Cecilia Aulin

Cecilia Aulin

Research Specialist | Docent
Visiting address: CMM, L8:04, Karolinska universitetssjukhuset, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K2 Medicin, Solna, K2 Reuma Erlandsson Harris H, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

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    I did my undergraduate studies and PhD in Uppsala, in biotechnology
    engineering and biomaterials. My research was in regenerative medicine, in
    particular bone and cartilage regeneration. After my disseration I moved to
    Karolinska and CMM to do my postdoc at the Rheumatology unit with prof Lars
    Klareskog and prof Helena Harris continuing and extending my cartilage
    regeneration studies into the field of osteoarthritis and rheumatology.


    A prospective, longitudinal clinical and molecular study with the aim to find
    key drivers of osteoarthritis (OA) disease progression, with subsequent
    preclinical development of disease modifying therapies.
    Individuals with OA constitutes a heterogeneous population. However, pain and
    impaired joint function are common denominators for most patients. OA is
    chronic, and currently no cure exists. In order to identify the molecules
    active in disease inititation and progression, there is a need to identify
    how OA is developed over time, which mechanisms are active during disease
    progression and how we could identify and quantify these factors clinically.
    Knowing this, we could develop efficient strategies to prevent or treat OA.
    The BIOFUNC project aim to characterize OA patients based on molecular
    profile (biomarkers), biomechanical joint function and patient reported
    symptoms (PROMs). Specifically, we aim to
    1) find OA-specific biomarkers that associate with the clinical
    presentations, in particular pain and joint function
    2) identify patients displaying rapid progression based on biomarkers, joint
    function and PROMs to be able to implement earlier treatments and better
    follow-up to slow down the disease
    3) explore OA-specific molecules that could be potential therapeutic targets
    and could be evaluated in animal models and developed towards new
    disease-modifying treatments.
    *Pre-clinical studies of inflammation and pain in osteoarthritis –
    Development of local therapies using injectable polymer materials*
    Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, with pain and joint
    destruction as the primary symptoms. Inflammation is a contributing factor to
    the development of OA, but in contrast to the successful anti-inflammatory
    treatments established for rheumatoid arthritis neutralization of TNF and
    IL-1 have demonstrated modest or no effects in OA. This has led us to study
    other inflammatory mediators such as alarmins and oxidative stress related
    products that may contribute to inflammation and enhancing the catabolic
    processes in the joint.
    Our overall aim is to develop local therapies targeting inflammation and
    pain. This is done by utilizing injectable materials, developed in
    collaboration with Ångström Laboratory in Uppsala. The materials could be
    designed either to neutralize harmful products by functionalizing the
    material itself, or by functioning as a drug delivery vehicle for anabolic or
    anti-inflammatory cues.
    By combining cell studies, mouse models and analysis of patient material, I
    aim to study the role of inflammatory mediators in OA, their association to
    pain as well as their neutralization using materials designed as polymeric
    scavengers as a potential therapy. This is a first step in development of
    combination therapies directed against alternative inflammatory mediators
    with the possibility of cartilage regeneration.
    *Some of my projects:*
    * Study the role of the alarmin HMGB1 in OA and its potential as therapeutic
    * Investigate the effect of oxidative stress related products in
    chondrocytes and evaluate their therapeutic potential in experimental OA
    with regards to pain and joint destruction
    * Develop therapies inducing cartilage regeneration


  • * 2020-2022: Research School Director, National Clinical Research School in
    Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (NCRSCID). Responsible for planning and
    organizing a two-year educational program for PhD students in Sweden,
    including courses, workshops and administration. Funded by the Swedish
    Research Council.
    * Formal training
    * 2018 “Pedagogy for doctoral supervisors”,
    * 2017 “Doctoral supervision course”,
    * 2007 “Pedagogy for university teachers” and “Pedagogical voice
    * Co-supervisor for 5 PhD students (defended Nov 2019, March 2023, April
    2023, admitted June 2020, September 2022)
    * Supervisor for master theses in biomedicine/Medicine (7 students, 2007,
    2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022, 2023)
    * Supervisor for bachelor theses and Erasmus exchanges in biomedicine (4
    students, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022)
    * Course responsible for PhD course “Basic Inflammation”, 2018, 2021,
    2023, 3 credits, Karolinska Institute
    * Course responsibility for Master level course in Biomaterials 2005-2009
    7.5 credits, Chemical engineering program, Uppsala University, Including
    lecturing, seminars, lab projects, course planning and administration



  • Research Specialist, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2022

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