About me

I am a professor of clinical immunology at the Division of Immunology, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet. 

I was trained as a medical doctor and graduated from Sun Yat-Sen Medical University in China in 1993. During 1993 and 1994, I worked as a physician at the Guangzhou Respiratory Disease Research Institute. I obtained my PhD degree in Clinical Immunology / Immunology at the Karolinska Institutet in 1999 and carried out postdoc training at Harvard Medical School in 2000. In 2001 I came back to the Karolinska Institutet where I became an associate professor and group leader in 2004. I was appointed professor of clinical immunology at the Karolinska Institutet in 2011.

I was a guest professor at Beijing University (2005-2009), Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Centre (2012-2021) and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute (2015-2023). I was also a visiting scientist/professor in Harvard Medical School (2012), Rockefeller University (2013-2015, short sabbatical visits) and the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT (2015-2019, 2022, short sabbatical visits).

I have supervised 12 PhD students and trained 24 postdocs and have published altogether 207 papers in areas of immunoglobulin gene diversifications, primary immunodeficiencies, genome instability, infectious diseases, B cell malignancies and cancer genetics. 

Research description

Current projects

Regulation of immunoglobulin class switch recombination in human B cells

The project is aimed at understanding the complex molecular mechanisms involved in DNA editing, repair and recombination during immunoglobulin class switch recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation (SHM) and their involvement in the pathophysiological processes leading to immunodeficiency, genome instability and cancer development in humans.

Induced pluripotent stems cells a platform for personalized diagnosis and therapy in patients with primary immunodeficiency

The project is aimed at reprogramming the fibroblasts or peripheral blood B cells derived from IgA deficient (IgAD) patients into pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and to re-differentiate these iPS cells into antibody-producing B cells. If successful, this study may provide a potentially curative treatment in patients with IgA deficiency. They will also provide a methodological platform for studies aimed at replacing cells in patients with a variety of other primary immunodeficiency diseases as well as autoimmune and neurological disorders associated with these diseases.

Discovery of therapeutic targets in B cell lymphoma by next generation sequencing

The project is aimed at identifying potentially treatable molecular targets in mature B cell lymphomas (with focus on diffuse large B cell lymphomas and mantle cell lymphomas) by high-throughput, next generation-sequencing omic- technologies such as whole genome and exome sequencing and RNA-seq.

Antibody therapy against CVID-19

The project is aimed at establishing a passive immunotherapy against coronavirus COVID19. To reach this overall goal, we will obtain blood samples from convalescent donors, i.e. people who have recovered from the infection, to isolate antibodies that can be used to prevent and to treat the disease. 

Our research is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR), Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden),  Stockholm Cancer Society (Radiumhemmets), Center for innovative Medicine (CIMED), EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and Mayo Clinic Cancer Research Center and Cancer Research KI (Cancer Research Award).

Selected publications

Mesoscale DNA feature in antibody-coding sequence facilitates somatic hypermutation. Wang Y, Zhang S, Yang X, Hwang JK, Zhan C, Lian C, et al. Cell. 2023 May 11;186(10):2193-2207.e19.

Heterologous inactivated virus/mRNA vaccination response to BF.7, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1. Zuo F, Sun R, Abolhassani H, Du L, Wang Y, Vlachiotis S, et  al. Lancet Reg Health West Pac. 2023 Apr;33:100762.

DNA repair mechanisms that promote insertion-deletion events during immunoglobulin gene diversification. Hao Q, Zhan C, Lian C, Luo S, Cao W, Wang B, Xie X, Ye X, et al. Sci Immunol. 2023 Mar 31;8(81):eade1167. 

Human neutralizing antibodies to cold linear epitopes and subdomain 1 of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. Bianchini F, Crivelli V, Abernathy ME, Guerra C, Palus M, er  al. Sci Immunol. 2023 Mar 17;8(81):eade0958.

Inherited IFNAR1 Deficiency in a Child with Both Critical COVID-19 Pneumonia and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. Abolhassani H, Landegren N, Bastard P, Materna M, Modaresi M, Du L, et al. J Clin Immunol 2022 Apr;42(3):471-483

A single-cell atlas of diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Ye X, Wang L, Nie M, Wang Y, Dong S, Ren W, Li G, Li ZM, Wu K, Pan-Hammarström Q Cell Rep 2022 Apr;39(3):110713

Heterologous immunization with inactivated vaccine followed by mRNA-booster elicits strong immunity against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Zuo F, Abolhassani H, Du L, Piralla A, Bertoglio F, de Campos-Mata L, Wan H, et al. Nat Commun 2022 May;13(1):2670

Human T-bet governs the generation of a distinct subset of CD11chighCD21low B cells. Yang R, Avery DT, Jackson KJL, Ogishi M, Benhsaien I, Du L, Ye X, et al. Sci Immunol 2022 Jul;7(73):eabq3277

Recessive inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in children with COVID-19 pneumonia. Zhang Q, Matuozzo D, Le Pen J, Lee D, Moens L, Asano T, Bohlen J, et al. J Exp Med 2022 Aug;219(8)

Limited cross-variant neutralization after primary Omicron infection: consideration for a variant-containing booster. Marcotte H, Hammarström L, Pan-Hammarström Q Signal Transduct Target Ther 2022 Aug;7(1):294

Genetic and immunologic evaluation of children with inborn errors of immunity and severe or critical COVID-19. Abolhassani H, Delavari S, Landegren N, Shokri S, Bastard P, Du L, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2022 Nov;150(5):1059-1073

Mucosal IgA against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Infection. Zuo F, Marcotte H, Hammarström L, Pan-Hammarström Q N Engl J Med 2022 Nov;387(21):e55

The dual role of CD70 in B-cell lymphomagenesis. Nie M, Ren W, Ye X, Berglund M, Wang X, Fjordén K, Du L, et al. Clin Transl Med 2022 Dec;12(12):e1118

SARS-CoV-2 specific B- and T-cell immunity in a population-based study of young Swedish adults. Björkander S, Du L, Zuo F, Ekström S, Wang Y, Wan H, Sherina N, et al., J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Oct

X-Linked TLR7 Deficiency Underlies Critical COVID-19 Pneumonia in a Male Patient with Ataxia-Telangiectasia. Abolhassani H, Vosughimotlagh A, Asano T, Landegren N, Boisson B, Delavari S, et al., J Clin Immunol 2021 Oct

Antibody therapy for COVID-19. Hammarström L, Marcotte H, Piralla A, Baldanti F, Pan-Hammarström Q Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Sep

X-linked recessive TLR7 deficiency in ~1% of men under 60 years old with life-threatening COVID-19. Asano T, Boisson B, Onodi F, Matuozzo D, Moncada-Velez M, Maglorius Renkilaraj MRL, et al. Sci Immunol 2021 08;6(62): eabl4348. 

Autoantibodies neutralizing type I IFNs are present in ~4% of uninfected individuals over 70 years old and account for ~20% of COVID-19 deaths. Bastard P, Gervais A, Le Voyer T, Rosain J, Philippot Q, Manry J, Michailidis E, et al. Sci Immunol 2021 08;6(62): eabl4340. 

Genetic mechanisms of HLA-I loss and immune escape in diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Fangazio M, Ladewig E, Gomez K, Garcia-Ibanez L, Kumar R, Teruya-Feldstein J, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jun;118(22)

Persistence of SARS-CoV-2-specific B and T cell responses in convalescent COVID-19 patients 6-8 months after the infection. Sherina N, Piralla A, Du L, Wan H, Kumagai-Braesch M, Andréll J, et al. Med (N Y) 2021 Mar;2(3):281-295.e4

Bispecific IgG neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 variants and prevents escape in mice. De Gasparo R, Pedotti M, Simonelli L, Nickl P, et al Nature 2021 Mar; doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03461-y. 

Genome-wide mutational signatures revealed distinct developmental paths for human B cell lymphomas. Ye X, Ren W, Liu D, Li X, Li W, Wang X, et al J Exp Med 2021 Feb;218(2):e20200573. doi: 10.1084/jem.20200573.

Human T-bet Governs Innate and Innate-like Adaptive IFN-γ Immunity against Mycobacteria. Yang R, Mele F, Worley L, Langlais D, Rosain J, Benhsaien I, et al Cell 2020 Dec 3:S0092-8674(20)31453-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.046.

Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes. ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium Nature 2020 02;578(7793):82-93

Genomic basis for RNA alterations in cancer PCAWG Transcriptome Core Group, et al Nature 2020 578(7793);129-136

Genetic landscape of hepatitis B virus-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Ren W, Ye X, Su H, Li W, Liu D, Pirmoradian M, et al Blood 2018 06;131(24):2670-2681

Reduced immunoglobulin gene diversity in patients with Cornelia de Lange syndrome. Björkman A, Du L, van der Burg M, Cormier-Daire V, Borck G, Pié J, et al J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2018 01;141(1):408-411.e8

Combined immunodeficiency and Epstein-Barr virus-induced B cell malignancy in humans with inherited CD70 deficiency. Abolhassani H, Edwards ES, Ikinciogullari A, Jing H, Borte S, Buggert M, et al J. Exp. Med. 2017 01;214(1):91-106

Common variants at PVT1, ATG13-AMBRA1, AHI1 and CLEC16A are associated with selective IgA deficiency. Bronson PG, Chang D, Bhangale T, Seldin MF, Ortmann W, Ferreira RC, et al Nat. Genet. 2016 11;48(11):1425-1429

Genetic basis of PD-L1 overexpression in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Georgiou K, Chen L, Berglund M, Ren W, de Miranda NF, Lisboa S, et al Blood 2016 06;127(24):3026-34

Frequent alterations in cytoskeleton remodelling genes in primary and metastatic lung adenocarcinomas. Wu K, Zhang X, Li F, Xiao D, Hou Y, Zhu S, et al Nat Commun 2015 Dec;6():10131

Aberrant recombination and repair during immunoglobulin class switching in BRCA1-deficient human B cells. Björkman A, Qvist P, Du L, Bartish M, Zaravinos A, Georgiou K, et al Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2015 Feb;112(7):2157-62

B cell super-enhancers and regulatory clusters recruit AID tumorigenic activity. Qian J, Wang Q, Dose M, Pruett N, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Resch W, et al Cell 2014 Dec;159(7):1524-37

Exome sequencing reveals novel mutation targets in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas derived from Chinese patients. de Miranda NF, Georgiou K, Chen L, Wu C, Gao Z, Zaravinos A, et al Blood 2014 Oct;124(16):2544-53

A regulatory role for the cohesin loader NIPBL in nonhomologous end joining during immunoglobulin class switch recombination. Enervald E, Du L, Visnes T, Björkman A, Lindgren E, Wincent J, et al J. Exp. Med. 2013 Nov;210(12):2503-13

DNA repair genes are selectively mutated in diffuse large B cell lymphomas. de Miranda NF, Peng R, Georgiou K, Wu C, Falk Sörqvist E, Berglund M, et al J. Exp. Med. 2013 Aug;210(9):1729-42

Nurture your scientific curiosity early in your research career. Jagodic M, Stridh P, Gad AK, Paine A, Udekwu KI, Sjöholm LK, et al Nat. Genet. 2013 Feb;45(2):116-8

Complete list of publications


-Bachelor degree in Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen Medical University, China, 1988-1993

-PhD degree in Clinical Immunology/Immunology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, 1994-1999

-Executive education program of leadership development, Harvard Business School, USA, 2017-2019    

Academic honours, awards and prizes

-Scholarship for postdoctoral medical research, Swedish Society for Medical Research, 2003

-Assistant Professor position, 4 years, awarded by the Swedish Research Council, 2003

-Young investigator prize, awarded by the Swedish Society of Medicine, 2007

-ERC Starting Grant, awarded by the European Research Council, 2009

-Senior researcher position, 6 years, awarded by the Swedish Research Council, 2010

-Distinguished Alumni, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, 2011

-Senior investigator award, 5 years, Center for Innovation Medicine, 2016

-Elected member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, 2019

-Adjunct member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, 2023

-Elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Class 7, Medical Sciences, 2023