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2016, Associate Professor in Immunology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

2013, Swedish Medical License, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden

2011-2012, Postdoctoral Fellow, VRC, NIH, USA

2011, PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

2010, MD, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Research description

Our group performs translational immunological research studying tissue-resident natural killer cells in the human liver and uterus.

A key focus of the group is to gain insights into the basic biology of tissue resident NK cells in liver and uterus. Through unique collaborations with clinical units at the Karolinska University Hospital, we receive a high number of tissue samples. With respect to the uterus, key questions of interest include detailed characterization of the uterine NK cell KIR receptor repertoires, functional studies of uterine tissue resident NK cells, as well as trying to elucidate the ontogeny of uterine NK cells. In the liver we have a specific focus on human tissue-resident CD49a+ intrahepatic NK cells and study their phenotype, function, development, and role during liver diseases.

Moreover, we have an interest in the role of natural killer (NK) cells in the pathogenesis of liver diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, steatohepatitis (NASH), and hepatitis virus infections (HBV, HCV, HDV). These diseases strongly predispose for tumor development in the human liver and we are also performing tumorimmunological studies evaluating the capacity of NK cells to recognize hepatocellular carcinoma and cholagiocarcinoma. Outside the liver, we also have an interest in NK-cell function during hemorrhagic fever virus infections.

Our studies include phenotypic and functional assessments of NK cells with a focus on differentiation, education, and functional and transcriptional regulation. We work with high-dimensional 22-parameter flow cytometry, CyTOF, microscopy techniques, and new tools for visualization and analysis of highly complex flow cytometry data including SPADE, SNE, and Citrus.

We function in close collaboration with other groups at Karolinska Institutet, including groups at the Center for Infectious Medicine. We participate in Karolinska Institutet - Hannover Medical School exchange program, in the International PSC Study Group network, and have multiple national and international collaborations.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

  • 2016                        SSF Future Research Leader Award
  • 2016                        Wallenberg Academy Fellow Award
  • 2015                        United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Rising Star
  • 2014                        NovoNordisk Young Excellence Award for Young Researchers
  • 2013                        SSMFs Stora Anslag
  • 2012                        Sven Gards award for best thesis within virology at KI
  • 2011                        Jonas Söderquist scholarship for a young talented virology researcher
  • 2010                        Asklepios award for best publication 2010 by a young researcher
  • 2008                        Poster award, 38th Annual meeting of the SSI
  • 2008                        ISAC student award recipient
  • 2006                        The McKinsey Sweden award



Characteristics and outcome of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with NAFLD without cirrhosis
Bengtsson B, Stål P, Wahlin S, Björkström Nk, Hagström H
Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 2019;():-

Innate and adaptive immune responses against human Puumala virus infection: immunopathogenesis and suggestions for novel treatment strategies for severe hantavirus-associated syndromes
Klingström J, Smed-sörensen A, Maleki Kt, Solà-riera C, Ahlm C, Björkström Nk, et al
Journal of internal medicine 2019;285(5):510-523

The tumour microenvironment and immune milieu of cholangiocarcinoma
Fabris L, Perugorria Mj, Mertens J, Björkström Nk, Cramer T, Lleo A, et al
Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 2019;39 Suppl 1():63-78

Cell-Mediated Immune Responses and Immunopathogenesis of Human Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus-Infection
Blom K, Cuapio A, Sandberg Jt, Varnaite R, Michaëlsson J, Björkström Nk, et al
Frontiers in immunology 2018;9():2174-

Chronic hepatitis C virus infection irreversibly impacts human natural killer cell repertoire diversity
Strunz B, Hengst J, Deterding K, Manns Mp, Cornberg M, Ljunggren Hg, et al
Nature communications 2018;9(1):2275-

Genetic association analysis identifies variants associated with disease progression in primary sclerosing cholangitis
International Psc Study Group The Uk Psc Consortium, Alberts R, De Vries Emg, Goode Ec, Jiang X, Sampaziotis F, et al
Gut 2018;67(8):1517-1524

Hepatitis B virus-specific T cell responses after stopping nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy in HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B
Rinker F, Zimmer Cl, Höner Zu Siederdissen C, Manns Mp, Kraft Arm, Wedemeyer H, et al
Journal of hepatology 2018;69(3):584-593

Hepatitis C virus-induced natural killer cell proliferation involves monocyte-derived cells and the OX40/OX40L axis
Pollmann J, Götz Jj, Rupp D, Strauss O, Granzin M, Grünvogel O, et al
Journal of hepatology 2018;68(3):421-430

Identification of an elaborate NK-specific system regulating HLA-C expression
Li H, Ivarsson Ma, Walker-sperling Ve, Subleski J, Johnson Jk, Wright Pw, et al
PLoS genetics 2018;14(1):e1007163-

IL13Rα2 expression identifies tissue-resident IL-22-producing PLZF+ innate T cells in the human liver
Paquin-proulx D, Greenspun Bc, Pasquet L, Strunz B, Aleman S, Falconer K, et al
European journal of immunology 2018;48(8):1329-1335

Increased NK Cell Function After Cessation of Long-Term Nucleos(t)ide Analogue Treatment in Chronic Hepatitis B Is Associated With Liver Damage and HBsAg Loss
Zimmer Cl, Rinker F, Höner Zu Siederdissen C, Manns Mp, Wedemeyer H, Cornberg M, et al
The Journal of infectious diseases 2018;217(10):1656-1666

Proteome analysis of human CD56neg NK cells reveals a homogeneous phenotype surprisingly similar to CD56dim NK cells
Voigt J, Malone Dfg, Dias J, Leeansyah E, Björkström Nk, Ljunggren Hg, et al
European journal of immunology 2018;48(9):1456-1469

Reply to Liaw
Höner Zu Siederdissen C, Björkström Nk, Cornberg M
The Journal of infectious diseases 2018;218(11):1853-1854

Composition and dynamics of the uterine NK cell KIR repertoire in menstrual blood
Ivarsson Ma, Stiglund N, Marquardt N, Westgren M, Gidlöf S, Björkström Nk
Mucosal immunology 2017;10(2):322-331

Composition and functionality of the intrahepatic innate lymphoid cell-compartment in human nonfibrotic and fibrotic livers
Forkel M, Berglin L, Kekäläinen E, Carlsson A, Svedin E, Michaëlsson J, et al
European journal of immunology 2017;47(8):1280-1294

Cytomegalovirus-Driven Adaptive-Like Natural Killer Cell Expansions Are Unaffected by Concurrent Chronic Hepatitis Virus Infections
Malone Dfg, Lunemann S, Hengst J, Ljunggren Hg, Manns Mp, Sandberg Jk, et al

Human hantavirus infection elicits pronounced redistribution of mononuclear phagocytes in peripheral blood and airways
Scholz S, Baharom F, Rankin G, Maleki Kt, Gupta S, Vangeti S, et al
PLoS pathogens 2017;13(6):e1006462-

Intact CD100-CD72 Interaction Necessary for TCR-Induced T Cell Proliferation
Jiang X, Björkström Nk, Melum E
Frontiers in immunology 2017;8():765-

Diagnostic yield of endomicroscopy for dysplasia in primary sclerosing cholangitis associated inflammatory bowel disease: a feasibility study
Dlugosz A, Barakat Am, Björkström Nk, Öst Å, Bergquist A
Endoscopy international open 2016;4(8):E901-11

Emerging insights into natural killer cells in human peripheral tissues
Björkström Nk, Ljunggren Hg, Michaëlsson J
Nature reviews. Immunology 2016;16(5):310-20

Functional malignant cell heterogeneity in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors revealed by targeting of PDGF-DD
Cortez E, Gladh H, Braun S, Bocci M, Cordero E, Björkström Nk, et al
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2016;113(7):E864-73

Nonreversible MAIT cell-dysfunction in chronic hepatitis C virus infection despite successful interferon-free therapy
Hengst J, Strunz B, Deterding K, Ljunggren Hg, Leeansyah E, Manns Mp, et al
European journal of immunology 2016;46(9):2204-10

Protection against malaria at 1 year and immune correlates following PfSPZ vaccination
Ishizuka As, Lyke Ke, Dezure A, Berry Aa, Richie Tl, Mendoza Fh, et al
Nature medicine 2016;22(6):614-23

Soluble SEMA4D/CD100: A novel immunoregulator in infectious and inflammatory diseases
Maleki Kt, Cornillet M, Björkström Nk
Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.) 2016;163():52-9

Cutting edge: identification and characterization of human intrahepatic CD49a+ NK cells
Marquardt N, Béziat V, Nyström S, Hengst J, Ivarsson Ma, Kekäläinen E, et al
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 2015;194(6):2467-71

Effects of HDV infection and pegylated interferon α treatment on the natural killer cell compartment in chronically infected individuals
Lunemann S, Malone Df, Grabowski J, Port K, Béziat V, Bremer B, et al
Gut 2015;64(3):469-82

High-resolution determination of human immune cell signatures from fine-needle liver aspirates
Hengst J, Theorell J, Deterding K, Potthoff A, Dettmer A, Ljunggren Hg, et al
European journal of immunology 2015;45(7):2154-7

The biliary epithelium presents antigens to and activates natural killer T cells
Schrumpf E, Tan C, Karlsen Th, Sponheim J, Björkström Nk, Sundnes O, et al
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 2015;62(4):1249-59

Compromised Function of Natural Killer Cells in Acute and Chronic Viral Hepatitis
Lunemann S, Malone Dfg, Hengst J, Port K, Grabowski J, Deterding K, et al

Increased risk for lymphoma following hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
Klingström J, Granath F, Ekbom A, Björkström Nk, Ljunggren Hg
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2014;59(8):1130-2

In situ characterization of intrahepatic non-parenchymal cells in PSC reveals phenotypic patterns associated with disease severity
Berglin L, Bergquist A, Johansson H, Glaumann H, Jorns C, Lunemann S, et al
PloS one 2014;9(8):e105375-

NK cell activation in human hantavirus infection explained by virus-induced IL-15/IL15Rα expression
Braun M, Björkström Nk, Gupta S, Sundström K, Ahlm C, Klingström J, et al
PLoS pathogens 2014;10(11):e1004521-

Tracing dynamic expansion of human NK-cell subsets by high-resolution analysis of KIR repertoires and cellular differentiation
Béziat V, Traherne J, Malmberg Ja, Ivarsson Ma, Björkström Nk, Retière C, et al
European journal of immunology 2014;44(7):2192-6

Type I interferon-dependent activation of NK cells by rAd28 or rAd35, but not rAd5, leads to loss of vector-insert expression
Johnson Mj, Björkström Nk, Petrovas C, Liang F, Gall Jg, Loré K, et al
Vaccine 2014;32(6):717-24

Differentiation and functional regulation of human fetal NK cells
Ivarsson Ma, Loh L, Marquardt N, Kekalainen E, Berglin L, Bjorkstrom Nk, et al

Hantavirus-infection confers resistance to cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated apoptosis
Gupta S, Braun M, Tischler Nd, Stoltz M, Sundström Kb, Björkström Nk, et al
PLoS pathogens 2013;9(3):e1003272-

Primary sclerosing cholangitis is associated with autoreactive IgA antibodies against biliary epithelial cells
Berglin L, Björkström Nk, Bergquist A
Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology 2013;48(6):719-28

Tissue-specific effector functions of innate lymphoid cells
Björkström Nk, Kekäläinen E, Mjösberg J
Immunology 2013;139(4):416-27

CD8 T cells express randomly selected KIRs with distinct specificities compared with NK cells
Björkström Nk, Béziat V, Cichocki F, Liu Ll, Levine J, Larsson S, et al
Blood 2012;120(17):3455-65

CMV drives clonal expansion of NKG2C(+) NK cells expressing self-specific KIRs in chronic hepatitis patients
Beziat V, Dalgard O, Asselah T, Halfon P, Bedossa P, Boudifa A, et al

Interferon alpha-Stimulated Natural Killer Cells From Patients With Acute Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection Recognize HCV-Infected and Uninfected Hepatoma Cells via DNAX accessory molecule-1
Stegmann Ka, Bjorkstrom Nk, Ciesek S, Lunemann S, Jaroszewicz J, Wiegand J, et al

Characterization of Natural Killer Cell Phenotype and Function during Recurrent Human HSV-2 Infection
Bjorkstrom Nk, Svensson A, Malmberg Kj, Eriksson K, Ljunggren Hg
PLOS ONE 2011;6(11):e27664-

Longitudinal Analysis of the Human T Cell Response during Acute Hantavirus Infection
Lindgren T, Ahlm C, Mohamed N, Evander M, Ljunggren Hg, Bjorkstrom Nk
JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY 2011;85(19):10252-60

NKG2D performs two functions in invariant NKT cells: Direct TCR-independent activation of NK-like cytolysis and co-stimulation of activation by CD1d
Kuylenstierna C, Bjorkstrom Nk, Andersson Sk, Sahlstrom P, Bosnjak L, Paquin-proulx D, et al

Rapid expansion and long-term persistence of elevated NK cell numbers in humans infected with hantavirus
Bjorkstrom Nk, Lindgren T, Stoltz M, Fauriat C, Braun M, Evander M, et al

Selenite Induces Posttranscriptional Blockade of HLA-E Expression and Sensitizes Tumor Cells to CD94/NKG2A-Positive NK Cells
Enqvist M, Nilsonne G, Hammarfjord O, Wallin Rpa, Bjorkstrom Nk, Bjornstedt M, et al
JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 2011;187(7):3546-54

Activating NK-cell receptors co-stimulate CD4(+)CD28(-) T cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Fasth Aer, Bjorkstrom Nk, Anthoni M, Malmberg Kj, Malmstrom V

Analysis of the KIR repertoire in human NK cells by flow cytometry
Björkström Nk, Fauriat C, Bryceson Yt, Sandberg Jk, Ljunggren Hg, Malmberg Kj
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2010;612():353-64

CD56 negative NK cells: origin, function, and role in chronic viral disease
Bjorkstrom Nk, Ljunggren Hg, Sandberg Jk
TRENDS IN IMMUNOLOGY 2010;31(11):401-6

Distinct Infiltration of Neutrophils in Lesion Shoulders in ApoE(-/-) Mice
Rotzius P, Thams S, Soehnlein O, Kenne E, Tseng Cn, Bjorkstrom Nk, et al

Expression patterns of NKG2A, KIR, and CD57 define a process of CD56(dim) NK-cell differentiation uncoupled from NK-cell education
Bjorkstrom Nk, Riese P, Heuts F, Andersson S, Fauriat C, Ivarsson Ma, et al
BLOOD 2010;116(19):3853-64

Functional analysis of human NK cells by flow cytometry
Bryceson Yt, Fauriat C, Nunes Jm, Wood Sm, Björkström Nk, Long Eo, et al
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2010;612():335-52

Interferon-alpha-Induced TRAIL on Natural Killer Cells Is Associated With Control of Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Stegmann Ka, Bjorkstrom Nk, Veber H, Ciesek S, Riese P, Wiegand J, et al
GASTROENTEROLOGY 2010;138(5):1885-97

Expansion of Functionally Skewed CD56-Negative NK Cells in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: Correlation with Outcome of Pegylated IFN-alpha and Ribavirin Treatment
Gonzalez Vd, Falconer K, Bjorkstrom Nk, Blom Kg, Weiland O, Ljunggren Hg, et al
JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 2009;183(10):6612-8

Safety analysis of ex vivo-expanded NK and NK-like T cells administered to cancer patients: a Phase I clinical study
Barkholt L, Alici E, Conrad R, Sutlu T, Gilljam M, Stellan B, et al
IMMUNOTHERAPY 2009;1(5):753-64

Application of nine-color flow cytometry for detailed studies of the phenotypic complexity and functional heterogeneity of human lymphocyte subsets
Gonzalez Vd, Bjorkstroem Nk, Malmberg Kj, Moll M, Kuylenstierna C, Michalsson J, et al

Elevated numbers of Fc gamma RIIIA(+) (CD16(+)) effector CD8 T cells with NK cell-like function in chronic hepatitis C virus infection
Bjorkstrom Nk, Gonzalez Vd, Malmberg Kj, Falconer K, Alaeus A, Nowak G, et al
JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 2008;181(6):4219-28

Estimation of the Size of the Alloreactive NK Cell Repertoire: Studies in Individuals Homozygous for the Group A KIR Haplotype
Fauriat C, Andersson S, Bjorklund At, Carlsten M, Schaffer M, Bjorkstrom Nk, et al
JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 2008;181(9):6010-9

NK cell-mediated targeting of human cancer and possibilities for new means of immunotherapy
Malmberg Kj, Bryceson Yt, Carlsten M, Andersson S, Bjorklund A, Bjorkstrom Nk, et al

DNAX accessory molecule-1 mediated recognition of freshly isolated ovarian carcinoma by resting natural killer cells
Carlsten M, Bjorkstrom Nk, Norell H, Bryceson Y, Van Hall T, Baumann Bc, et al
CANCER RESEARCH 2007;67(3):1317-25

Skewed distribution of proinflammatory CD4(+)CD28(null) T cells in rheumatoid arthritis
Fasth Ae, Snir O, Johansson Aa, Nordmark B, Rahbar A, Af Klint E, et al

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