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Nils Landegren

Affiliated to research

Department and organisational affiliation:

Research description

I am broadly interested in understanding disease mechanisms and improving means to diagnose and treat autoimmune disorders. Our team also has a particular focus on sex differences in autoimmunity.

Autoantibodies as markers of disease. In one of our approaches we are using protein arrays to characterize autoantibody responses, to e.g. identify clinically useful biomarkers. We also develop dedicated antigen panels for diagnostic screening. 

Sex differences in autoimmunity. Women face a four-fold higher risk of developing an autoimmune disorder compared to men. The basis of this sex difference is poorly understood, and it is not taken into account in current treatments. In our ERC-funded project SEXimmune, our team together with collaborators are undertaking a broad investigation of the biological basis of sex differences in the human immune system.

In order to understand the roles of sex hormones we investigate how the immune system is affected during female-to-male or male-to-female sex changes. We apply a combination of large-scale technologies to follow how a broad range of immune parameters are affected by sex hormone transition. To do this we investigate peripheral blood immune cells, plasma proteins and also gut microbiota. As a complementary model to capture the effects of the chromosomal sex, we study mosaic individuals who harbor immune cells with either female or male karyotypes among their peripheral bloodcells. Single cell transcriptomic analysis is used to compare these cell populations, thereby revealing the influence of chromosomal sex against an otherwise fixed genetic and hormonal background. These two model systems are complemented by population-based studies - taking advantage of new data on both sex hormone levels and sex chromosome karyotypes in 500,000 women and men (UK Biobank). This allows us to observe how hormones and chromosomes ultimately influence the risk of autoimmune disease at the population level.

This multipronged approach allow us to dissect the effects of sex hormones and sex chromosomes on immune function in ways that previously have not been possible. This new understanding will provide a foundation for development of improved diagnostics and new treatment strategies in sex-biased autoimmune disorders.

Education

Licenced physician 2018

PhD 2015, Uppsala University

MD 2011, Uppsala University

Academic honours, awards and prizes

ERC Starting Grant, 2020

Swedish Society for Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018

The Swedish Association of Endocrinologists’ Research Stipend of the Year, 2017

The Crafoord Stipend, 2016

Benzeliusbelöning, from the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, 2015

Best Thesis award from the Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, 2015

Thesis of the Year from The Swedish Association of Endocrinologists, 2015

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