Eduardo Villablanca

Eduardo Villablanca

Principal Researcher | Docent
Telephone: +46852484308
Visiting address: L8:03, CMM, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K2 Medicin, Solna, K2 Imm o alle Villablanca E, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • During my master degree, I was trained as a developmental biologist, with
    expertise in cell migration using zebrafish as in vivo model. As a doctoral
    student in the molecular medicine program at San Raffaele University, Milan,
    I started my training as immunologist with specific focus on dendritic cells
    (DC) and tumor cell interaction. I identified a novel immune escape mechanism
    in which tumors produce and secrete oxysterols, which in turn target LXR
    receptors inhibiting CCR7 expression in DC (*J. **immunol**, J. Leuko. Biol.*
    and *Nat. Medicine*). Interested in intestinal leukocyte trafficking, I
    joined J. Rodrigo Mora’s lab (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston) to
    perform my postdoctoral training. During the first two years I contributed to
    determine the mechanisms by which intestinal DC gain their gut-associated
    tolerogenic properties (*Gastroenterology*, *J. Immunology, Cell*, etc.).
    In 2010, I won the prestigious postdoctoral fellow award from the Crohn’s &

  • Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and took the lead of a project aimed to
    further characterize the mechanisms of oral immunological tolerance
    induction. I found that expressions of gut homing receptors (e.g. CCR9) are
    crucial on leukocytes to establish oral immunological tolerance
    (*Gastroenteroglogy* and *Gut*). Given my accomplishments during my fourth
    and last year as a postdoctoral training I was supported by Dr. Mora and Dr.
    Ramnik Xavier (chief of the GI unit) to be promoted Instructor in Medicine at
    Harvard Medical School. As Instructor in Medicine and in order to start
    defining my own research path I joined Dr. Xavier lab to study the function
    of IBD risk genes in the context of intestinal immune homeostasis (*Nat.
    Comm., Immunity, Cell rep*., etc).
    Motivated by cutting-edge research performed as well as the prestige of the
    institution I decide to look for a position at the Karolinska Institutet. In
    2013, I was awarded the Center for Immune Modulatory Therapies for
    Autoimmnity and Cancer (IMTAC) senior research fellow Based on a scientific
    plan proposing to study the connection between DC trafficking from the bone
    marrow and gut immunological tolerance. Hence I started my own research group
    in November 2014, as an assistant professor at the department of Medicine,
    Solna (MedS). With background in developmental biology, tumor and mucosal
    immunology using either zebrafish and mouse models as well as human samples,
    I believe I am poised to uniquely contribute to elucidate the molecular and
    cellular mechanisms underlying IBD.
    In 2010, I won the prestigious postdoctoral fellow award from the Crohn’s &

  • Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and took the lead of a project aimed to
    further characterize the mechanisms of oral immunological tolerance
    induction. Hence I started my own research group as an assistant professor at
    the department of Medicine, Solna (MedS). I have received the Swedish
    Research Council Young Scientist Award (6 MSEK/4 years), FORMAS (3 MSEK/3
    years) and I have been appointed as Wallenberg Academy Fellow (7.5 MSEK/5
    years) towards developing a cutting-edge biomedical research program focused
    on intestinal mucosal immunology. I have achieved national and international
    recognition for my work as can be inferred from the numerous talks I have
    been giving in U.S., Europe, Asia and South-America, and from awards and
    funding I have obtained thus far. I have also been named one of the 40 under
    40 most promising Latin-American Scientist by the South American magazine
    “Que Pasa”.
    *Selected awards*
    - Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (2014)
    - IMTAC FoAss position award, chosen as primary candidate (2014)
    - CCFA research award, Crohn’s &
  • Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), NY,
    USA (2010)
    *Others awards*
    - 40 under 40 in Latin American Science, Que Pasa magazine (2014)
    - Best paper award, San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy (2010)
    - Best presentation award, RCAI International summer Program 2010, Yokohama,
    Japan (2010)
    *Scholarships and travel awards*
    - DC2012 Travel Award,
    - Keystone symposia scholarship, To attend the Mucosal Immunology Symposia,
    Vancouver, Canada (2011)
    - RCAI Fellowship, To attend the RCAI International Summer Program, Yokohama,
    Japan (2010)
    - LACI Scholarship, To attend “The 9th Latin American congress of
    Immunology”, Chile (2009)
    - EMBO Travelling fellowship, To participate in the EMBO practical course:
    “Enhancer Detection, Gene Trapping and TILLING in Zebrafish”, Bergen,
    Norway (2005)
    - Travelling fellowship Leloir Institute. To attend the course “Gene
    Therapy in Latin America: from the bench to the clinic”, Buenos Aires,
    Argentina. (2002)
    - ECOS-Conicyt ICM P99-137 Fellowship, To perform research at the laboratory
    of Dr. Alain Ghysen, Montpellier, France (2002)
    Courses and degrees
    1998, B.S. Bachelor in Science, University of Chile, Santiago
    12/2004, M.Sc.Molecular Biotechnology Engineer University of Chile, Santiago
    *Doctoral degree*
    10/2007, Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Under the supervision of
    Vincenzo Russo, M.D., Universita Vita-Salute, Milan
    *Current position*
    11/2014 – Present, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine,
    Karolinska Institutet
    11/2015 – Present Faculty member, SciLifeLab
    02/2016 – Present Group Leader, Department of Medicine, Karolinska
    *Previous positions including **post doc** appointments.*
    03/2008 – 02/2012 Postdoctoral Fellow in Mucosal
    Immunology, MGH, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Under the supervision of J.
    Rodrigo Mora, M.D.. Ph.D.
    02/2012 – 11/2014 Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School,
    Boston, MA. Under the supervision of Ramnik J. Xavier, M.D.. Ph.D.
    02/2012 – 11/2014 Assistant Immunologist, Massachusetts General
    Hospital, Boston, MA
    03/2012 – 11/2014 Research Scientist, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA


  • 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.


All other publications



  • Principal Researcher, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2018

News from KI

Events from KI