Helder Andre

Helder Andre

Affiliated to Research
Visiting address: Eye Center of Excellence Avd Ögon & Syn, Eugeniavägen 12, 17164 Solna
Postal address: K8 Klinisk neurovetenskap, K8 Ögon och Syn Kvanta/Andre, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • Head of Molecular and Cellular Research at St Erik Eye Hospital and group
    leader for the Retina research group.
    I received my Pharm.D. degree from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. My
    masters and doctoral studies were focused on how oxygen levels mediate
    protein degradation of the hypoxia-inducible factors. These studies
    culminated in a Licentiate and a Ph.D., both in Cell and Molecular Biology,
    Medicine from Karolinska Institutet.
    As a postdoctoral fellow, I investigated the cellular and molecular
    mechanisms involved in neovascular age-related macular degeneration, a
    particularly incident sight-threatening disease. My research elucidated a
    central role for hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha in this disease.
    Following my postdoctoral period, I have been assigned as Head of Molecular
    and Cellular Research at St Erik Eye Hospital, affiliated to the Karolinska
    Institute. My group is invested in understanding the cellular and molecular
    mechanisms that lead to pathologic formation of blood vessels in the eye, and
    ultimately vision impairment.
    The Erik and Edith Fernström Foundation for Medical Research Award
    The Stohnes Foundation for Ophthalmic Research Award
    EVER Foundation Scientific Contribution Award
    ARVO Foundation / Genentech Research Fellowship


  • Our research has a pivotal interest in discovering how the pathological
    formation of new blood vessels – neoangiogenesis – affects and
    contributes to disease. In the eye, neoangiogenesis represents a predominant
    aspect of many diseases’ progression, and understanding the primordial
    mechanisms that allow regulation of neoangiogenesis is imperative to
    understand and cure ocular diseases. *The André Lab translates the new
    knowledge from molecular, cellular and preclinical models, thus developing
    new and better treatments for many potentially blinding diseases.* Nowadays,
    the key area of the lab’s research is age-related macular degeneration
    (AMD), one of the most common and rapidly increasing sight-threatening
    diseases, using both gene and cell therapies. In addition, the lab’s
    developed concepts can easily and rapidly be adapted to the treatment of
    many other neovascular and degenerative ocular diseases, such as
    proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, hereditary
    retinal and macular degenerations, all directly associated with blindness.
    *Bench-to-bedside studies on ocular vascular diseases*
    The field is compartmentalized on the pathophysiological mechanisms of eye
    neovascular diseases between either local tissue ischemia or the presence of
    low-grade inflammatory reaction. Our goal is to established molecular,
    cellular and animal models relevant for ocular neovascular pathologies, and
    our research is developing strategies to better improve the relationship
    between basic and clinic research. Many of our projects fall on neovascular
    diseases, where the lab has been a fundamental contributor to elucidate
    molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these pathologies and develop
    therapeutic alternatives based on our discoveries.
    *Sustainable gene therapy for neovascular AMD*
    AMD has one the of fastest rates of increased prevalence in the developed
    world, and is estimated to become an immense burden for healthcare systems
    worldwide, with massive economic implications. Current treatments for
    neovascular AMD patients consider anti-vascular intra-ocular injections for
    life, and must be repeated ever 6-8 weeks. Our research has identified a
    clear role for hypoxia in mediating the vascular growth factors associated
    with neovascular AMD, including multiple inflammatory cytokines. Our work was
    pioneer in revealing HIFs as the transcriptional mediators for progression
    of AMD, and led us to create a bonafide sustainable gene therapy [1] for
    neovascular AMD.
    *A platform for cellular regenerative treatments of eye diseases*
    In a collaborative effort with Profs Anders Kvanta [2] and Fredrik Lanner
    [3], we have developed a project to study cell transplantation therapies of
    human embryonic stem-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells in a newly
    developed large-eyed clinically-relevant model, which benefit the
    translational value of cell-based therapies in age-related macular
    degeneration. We have created immuno-stealth hESC-RPE cells that can be used
    as universal donor for cell-based treatments for degenerative AMD. These has
    led us to establish a partnership [4] between the Karolinska Institutet, St
    Erik Eye Hospital and NovoNordisk to translate our cell-based strategies into
    a first-in-human clinical trial. Currently, we are invested in expanding the
    human embryonic stem cell differentiation into photoreceptors and developt
    future treatments for hereditary retinal and macular degenerations.
    *Lab Members*
    Filippo Locri [5], Postdoc. Establishes ocular study models and gene therapy
    for neovascular AMD.
    David Brenière-Letuffe [6], Postdoc. Develops novel ESC differentiation
    strategies for photoreceptors.
    Yesenia Ortega-Melin [7], MD, PhD candidate. Establishes clinically relevant
    models for a cell-based treatment for diabetes.
    Flavia Plastino [8], PhD candidate. Cellular and molecular mechanistic
    studies of transplantation preclinical models.
    Jonathan Bernd [9], Research Resident, PhD candidate. Clinical translation of
    gene therapy for neovascular AMD and develops clinically relevant in vitro
    models of AMD.
    Mooud Amirkavei [10], Visiting PhD candidate
  • University of Aalto, Finland.
    Unravels the effects of hormetic heat as a treatment modality.
    Nuria Sueiro, Research intern. Undergraduate from the Bachelor’s program in
    Biomedicine, Karolinska Institutet.
    *Lab Alumni*
    Selçuk Tunik [11], Postdoc
  • now Associate Professor at University of Dicle,
    Effat Alizadeh [12], Postdoc
  • now Associate Professor at Tabriz University of
    Medical Sciences, Iran.
    Sandra Petrus-Reurer [13], PhD graduate
  • now Postdoc at Cambridge
    University, UK.
    Parviz Mammadzada [14], MD PhD graduate
  • now ophthalmology Specialist at
    Örebro hospital, Sweden.
    Noemi Anna Pesce [15], PhD graduate
  • now Postdoc at University of Turin,
    [1] https://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/s_t_eriks_ogonsjukhus_ab/pressreleases/genterapi-ger-nytt-hopp-vid-behandling-av-aaldersblindhet-1845041
    [2] https://staff.ki.se/people/anders-kvanta
    [3] https://staff.ki.se/people/fredrik-lanner
    [4] https://news.ki.se/karolinska-institutet-st-erik-eye-hospital-and-novo-nordisk-collaborate-to-find-a-cure-for-age
    [5] https://staff.ki.se/people/filloc
    [6] https://staff.ki.se/people/dabren
    [7] Yesenia Ortega-Melin
    [8] https://staff.ki.se/people/flapla
    [9] https://staff.ki.se/people/jbernd
    [10] https://people.aalto.fi/mooud.amirkavei
    [11] https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&;amp
  • user=nbhcujYAAAAJ
    [12] https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Z1zBMUkAAAAJ&;amp
  • hl=en
    [13] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sandra-Petrus-Reurer
    [14] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Parviz-Mammadzada
    [15] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Noemi-Pesce


All other publications


  • Affiliated to Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 2023-2026

Degrees and Education

  • Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, 2009

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