About me

Professor in Clinical Oral Immunology. Research Group Leader. Faculty Representative Research Education Committee at Karolinska Institutet.

Margaret Sällberg Chen received her D.D.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Karolinska Institutet. Following postdoctoral trainings at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA, where she developed T cell receptor transgene models for immunological studies of infection and cancer, she was recruited to the former Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control to study experimental vaccines and infection immunology. She became full professor 2020 at KI. She has published 90 scientific articles which have been cited by around 4000 other studies. She has active commitments on numerous scientific and editorial board. 

Research description

The lab is broadly interested in immunological mechanisms effective in eliminating microbial pathogens associated with chronic diseases and tumors. The research pursues several lines investigating cellular functions capable of sensing and killing intracellular pathogens and tumors, and the target identification. The models are exclusively human infectious diseases and the methodologies employed include synthetic genetics, genetically modified cells and animals, viral and non-viral vectors, and next generation sequencing.

Major research area: infection and cancer immunity, redirection of lymphocytes, T cell receptors, viral and neo-antigens, human microbiome and immune cell interactions, therapeutic targets in oral diseases including tumors and endodontic infections.

Group members

Dr. Michal Sobkowiak, Research specialist, Dr Sobkowiak holds a PhD in mucosal immunology 

Dr. Pooja Tajpara, Postdoc, Dr. Tajpara holds a Master in Biotechnology and a PhD in human tissue immunology.

Dr. Mahin Ghorbani, Postdoc, Dr Ghorbani has a PhD in metatranscriptome analysis of gut microbiome and biomarker discovery.

Dr. Zara Ahmad Khan, Postdoc, Dr Naud holds a PhD in human microbiota and microbial proteomics.

PhD students: Liyan Lu (DDS), Rahul Harshad Nagadia (DDS, MD, Specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery), Khaled Al-Manei (DDS, MSc Specialist in Endodontics). Affiliated research students: Agne Kvedaraite (DDS, FTV Regio Stockholm), Choon Boon Too (Singapore NTU).

Co-supervisor to PhD students Asif Halimi (MD, Specialist in Surgery)


Tanja Näslund PhD degree 2009, Anna Pasetto PhD degree 2012, Haleh Davanian PhD degree 2014, Michal Sobkowiak PhD degree 2019. Hassan Alkharaan PhD degree 2021. Katie Healy PhD degree 2022, Zeeshan Ateeb PhD degree 2023.

Dr. Anila Yasmeen, Postdoc. Dr. Balasiddaiah Anangi, Postdoc. Dr Rogier Gaiser, Dr Haleh Davanian, Dr Giorgio Garbarini.

Research awards

Cancerfonden, Vetenskapsrådet, KI KID faculty funds, CIMED, Johnson & Johnson Innovation Award, KI/SLL SOF, ALF Stockholm, Radiumhemmets Forskningsfond, NBIS/SciLifeLab Bioinformatics Long-term Support

Teaching portfolio

Formal courses taught at university level

Course director “Exam Work in Oral Sciences”, 30 credits, Dentistry Programme KI, 2015 – present

Course director “Medical Microbiology, 30 credits, Medical Programme KI, 2002

Curriculum Director, Year 2, Dentistry Programme KI, 2014- present

Clinical instructor for Dentistry Students (Year 3-5), Dentistry Programme KI, 2008-2017