Epigenetic origins and mechanisms in neuroinflammation – Maja Jagodic's research group

Our vision is to understand how epigenome integrates instructions from genetic and lifestyle factors and renders pathogenic immune cells ‘aggressive’ and target brain cells ‘vulnerable’ in persons affected by Multiple Sclerosis. Our goal is to better understand disease etiology and to improve disease management through personalized treatments and more specific biomarkers.

Our research

Open Epigenetic origins and mechanisms in neuroinflammation configuration options

Our vision is to explain how epigenome integrates instructions from genetic and lifestyle factors rendering immune cells aggressive and brain cells vulnerable in persons affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Our goal is to better understand disease etiology and to improve disease management through novel personalized treatments and more specific and sensitive biomarkers.

We are a highly cooperative international group committed to spearhead translational epigenetics research. We are committed to answering pertinent clinical questions by combining deep molecular profiling in unique clinical materials using cutting-edge tools with advanced functional experimental models. 

 

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Epigenetic origins and mechanisms in neuroinflammation

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by autoimmune destruction of myelin and neurons in the central nervous system. Today, MS is the most common cause of non-traumatic neurological disability among young adults. Predisposition to MS, similar to other common diseases, irrefutably depends on the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Nevertheless, the epigenetic mechanisms that provide a molecular link between the genome and ‘environmental’ signals and control activity of the genome are still virtually unexplored.

Epigenetic changes are heritable through cell division, controlling gene expression without altering DNA sequence (the genetic code). They provide additional and more flexible level of regulation on the top of the genetic code that can also be modulated by environment. We focus on the role of DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), especially microRNAs (miRNA).

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Due to their stability, epigenetic changes may provide better etiologic clues and biomarkers. Due to their reversibility, it will become possible to alter unfavorable epigenetic states towards recovery. Therefore, characterizing epigenetic mechanisms gives tremendous opportunities and may open promising insights into pathogenesis of MS, facilitate diagnosis and improve drug development and the treatment of MS patients.

 

 

 

Publications

Selected publications

For full list of publications, please visit Google Scholar: 
Maja Jagodic, Lara Kular, Majid Pahlevan Kakhki, Chiara Sorini.

Funding


Current Research Funding

  • European Research Council (ERC) - ERC grants for research on MS
  • Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation - KAW awards
  • EU/Horizon2020 (co-coordinator) - MultipleMS
  • EU/IMI2 – EUbOPEN - EUbOPEN
  • Swedish Research Council
  • Stockholm County Council (ALF Project)
  • Margaretha af Ugglas Foundation
  • Brain Foundation
  • NEURO-fonden
  • Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation
  • StratNeuro

Members and contact

Group leader

All members of the group

Team leaders

A team leader acts as an additional management support to our research group leader and conducts his/her own research.
 

Research focus: 

  • Autoimmune neuroinflammation and mental health
  • Immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis
     
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Milena Zeitelhofer Adzemovic

Team leader, Autoimmune neuroinflammation and mental health
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Faiez Al Nimer

Teamleader, Immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis

Team members of Milena Zeitelhofer Adzemovic

Team members of Faiez Al Nimer

News & awards


Interview with Maja Jagodic in Swedish Television, Rapport (September 3, 2020):  
SVT - Jagodic
 

Interview with Maja Jagodic, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (2020): 
Developing molecular tools to slow MS
 

KI News, October 16 2020:
Study explains the process that exacerbates MS
 

KI News and Science daily (June 19, 2018): 
Mechanism controlling multiple sclerosis risk identified
 

Multiple Sclerosis News Today (November 22, 2017): 
Smoking induces DNA methylation changes in multiple sclerosis patients

MultipleMS

Maja Jagodic received the KI Postdoc association Best PI at KI award in 2015: 
Best PI at KI award
 

Prizes and awards pictures

Lara Kular was awarded a 600,000 SEK grant from the Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden) in 2022
Ewoud Ewing (center left) and Eliane Piket (right) and their supervisors (Maja Jagodic, center right and Lara Kular, left)
Lara Kular was awarded a 600,000 SEK grant from the Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden) in 2022
Lara Kular was awarded a 600,000 SEK and 1,200,000 SEK grant from the Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden) in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
MultipleMS 2022, Amsterdam
MultipleMS 2022, Amsterdam
MultipleMS 2022, Amsterdam
Lara Kular (first from right) was awarded a grant of 206 800 SEK from Karolinska Institutets Funds
Chiara Sorini grant Neurofonden
Chiara Sorini was awarded a grant from Neurofonden in 2022.
Majid Pahlevan Kakhki was awarded 800,000 SEK from StratNeuro
Majid Pahlevan Kakhki (left) and Eliane Piket (right) received Best Young Investigator Poster Presentations award at the MSVirtual2020, the 8th joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting, held 11-13 September 2020.
Chiara Sorini awarded
Chiara Sorini (right) was awarded a research grant of SEK 125 000 from MS Forskningsfonden
Majid Pahlevan Kakhki was awarded 800,000 SEK from StratNeuro
Majid Pahlevan Kakhki was awarded 800,000 SEK from StratNeuro Funding for postdoctoral researchers, 2022
Eliane Piket won best short talk prize
Eliane Piket (on stage) won the best short talk prize at the Karolinska Institutet Inflammation and Immunology (KIIM) network retreat, October 2019.
Galina Zheleznyakova (second from right)
Galina Zheleznyakova (second from right) was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF) in 2016.
Yanan Han
Yanan Han joined Maja Jagodic's research group as a PhD student in September 2019. She will work on characterizing epigenome of pathogenic cells in Multiple Sclerosis
Lara Kular was awarded a 600,000 SEK grant from the Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden) in 2022
Majid Pahlevan Kakhki was awarded the MSIF-ECTRIMS McDonald fellowship of £64 000 in 2018

Consortia & networks

 

  • International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics consortium (IMSGC)
  • International Human Epigenome consortium (IHEC)
  • European Consortium (EUbOPEN)
  • European Consortium (MultipleMS)
  • Karolinska Neuroimmunology & Multiple Sclerosis centre (KNIMS)

Join us

people joining hands in the middle

We are always looking for motivated students and postdoctoral fellows who share our passion for translational epigenetics to join our lab.

Feel free to contact us if you think we are the right research group for you!

maja.jagodic@ki.se

 

 

 

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Maja Jagodic

Research group leader