Research description

Allergic diseases such as rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma and atopic eczema are examples of unwanted immune reactions. Today they are one of the commonest causes of chronic ill health why there is a great need for novel initiatives within health care for prevention, specific diagnosis and treatment. Besides personal suffering allergic diseases cause heavy health care costs. Allergic diseases are likely to result from defects in the immune system with both genetic and environmental factors contributing to the symptoms.

The overall objectives of our research are:

i) to elucidate mechanisms that determine whether or not an exposed individual will become sensitized to allergens with a focus on host-microbe and gene-environment interactions, and

ii) to provide knowledge on how the body's own regulatory mechanisms in combination with nanotechnology-based systems can be used for prevention and treatment.

The project is addressed in translational and cross-disciplinary collaborations with several national and international research groups. Together we form a strong team composed of front line research where clinical and epidemiological research is combined with research in immunology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, genetics, epi-genetics, proteomics and nanotechnology. The following techniques and equipments are available in our own laboratory: generation and culture of human dendritic cells, T cells, B cells, NKT cells, and mast cells; cell proliferation assays, flow cytometry, immunocyto/histochemistry; CBA, ELISA, ELISpot or RT-PCR for detection of cytokine production; methods for quantification and characterization of allergens, sequencing and cloning, expression systems for recombinant allergens, cDNA microarray technology, and access to animal facilities. We have a confocal laser scanning microscope equipped with time-lapse photography for studies of interactions between allergens or nanoparticles and different cell types and for 3-D localization of uptake.