Published: 07-12-2023 13:38 | Updated: 07-12-2023 13:40

Hi Margaret - new research group leader at Labmed

We are happy to introduce: Margaret Sällberg Chen, new research group leader at Labmed and the Division of Pathology.

Welcome to LabMed. You are moving with your group from Department of Dental Medicine but have a previous past at Labmed. Tell us more about that.

Margaret Sällberg Chen in the lab.
Margaret Sällberg Chen, Professor of Clinical Oral Immunology. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.

Thank you! My research life actually started at LABMED. Here I received an excellent research training in Anders Sönnerborg's group. As a new PhD graduate, I was offered to do research on experimental RNA vaccines and RNA-engineered T cells in Solna Campus at MTC and FoHM (previous Swedish CDC). They worked amazingly well at that time already in animal models. In 2007, I came back to Campus Flemingsberg and Dentmed to a lecturer position and assignment as study director for doctoral education, and I became a professor a couple of years ago. During my time at ANA Futura, my interest in cancer research grew even more. Therefore, it feels very good to come back to LABMED and the Department of Pathology. I really like the genuine research environment and researcher interactions which are so incredibly stimulating here and I appreciate it every day.

What is your research about?  

My group is interested in pathogens associated with cancer, and how our immune system can be trained and directed to remove them. Those pathogens have many ways to avoid the immune surveillance and can even hide inside human cells. Over the years, we have developed various methods to train the immune system to attack intracellular cancer pathogens. More recently, we have been particularly interested in the microbiome, which in certain circumstances could be involved in the cancer process. Therefore we are now taking an extra closer look at the microbiome along the digestive tract from the mouth and downwards, including in tumors, to understand what is going on and harnessing theri biomarker potentials.

What is the goal? 

I want to contribute to better cure and prevention against cancer. Through research, I hope that the knowledge can lead to even better diagnostics and new treatments that can work even better against cancer, and we support education at several levels to make it even more sustainable.

What has been most exciting and/or challenging? 

Seeing yesterday's research becoming today's best medicines. Having the honor of working with talented students, coworkers and colleagues sharing similar interests and passion as me. The challenge is that the time is not always enough.

What do you like to do when you are not working at KI? 

I do yoga every day and like to be active, slalom is my favorite winter sport. Love to grow orchids, and happy when I find chanterelles in the forest.

Research group members

Margaret's group contains of 1 research specialist, 3 postdocs, 2 PhD-students and 2 affiliated. For more information about the group members, click the links.

Dr. Michal Sobkowiak

Research specialist

I am a research specialist in the MSC group, focusing on unconventional T cell immunology and host-microbe interactions in the context of mucosal immunity and cancer. I received my PhD from KI in 2019 and have been a part of the group since. As an invariant T cell specialist, I have been involved in projects ranging from viral immune evasion, through cancer immune characterization and immunotherapy, to cancer microbiome characterization. My current work focuses on adapting mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells for immunotherapy and broadening the understanding of systemic microbiome-immune interactions.