The vision of my lab is to prevent the negative impact of infectious diseases on ageing and thereby increase healthy productive years of human life through research.
I am a senior researcher and Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine at Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. I have received my Master and PhD degree from Lund University Sweden. I have completed 4 years postdoctoral training at Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine KI and then appointed as Assistant Professor. Since 2019, I am Principal Investigator and Group Leader at Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.
Recovery from an infection is not always complete, and survivors might suffer some long-term health consequences especially in case of chronic asymptomatic or repeated infections. One of the fundamental question in biomedicine is, how infectious diseases affect the host? How seemingly mild chronic and repeated infections impact on the body and how such impact eventually lead to a hidden long-term devastating outcome for the host.
Our legacy consists of DNA that is packed in chromosomes. When cells divide, the inheritance is copied, but for each cell division, the ends of the DNA threads get shorter. The so-called telomers are shortened which leads us to age. I have previously shown that chronic asymptomatic malaria infections reduce lifespan in birds, mediated through accelerated telomere shortening that occurs in many body tissues (Asghar et al. Science2015). Furthermore, in a recent traveler study at Karolinska University Hospital, we show that malaria infection accelerates cellular ageing in human (Asghar et al. Aging Cell, 2018). However, our knowledge is limited about the underlaying cellular mechanisms that leads to such long-term hidden consequences.
My lab is searching for novel targets beyond state of the art research by targeting cellular aging rather to target classical infiltrated cells and inflammatory molecules to understand such cellular mechanisms that mediate the long term hidden cost of infection. We take integrative approaches by combining experimental, epidemiological and cellular studies to explore impact of infectious diseases (HIV, Tuberculosis, Influenza and bacterial infections) on several aging hallmarks in different immune compartments as well as in different body tissues.
Academic honours, awards and prizes
2020: Telomere Research Network Award, TRN, USA.
2018: Appointed Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine.
2018: VR-Starting grant as a principal investigator.
2016: Attendence of the Global Young Scientence summit in Singapore as promissing young scientist of Karolinska Institutet
2015: Publish an original research paper as first author in Science (Asghar et. al 2015, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1261121).
2015: KATMA Award from Cooper Ornithological Society USA for the best scientific publication of 2015.
2015: Two year postdoctoral fellowship from Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF).