Annika C Karlsson.

Annika Karlsson


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PhD, Associate Professor, Group Leader, Deputy Director, Teacher, Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

About me

PhD, Associate Professor, Group leader. I obtained an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Laboratory Science, specializing within the field of clinical microbiology and immunology. Subsequently, I earned an PhD-degree in clinical virology from KI in 2000, followed by 4,5 years as a postdoctoral fellow at Gladstone Institutes of Virology and Immunology, UCSF, San Francisco, broadening my research expertise in clinical immunology, virus-host interactions, especially virus-specific T cell responses and how genetic variability and activity of the virus and host shapes the responding T cell population. I returned to Sweden in 2005 and was appointed Associate Professor in clinical virology at Karolinska Institutet in 2009. The research conducted in the group is currently funded by several national grants received from the Swedish Research Council, Centrum for Innovative Medicine, KI Research Foundation Grants, KI Partial funding of new postgraduate student, ALF Med, and The Swedish Physicians Against AIDS Research Foundation.

Research description

I have extensive experience managing multiple research projects in the following areas: clinical virology and immunology, virus- and cancer-specific T cell responses, MHC-peptide-TCR interactions, antigen-specific T cell function and exhaustion in blood and tissue, transcriptional activation and regulation of T cell responses, bioinformatics, HIV pathogenesis, molecular biology, viral evolution, antiretroviral therapy, antiretroviral (drug) resistance. Using this knowledge, I have established an advanced system to conduct detailed studies of T cell pathology during acute and chronic viral infections and cancer. Internationally, I have developed a reputation in the fields of T cell induced escape and selective pressures, HIV pathogenesis, cross reactive T cells, molecular mechanisms influencing T cell function as well as in T cell immunology assays.

Teaching portfolio

At KI, I have been actively involved in the training and teaching of biomedical scientists, physicians, biomedical students, optics, and doctoral students during seminars, lectures, and courses since 2005. I am the course organizer for Project work 15hp in Biomedical Laboratory Science (Level-C, se; kandidat) arranged at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine.

I served as the educational board member for the division of clinical microbiology at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, KI, 2016 – 2022 and IPL day facilitor at KI 2020 - 2022.

Currently, I am heavily involved in the working groups for the new master program in Biomedical Laboratory Science and new undergraduate programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science (se; biomedicinsk analytiker, BMA).



1998   Licentiate in Clinical Virology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

1996   Bachelor in Biomedical Science (i.e. biomedical laboratory science - BMA) University of Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden

1990   University Certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology (i.e. biomedical laboratory science - BMA), University of Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden

Doctoral degree 

2000-12-15   PhD in Virology at the Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden. Title: Viral dynamics and evolution following primary HIV-1 infection. Main supervisor: Professor Anders Sönnerborg, MD, PhD.

Postdoc appointments

2007 – 2009    Assistant Professor, Postdoctoral research fellow, KI,Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology (MTC), Solna, Sweden

2005 – 2007    Assistant Professor, Postdoctoral research fellow, The Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden

2004 – 2005    Research Scientist. Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

2001 – 2004    Postdoctoral Fellow. Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Docent - level competence

2009-09-23     Associate Professor of Virology at the Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2003   University of California San Francisco, Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, Center for AIDS Research Mentored Scientist Development Award

2001   Sven Gard Stipend for Best Thesis in Virology at KI

1999   Swedish Physician Against AIDS Research Fund “Best Young Swedish Scientist in the field of HIV/AIDS”