Research projects

Research projects

 

How do microbe-immune interactions in the gut shape the function of our immune system?

The most pronounced colonization of the newborn infant occurs in the intestine and the establishment of the gut microbiota starts immediately during and after birth. The mucosal epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract is the largest surface of the human body where an important cross talk between microbial antigens, epithelial cells and the immune system takes place. These interactions seem to be of major importance for intestinal and epithelial homeostasis as well as for immune maturation, as demonstrated in several different murine models. While the gut microbiota composition of a healthy adult is remarkably stable, the neonatal microbiota is very dynamic, and highly dependent on factors such as delivery mode, hygienic standards and antibiotic usage. Read more

 

Herpesvirus, immune maturation and allergy development

Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and Cytomegalovirus (CMV) are both widely spread herpesviruses that infect immune cells and establish latency (in B cells and in cells of the monocytic lineage respectively) in the host after primary infection and they are considered as a part of our “virobiome”. The time-point for infection is associated with socio-economic conditions, and seroconversion occurs comparably late in Westernized countries. Although herpesvirus latency influences the immune system also in the asymptomatic host, the mechanisms behind this are still not very clear. As herpesviruses and man have co-evolved for a long time, several of these virus-induced effects on our immune system could be beneficial or at least confer an immunological imprint that we consider as “normal”. This is relevant to consider today, with the knowledge that the time-point for sero-conversion is more and more delayed, in particular in Westernized countries - is there for example an immunological advantage of an early EBV infection? For EBV, an infection during infancy is usually asymptomatic, but a later infection in adolescence or adulthood is frequently associated with mononucleosis. These age-related differences in symptoms has been ascribed the differences in immune maturation between infants and adults, but is still poorly understood. Read more

Eva Sverremark Ekström

 

Eva Sverremark Ekström, Professor

Visiting address:
Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C
Room F530

Postal address:
Stockholm University
Department of Molecular Biosciences,
The Wenner-Gren Institute
SE-106 91 Stockholm

Telephone: +46 8 16 4178
Fax: +46 8 16 4209
E-mail: eva.sverremark@su.se

Group members

Manuel Mata Forsberg
Sophia Björkander
Qazi Khaleda Rahman
Gintare Lasaviciute
Szilvia Szilaqyi
Anna Höbinger
Willemien van Zwol
Markus Hiding