Autoimmunity and adaptive immunity in rheumatic disease – Research group Vivianne Malmström

Our overall aim is to identify critical immune reactions involved in development and perpetuation of rheumatic disease. We focus on both T and B cells and methods enabling the possibility to monitor immune responses in patient-derived research samples. In the longer perspective the data we generate can contribute to new therapeutic (curative or preventive) approaches beyond general immunosuppression, e.g. by antigen-specific tolerization or selective targeting of T cell clones etc.

Autoimmunity and adaptive immunity in rheumatic disease

We are experts on adaptive immunity and study specific immune reactions in patient-derived research samples. The diseases under investigation include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ANCA-associated vasculitis, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (myositis), Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Many of these rheumatic diseases are characterized by a strong genetic association to genes in the HLA locus and to autoantibodies, which is the reason for our strong focus on B and T cells.

By close collaboration with clinician scientists and the rheumatology clinics at both K and ASC (Akademiskt Specialist Centrum) we have the unique possibility of studying immune reactions in well-characterized clinical material both with regard to time points (often longitudinal) in the disease process as well as with regard to tissue compartments (allowing e.g. comparison between site of inflammation and peripheral blood). We do deep immune profiling of lymphocyte phenotypes as well as receptor repertoire analyses of both B and T cells.

 Ongoing research

  • Immune monitoring of autoreactive T cells in the periphery of RA patients and in individuals at risk of developing RA.
  • Immune profiling of autoreactive B cells in RA at different disease stages and in different tissues.
  • B cell immune profiling in blood and kidney in lupus nephritis, including dsDNA-reactivity.
  • BCR and TCR repertoires of autoreactive lymphocytes in RA, AAV, IIM and SLE.
  • T cell immune profiling in RA and PsA in blood and in the joint.
  • Studies of lymphocyte changes following DMARD therapy.
  • Multi-parameter flow and spectral flow cytometry.
  • Single cell sequencing.
  • In vitro lymphocyte assays e.g. fluorospots.
  • Multi-parameter tissue stainings.
  • Protein chemistry and structural biology.
  • Bioinformatic analyses.


We are experts in many facets of adaptive immunology but still collaborate extensively in order to do the best possible science out of the clinical samples we study. E.g. we collaborate within the division of rheumatology with: 

Research group of:

Research teams of:

In addition, we have a strong network in Europe via the IMI-program


Selected publications


We have ongoing grants from the

  • Swedish research council.
  • Gustav den V:s 80-year foundation.
  • The Swedish rheumatology association.

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group