Translational Microbiome Research and Pandemic Preparedness – Lars Engstrand Group

The Centre for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR) and National Pandemic Centre (NPC) are research centres under the Engstrand group, with a focus on translational microbiome research and pandemic preparedness. CTMR studies the impact of the microbiome on human health and disease, while NPC conducted large-scale sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 during the pandemic and currently collaborates on a number of pandemic preparedness related R&D projects.

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Lars Engstrand Group

Group Photo of Lars Engstrand Group
Group Photo of Lars Engstrand Group Photo: Liza Simonsson
Lars Engstrand

In the Engstrand group, we have established a highly effective translational scientific environment, with a broad interdisciplinary approach to the interface between epidemiology and the microbiological, immunological and genetic aspects of chronic diseases. Our goal is to clarify the pathogenic mechanisms within the fields of gastroenterology, women’s health and cancer, define what is a normal and healthy microbiome, and to improve the prospects for primary prevention.  

The Centre for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR) was launched in January 2016 as a collaborative public-private partnership between Karolinska Institutet and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. The centre builds on a deep understanding of translational microbiome research and has established a broad base of technical, biological, clinical, and epidemiological platforms to study complex microbial communities in well-defined human materials.

Access to Sweden´s population registers combined with biological material obtained in large clinical prospective studies provide the centre with many opportunities for drug discovery, disease intervention and prevention. An infrastructure has been built for large-scale DNA/RNA extraction and sequencing as well as for microbial cultures of human samples.

In March 2020, the National Pandemic Centre (NPC) was started as a Covid-19 diagnostic laboratory as a separate unit to offer large-scale analysis of SARS-CoV-2. Since 2021, NPC has grown and developed to continuously contribute to better preparedness and national preparation for unforeseen events with large-scale impacts on society.  Large-scale sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 constituted the core activity during the pandemic at NPC to contribute to the national surveillance of the evolution of the virus in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomydigheten). In addition to the national preparedness missions, NPC currently conducts research projects related to diagnostics and large-scale analysis platforms, often in collaboration with the majority of national and international partners. Moreover, NPC has a national collaboration with Biobank Sweden for the storage of 1.5 million Covid-19 samples.

Today, CTMR and NPC are two organisations within the Engstrand research group where resources and expertise from both centres are partially shared.

Director

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Lars Engstrand

Director, Professor/överläkare

Alliance Director

Head of Units

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Jessica Alm

National Pandemic Centre (NPC)
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Fredrik Boulund

Bioinformatics and Systems Development
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Marica Hamsten

Project Management and Support