Elias Arnér research group

The Arnér research group mainly focuses on the mammalian thioredoxin system in health and disease and on the development of selenoprotein production in E.coli.

Picture of members in Elias Arnér's research group.

Our Research 

The Arnér group studies many different topics of selenoproteins and redox biology, under the three main themes of biochemistry, cancer and biotechnology.

Useful links

Other Establishments of the group

We have another group working at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Budapest and are also engaged in two spin-off companies originating from our academic research.


Elias Arnér's presentation at the Baltic Redox Workshop 2020


Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group

About us

Elias Arnér
Elias Arnér. Photo: Private

Elias Arnér, MD PhD, Prof./Head of Division

Elias was admitted as one of the initial ten students of the new MD PhD program at Karolinska Institutet in 1986. He completed his PhD in 1993 with studies on nucleotide metabolism, having Assoc. Prof. Staffan Eriksson as supervisor. In parallel with completing his medical studies Elias engaged in studies of mammalian thioredoxin reductase together with Prof. Arne Holmgren, which has since remained a significant research interest. During a post doc in 1998/1999 with Prof. August Böck in Munich, Germany, Elias studied the production of recombinant selenoproteins, which is another major field of research still conducted in the group. Elias returned to Karolinska Institutet in 1999 and in 2008 he succeeded Prof. Holmgren as head of the biochemistry division.

Attila Andor
Attila Andor. Photo: Private

Attila Andor, PhD, Biochemist

Attila joined the Department of Selenoprotein Research, National Institute of Oncology, Budapest, in September 2020, after a position at Intrexon Laboratories Hungary Kft. He has a background in elaboration of manufacturing processes of recombinant enzymes and drugs of microbial origin. Attila is working with cloning, expression, purification and characterization of recombinant proteins, mainly selenoproteins.

Madeleine Barrett Photo: N/A

Madeleine Barrett, PhD student (NIH/KI)

Madeleine (Maddy) joined the division in August 2023 as a PhD student participating in a joint doctoral program between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and KI. She completed her B.S. degree in Biology in 2018 from Oregon State University and has a background working as an analytical chemist. Her biomedical research experience at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) ranges from studying sympathetic neuron dysfunction as it relates to myocardial infarction in mouse models to working on clinical research trials in precision oncology in OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute. Maddy currently studies the development of glutathione peroxidase inhibitors for the treatment of drug resistant Glioblastoma Multiforme, splitting her time between the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Hall and Dr. Arnér at KI. She has an interest in translational science that bridges the gap between research at the bench to therapeutic strategies applicable in the clinic and looks forward to the many future training opportunities at KI.

Beáta Biri-Kovács
Beáta Biri-Kovács Photo: N/A

Beáta Biri-Kovács, PhD, Post doc

Bea joined the Department of Selenoprotein Research at the National Institute of Oncology in Budapest in December 2022. She obtained her PhD degree in 2018, studying a metastasis-associated S100 protein, while gaining experience in protein-protein interactions in living cells. She has a background in a wide set of cell biological and molecular biological methods with a focus on cancer research. Currently, she is working as a molecular biologist focusing on the study of activation and perturbation of different signaling pathways involved in redox biology using human cell cultures.

Dorian Cheff, PhD, Affiliated to Research

Dorian is currently at AstraZeneca. In our group, she focuses on the development of novel GPX inhibitors.

Qing Cheng
Qing Cheng. Photo: Privat

Qing Cheng, PhD, Senior lab manager

Qing joined the division as a PhD student in 2004. He mainly focuses on optimizing recombinant selenoprotein production methodology and utilizing these techniques in various medical applications including PET imaging, cancer drugs screening, medical diagnosis development, etc. Currently Qing remains as a senior researcher and senior lab manager in the group.

Lucia Coppo
Lucia Coppo. Photo: Privat

Lucia Coppo, PhD, Senior researcher

Lucia joined the division in May 2012 after completing her PhD in Molecular Medicine at the University of Siena, Italy, and BSMS Brighton, UK, studying the role of redox regulation in platelet aggregation and immunity. Her focus here is to explain and describe the role of Glutaredoxin systems and understand the crosstalk between redox modifications and canonical signaling pathways in metabolism. She has a strong background in redox biology, as well as in cell biology and animal models. She enjoys optimization and development of new technologies.

Markus Dagnell
Markus Dagnell. Photo: privat

Markus Dagnell, PhD, Senior researcher

Markus joined the group in the spring of 2014 after completing his PhD in experimental oncology at the Department of Oncology and Pathology at Karolinska Institutet. His main research interests are focused on characterizing novel redox dependent mechanisms regulating protein tyrosine phosphatases during physiological and pathological growth factor signaling.

Radosveta Gencheva
Radosveta Gencheva. Photo: Private

Radosveta Gencheva, MMSc Biomedicine, PhD student

Radosveta joined the division in 2016, as a summer undergraduate student through the KI Summer School in Medical Research. She has a broad background in biomedicine and a keen understanding of the thioredoxin system. Currently, she focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning the anticancer effects of thioredoxin reductase inhibition. She is passionate about scientific communication and outreach and looks forward to honing her project management and visual design skills.

Shayida Maimaiti
Shayida Maimaiti. Photo: Private

Shayida Maimaiti, MMSc, PhD student

Shayida joined the division in September 2020 as a doctoral student. She has graduated both her bachelor's and master's study in Medical Science at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. She has a strong background in molecular biology and animal models. Currently, she focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP) and thioredoxin related protein of 14 kDa (TRP14, encoded by TXNDC17) carry out different functions in cells. She is excited about her new journey at KI.

Pablo Martí Andrés
Pablo Martí Andrés. Photo: Privat foto

Pablo Martí Andrés, PhD, Post doc

Pablo joined the division in February 2021 after completing his international PhD in redox signaling in oxidative stress and acute inflammation, focused on the roles of thioredoxin 1 (Trx1) and thioredoxin-related protein of 14 kDa (TRP14). His current project aims at deciphering how essential trace elements Se, Cu, and Zn modulates redox signaling and oxidative defense in cancer cells, both in vitro and in patient samples. Understanding these complex interactions and their effects may lead to identifying new potential targets for drug therapy.

Tom Miller
Tom Miller Photo: N/A

Tom Miller, MSEng, Cancer Research Affiliate

Tom is a “retired” executive from the US chemicals industry. He’s been involved with research and product development for over 40 years. Tom founded IC-MedTech (ICM) in 2004 to identify and help support innovative academic research focused on redox biology. ICM is a clinical phase biotech developing safe, effective new chemical entities and combination drugs that target cellular redox. ICM began collaborating on anticancer research with KI in 2014. Current interests are the intersection of tumor redox and immunity, with special focus on thioredoxin reductases.

Mahendravarman Mohanraj
Mahendravarman Mohanraj. Photo: privat

Mahendravarman Mohanraj, PhD, Biochemist

Mahendravarman joined the Department of Selenoprotein Research, National Institute of Oncology (NIO), Budapest, in October 2020 after completing a PhD and postdoctoral research in neuro-immunology. He has a strong background in signal transduction, molecular cell biology and cancer biology. At present, his research is focused on understanding the roles of selenoproteins in cancer and gene regulation, and on how their unique functions can be utilized to improve cancer therapy.

Zsuzsanna Pató
Zsuzsanna Anna Pató Photo: Private photo

Zsuzsanna Anna Pató, MSc, Laboratory coordinator

Zsuzsi joined the Department of Selenoprotein Research at the National Institute of Oncology in Budapest in April 2023 after being lab manager at Microdiag Ltd., a small COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory. Previously, she worked on small molecule kinase inhibitors, inflammatory models, and molecular- and palaeoecology, and she holds an MSc in Molecular Immunology and Microbiology. Currently, she carries out laboratory coordinator and day-to-day organization tasks helping with the basic operations of the Department.

Xiaoyuan Ren
Xiaoyuan Ren. Photo: private

Xiaoyuan Ren, PhD, Post doc

Ren joined the division in 2012 as a PhD student under Prof. Arne Holmgren’s supervision. After his dissertation in 2017, he continued working as a post doc at the division. Currently, he is working on a collaborative project about the redox regulation of an epigenetic node in Alzheimer’s disease at Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne University, Paris. His research topics also include anti-cancer drug and antibiotics development, redox signaling, oxidative and nitrosative stress.

Karoline Scholzen
Karoline Scholzen. Photo: Privat

Karoline Scholzen, PhD student

Karoline joined the group in October 2020 to finish her master’s degree. As a student in Biochemistry at Heidelberg University in Germany, she has a broad background in molecular cell biology, with a particular interest in oxidative damage within cells. Her project focuses on the characterization of redox activity sensing probes.

Katalin Uri
Katalin Úri. Photo: Privat foto.

Katalin Úri, PhD, Molecular Biologist

Kata joined the Department of Selenoprotein Research at the National Institute of Oncology in Budapest in July 2021. She obtained her PhD degree from biomarker research in the field of clinical medicine. She has a background in genetic disease research, bioassay development, a pharmaceutical GMP work environment and several molecular biology methods. Currently, she is working as a molecular biologist focusing on ELISA method development for quantification of specific Trx-fold proteins as biomarkers for disease.

Wenchao Zhao
Wenchao Zhao Photo: Private photo.

Wenchao Zhao, PhD, Post doc

Zhao joined the division in April 2021 after completing his PhD in molecular biology at the University of Bonn, Germany, where he studied the impact of individual Secisbp2 mutations on selenoprotein biosynthesis. Currently, he is working on identifying the specific cell death pathway towards anti-cancer effect of thioredoxin reductase inhibitors.


Postal address

Karolinska Institutet
Dept. Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB)
[name of recipient]
SE-171 77 Stockholm

Visiting address

A9, floor 9
Solnavägen 9
SE-171 65 Solna


We have many collaborators around the globe and we believe that good academic collaborations are key facilitators for scientific progress. Here is a list of some of our more active collaborations, with links to the collaborator websites for more information.

At Karolinska Institutet

Within our Department, we are collaborating with the groups of Rikard Holmdahl and Roman Zubarev in projects where we are studying redox control of inflammation and the redox biology of cancer, for which we also received funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (for more information, click here and here).

With Rolf Kiessling and Stina Wickström we are studying the redox biology of antitumoral immunity, with a special focus on how to strengthen the resistance of T and NK cells towards high levels of exogenous oxidative stress.

Elsewhere in Sweden

Together with Volkan Sayin and his group in Gothenburg we are studying the redox biology of cancer, with an aim of developing more efficient therapeutic protocols.

International Collaborators

A long-standing collaborator of ours is Edward “Ed" Schmidt, who is an outstanding expert in genetic mouse models and with whom we have had and continue to have many joint projects. Ed has a laboratory in Montana and, similarly to us, a second laboratory in Budapest, which he runs together with Peter Nagy. We are also collaborating with Peter Nagy, an expert in hydrogen sulfide and protein persulfidation.

We have close collaborations on trace element research and glutathione peroxidases with Anna Kipp in Jena, Germany, with several joint publications and ongoing collaborative projects.

Another close collaboration is with Matthew Hall at NCATS, NIH, with whom we are discovering and characterizing novel inhibitors of selenoproteins, with possible applications for cancer treatment. Drs. Hall and Arnér are also jointly supervising PhD students in the KI-NIH joint PhD program (more information here and here), from where Dorian Cheff graduated in June 2023 (her Ph.D. dissertation is available here) and into which Madeleine Barrett was admitted in the fall of 2023.

Together with Juan Sastre, Valencia, Spain, we are studying the in vivo roles of TRP14 (TXNDC17). Several other groups are also involved in those studies, and among them also Antonio Miranda Vizuete, Sevilla, Spain, who is a colleague and collaborator of ours that we have worked with for many years, and also now in different collaborative projects.

The group of Oliver Thorn-Seshold, Munich, Germany, is a fantastic group of talented chemical biologists that we are very happy to work with, which is a collaboration that also led to development and validation of RX1, which is a remarkably useful tool for assessment of TrxR1 activity in live cells.

If you want to collaborate with us...

Do not hesitate to contact us! You will find our contact information in the contact and staff section on our website.


In this section, you can find the latest news about the research conducted by our group, including our recent discoveries, publications, and collaborations. Stay informed with updates on our ongoing projects here!

Events and awards

Science also happens beyond the lab walls! In Arnér group, we’re involved in diverse, exciting activities. We participate in conferences and meetings where we connect with fellow scientists globally. We’re proud of the awards our members earn, recognizing their outstanding work in their fields, and we also celebrate the achievements in our researchers’ academic journeys.

Know more about...

Contact us

If you wish to contact us, visit the contact and staff section.

Defended PhD theses


Dorian Cheff “Targeting glutathione peroxidases: identifying environmental modulators, and screening for novel small molecule inhibitors”


Belén Espinosa Fernández “Studies of the thioredoxin system in redox signaling and oxidative stress”


Sander Busker “Shedding light on the STAT3 small molecule inhibitor field”


Irina Pader “Characterization of thioredoxin related protein of 14 kDa and its role in redox signaling”


William Stafford “Elucidation of thioredoxin reductase 1 as an anticancer drug target”

Xiaoxiao Peng “Mammalian thioredoxin reductase 1 in antioxidant defense, regulation of adipocyte differentiation and as an anticancer drug target”


Marcus Cebula “Intricate aspects of the thioredoxin system in redox signaling”


Sofi Eriksson “Thioredoxin reductase as a target enzyme for electrophilic anticancer drugs”


Qing Cheng “Development of a Sel-tag for Multimodality Imaging and Studies of Mammalian Thioredoxin Reductase 1”

Pascal Dammeyer “Cancer vaccine strategies and studies of human thioredoxin reductase splice variants”


Stefanie Prast-Nielsen “Exploring thioredoxin reductase as an anticancer drug target”


Olle Rengby “Stretching the genetic code: Incorporation of selenocysteine at specific UGA codons in recombinant proteins produced in Escherichia coli”


Karin Anestål “Mammalian thioredoxin reductase as a drug target in anticancer therapy through direct apoptosis induction by selenium compromised forms of the protein”


Linda Johansson “Selenocysteine in proteins: Properties and biotechnological use”


Anna-Klara Rundlöf “Expression of thioredoxin reductase 1 in mammalian cells with regulation by the core promoter and use of alternative splice variants”

Social activities

At the Arnér lab, we’re not just about science; we’re also about having a great time together. In our Social section, you’ll find snapshots of our group’s activities outside the lab. From boat rides to hanging out over coffee, these moments help strengthen our bonds and add fun to our scientific journey.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Medical Biotechnology (focus on Cell Biology (incl. Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)
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