Robert Harris

Robert Harris

Professor | Academic vice president | Docent
Telephone: +46852486260
Visiting address: L8:04, CMM Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K8 Klinisk neurovetenskap, K8 Neuro Harris, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • Professor of Immunotherapy in Neurological Diseases 2013-present

    Academic Vice-President of Doctoral Education 2019-present

    Chairperson International Advisory Council 2020-2023

    President of ORPHEUS doctoral education organization 2014-2022

    Professor Robert A. Harris (Bob) was born in Harpenden in Southern UK in 1966. He conducted a Bsc.Hons undergraduate degree at Portsmouth Polytechnic, majoring in Parasitology in 1987. PhD studies at University College London studying innate immune agglutinins in Schistosoma host snail species with Terry Preston and Vaughan Southgate as supervisors culminated with a thesis defence in early 1991. A 2.5 year postdoc at the London School of Hygiene &

  • Tropical Medicine in Paul Kaye’s research group ensued, with focus on understanding the intracellular fate of Leishmania spp. protozoans in macrophages. Bob was awarded a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship that permitted his relocation to the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) in the spring of 1994. A postdoc period was spent split between the labs of Anders Örn and Tomas Olsson, in which he studied Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma bruceii protozoan proteins. Bob became an Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institute in 1999, heralding his establishment as a PI. Bob started to work with autoimmune diseases in 1996 and began study of therapy using live parasite infections or parasite molecules. His research group has developed autoantigen-specific vaccines, defined the effects of post-translational biochemical molecules on autoantigenicity and developed a macrophage adoptive transfer therapy that prevents pathogenesis in several experimental disease models. He became Professor of Immunotherapy in Neurological Diseases in 2013.

    University Education
    BSc (Hons) Biology - Upper Second Class Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK 1987

    PhD Training
    ’Haemolymph proteins and the snail immune response’ University College London, UK 1991


  • Karolinska Institutet's pedagogy prize 2014

    FEBS Education Award 2024


  • We are primarily interested in understanding the pathogenesis of incurable, chronic disease states of the Central Nervous System, including ALS, MS, Alzheimer's disease and glioma brain tumors.

    HOW CAN WE TREAT OR CURE THE DISEASES? There is currently no cure for the diseases we study, and existing medications are only partly effective.

    Our main interest is thus on developing new strategies to reduce or abrogate disease symptoms.

    We focus on using the body’s own myeloid cells as a means of treating the same individual through ‘personalised cell therapy’ or by targeting these cells for immunomodulation.


  • Central Director of Doctoral studies at Karolinska Institutet 2008-2018

    Director of Doctoral studies at Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institutet 2005-2018

    Awarded Karolinska Institutet’s Pedagogy Prize 2014

    131 publications and 6 reviews – Web of Science h index = 45 Google Scholar H index = 39, i index = 95 (as of 27th April 2021)

    Currently receives research funding from Swedish Medical research Council, CancerFonden, Alltid Litt Sterkere, Ulla Carin Lindquist Stiftelse and Karolinska Institutet

    Currently supervises 1 PhD student, co-supervises 5 PhD students, 2 Postdoctoral Fellows and one undergraduate student

    Courses taught at a postgraduate level:
    - High Performance Chromatography Methods - Applications in Analysis of Biologically Significant Molecules (Chile)
    - Trypanosomiasis and Lesihmanisasis protozoan infection biology (Stockholm University)
    - I IUIS Course “Infections &
  • Immunology: Views Towards the XXI Century” (Chile)
    - Molecular Immunology (KI)
    - Cellular and Molecular Infection Biology (KI)
    - Winter Immunology School (KI)
    - Summer School in Immunology, “Translational Medicine in the field of Autoimmunity” (KI)
    - New Vaccines – advances in current vaccinology (KI)
    - Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology (KI)
    - Cytokines in inflammation (KI)
    - Basic Immunology (KI)
    - Neurovirology (KI)
    - Immune, Gene and Cell therapy (KI)
    - Translational Medicine (Germany)

    Courses taught at an undergraduate level:
    - Medical Microbiology and Immunology
    - Experimental and Clinical Neuroimmunology
    - Immunological mechanisms in autoimmune diseases
    - Tropiska parasiter och svenska
    - Eukaryot mikrobiologi
    - Basic Immunology - Macrophages

    Leadership courses for faculty:
    - Introduction course for PhD students at KI
    - Basic course for supervisors at KI
    - Advance course in pedagogy for supervisors at KI
    - Future Academic Leaders at KI

    -Conflict prevention, management and resolution
    - Intended Learning Outcomes - formulation and examination
    - Professional responsbility as a PhD supervisor

    These teaching activities are primarily conducted at locally at KI, but also both nationally in Swedish universities as well as internationally.


All other publications



  • Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 2013-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 1999

Leadership and responsibility assignments

  • Academic vice president, Academic Vice-President of Doctoral Education, Karolinska Institute, 2019-

Distinction and awards

  • The Pedagogical Prize, Karolinska Institute, 2014
  • British Council Visiting Professor Award, British Council, 1996
  • Wellcome Trust Travel Fellow recipient, 1994

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