Constellation Host-microbe interactions Publications

Research Constellation Host-microbe interactions Publications (pdf file)

Publications - Birgitta Henriques-Normark

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pIgR and PECAM-1 bind to pneumococcal adhesins RrgA and PspC mediating bacterial brain invasion
Federico Iovino, Joo-Yeon Engelen-Lee, Matthijs Brouwer, Diederik van de Beek, Arie van der Ende, Merche Valls Seron, Peter Mellroth, Sandra Muschiol, Jan Bergstrand, Jerker Widengren, View ORCID ProfileBirgitta Henriques-Normark
JEM DOI: 10.1084/jem.20161668 | Published May 17, 2017

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Older Publications

Publications 2007-2011

Publications 2006-2007 (Pdf file, 41 Kb)

Publications 1987-2005

Publication 1987-2005 (Pdf file, 59 Kb)

Group Members

Marie-Stephanie aschtgenForskarassistent

marie-stephanie.aschtgen@ki.se

Eleni BletsaPostdoc

eleni.bletsa@ki.se

073-372 87 20

Nils BlockForskarstuderande

nils.block@ki.se

Karin BlomqvistForskarassistent

karin.blomqvist@ki.se

John BossBioinformatiker

john.boss@ki.se

Maria CarlssonSamordnare

maria.carlsson@ki.se

08-517 712 14

Hannes EichnerDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

hannes.eichner@ki.se

08-517 712 11

Margareta FlockForskningsingenjör

Margareta.Flock@ki.se

08-524 871 53

Jan-Ingmar FlockProfessor, senior

Jan-Ingmar.Flock@ki.se

Genevieve GarrissForskarassistent

genevieve.garriss@ki.se

Felix GeisselDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

felix.geissel@ki.se

Birgitta Henriques NormarkProfessor/överläkare

Birgitta.Henriques@ki.se

08-517 712 16

Karina HentrichPostdoc

karina.hentrich@ki.se

Federico IovinoForskarassistent

federico.iovino@ki.se

Jens Karlsson Doktorand, Forskarstuderande

jens.karlsson@ki.se

Edmund LohForskare

edmund.loh@ki.se

Peter MellrothForskare

Peter.Mellroth@ki.se

08-517 712 09

Padryk MerklDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

padryk.merkl@ki.se

Sandra MuschiolSenior lab manager

Sandra.Muschiol@ki.se

08-517 712 09

Priyanka NannapaneniBioinformatiker

priyanka.nannapaneni@ki.se

Staffan NormarkProfessor, senior

Staffan.Normark@ki.se

Vitor OliveiraDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

vitor.oliveira@ki.se

Anuj PathakPostdoc

anuj.pathak@ki.se

Alexandros PetropoulosAnknuten

alexandros.petropoulos@ki.se

Elisabeth ReithuberDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

elisabeth.reithuber@ki.se

Francesco RighettiPostdoc

francesco.righetti@ki.se

Vicky SenderPostdoc

vicky.sender@ki.se

08-517 712 18

Georgios SotiriouForskarassistent

georgios.sotiriou@ki.se

Christian SpoerryPostdoc

christian.spoerry@ki.se

Karthik SubramanianPostdoc

karthik.subramanian@ki.se

Sigrún ThórsdóttirDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

sigrun.thorsdottir@ki.se

Vasiliki TsikourkitoudiPostdoc

vasiliki.tsikourkitoudi@ki.se

Jill ZiesmerDoktorand, Forskarstuderande

jill.ziesmer@ki.se

Ana-Rita NarcisoPostdoc

rita.narciso@ki.se

Associated Members

Katrin Pütsep

Awards and Prizes

Appointed Wallenberg Clinical Scholars 2017
Elected Member of the American Academy of Microbiology 2015
Elected Member of the European Academy of Microbiology 2013