Monika Ehnman

Monika Ehnman

Research Specialist
Visiting address: BioClinicum v 6, Visionsgatan 4, 17164 Solna
Postal address: K7 Onkologi-Patologi, K7 Forskning Östman Ehnman, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • The sarcoma tumor microenvironment (TME) team focuses on understanding how malignant and non-malignant cells are affected and educated by each other during sarcoma progression in children and adults. As a team leader, my current interest is to characterize how tumor cells make use of, and reprogram, normal host cells to participate in sarcoma progression. Cellular crosstalk between different cell types is essential both during tumor initiation and metastasis. In summary, we hope to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic approaches with principally different modes of action compared to the aggressive multimodal treatments of today.

    Research background
    During my PhD studies in the Prof Ulf Eriksson lab at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd, I became interested in platelet-derived growth
    factor (PDGF) signaling. My thesis work focused on characterizing how two of the most recently discovered PDGF ligands were activated by proteolytic activation. I continued to explore the prognostic and functional role of PDGF ligands and receptors in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma during my postdoc work in the Prof Arne Östman lab at the Cancer Center Karolinska.

    Assistant Professorship, 4 years awarded from The Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund, 2019
    Post doctoral fellowship 2+2 years awarded from The Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund, 2011
    The sarcoma tumor microenvironment team is also grateful for generous past and present project funding from Barncancerfonden, Cancerföreningen, Åke Wibergs stiftelse, Mary Béves stiftelse för barncancerforskning, Alex och Eva Wallströms stiftelse and Tornspiran

    Top 10 finalist and invited speaker, Oncology Abstract Competition, MedImmune, Cambridge, United Kingdom (2011)
    Pitmans Examination Institute Certificate in English, Advanced level, Embassy CES, Oxford (2003)


  • Cells of the tumor microenvironment control tumor growth, metastasis and response to treatment. These aspects of tumor biology are well studied in
    tumors derived from epithelial cells, but much less described in sarcomas. These malignant tumors of mesenchymal origin can be found almost anywhere in the body and include subtypes like rhabdomyosarcoma, undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, and liposarcoma.

    We have currently developed several distinct in vitro and in vivo model systems for sarcoma TME studies. Methods used in the lab, or together with our national or international collaborators, include immunostaining (multiplexing) of human or mouse tissue material, microscopy/image analysis,
    advanced cell culture, qPCR and gene expression analysis/bioinformatics, and flow cytometry. Our projects are translational and involve collaborations with bioinformaticians, pathologists, oncologists and surgeons.

    Ongoing projects focus on immune cell characterization, tertiary lymphoid structures, and digital image analysis. We also study cellular crosstalk with
    mesenchymal stromal cells in cell culture and in zebrafish. Molecular factors of interest include PDGF, CTGF, and IGF/IGFBP5. If you are interested and would like to help out in our research, please send an email to We can also assist in upcoming calls/project
    applications for postdocs or other visiting scientists.


  • PhD student course, Tumor microenvironment, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, KI
    (2017-present), Main course organizer and contact since 2020

    Biomedicine programme, course Molecular Medicine-Oncology*, * Dept. of
    Oncology-Pathology, KI (2019-2022)

    Karolinska Institutet summer research school, 2022, Dept. of Microbiology Tumor and Cell Biology

    Biomedicine master programme, course Frontiers in Biomedicine, Dept of Microbiology Tumor and Cell Biology, KI (2021)

    Biomedicine programme, course Molecular Oncology and Biostatistics, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, KI (2018)

    Medical School, Human genetic disease and cell biology, Dept. of Cell- and Molecular Biology, KI (2004-2010)


All other publications


  • Research Specialist, Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, 2010

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