Published: 10-04-2024 13:26 | Updated: 26-04-2024 09:11

KISCO - a stem cell facility at Labmed

Portrait photos of Mukesh Varshney and Jose Inzunza.
From left: Mukesh Varshney and Jose Inzunza. Photo: Private

The Karolinska Stem Cell Organoids (KISCO) facility recently moved from Bionut to Labmed. The KISCO facility focuses on services related to human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC).

The main goal of the KISCO facility is, to assist researchers mainly within KI and Sweden to harbour the potential of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in studying complex human disease mechanisms. A key tool offered and that will be continuously developed is the derivation and use of in vitro organoid systems of stem cell origin. KISCO is unique in offering these services as a core facility in Sweden.

– We have a fully equipped laboratory to conduct experiments in pre-implantation embryology and stem cell biology and strive to offer relevant complex stem cell models to study human development and disease, says Jose Inzunza, Director of the facility.

The move to Labmed and ANA Futura

In March KISCO moved to Labmed (Division of Clinical Microbiology) and the ANA Futura premises on floor 7. Jose and his colleague Dr. Mukesh Varshney, who is the Laboratory manager in the facility are very pleased how things have turned out so far. 

Jose continues:

– We would like to convey to our new colleagues at LabMed that we are very happy to belong to this Department. We have received a very warm welcome and we feel that our ambition to become a leading core facility in the area of stem cells, organoids and regenerative medicine resonates very well with the vision of Labmed. 

– We are more than happy to assist our new LabMed colleagues and provide services if they want to integrate 3D cellular models into their projects, create induced pluripotent cells lines or need advice in their projects. 

Now we know all about the facility, but what do you like to do when you are not working?

– I like to travel, meet new people, and have interesting conversation about life in general. I also like attending the gym and swimming. I also like to read a good book and enjoy listening to music, says Jose.


All the services from the KISCO facility have to be requested via iLab. If you have questions, please contact Jose or Mukesh.

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Jose Inzunza

Director of the KISCO facility
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Profile image

Mukesh Varshney

Laboratory manager in the KISCO facility
Department of Laboratory Medicine

How the KISCO facility was established

Jose Inzunza's background is in developmental biology where he was working in preimplantation genetics diagnosis (PGD) at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology. At that time many who worked with PGD moved to the derivation of the human embryonic stem cells, because they had access to surplus embryos used in infertility treatment. The first human embryonic stem cells laboratory at KI was established and he was responsible for the derivation and characterization of the established cell lines. 


After moving to the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition (Bionut) in 2003, he extensively used human embryonic stem cells as in vitro models in different projects and collaboration studies. In this process they saw a great potential in using stem cell models to study human organogenesis and in finding new disease treatments (e.g. based on cell therapy). However, there was a lack of centralized facility at KI to assist researchers in this very technical field.


Nearly 15 years ago, Prof. Jan-Åke Gustafsson, who was Head of the Department, supported Jose to set up a local stem cell facility in BioNut, with the ambition to help local researchers to establish stem cell models. The facility was frequently used by research groups to implement stem cell models in their research to solve complex biological questions.


Later in 2016, Dr. Mukesh Varshney, then researcher in Prof. Gustafsson’s group, joined the facility and they started to develop complex brain organoid models from mouse ESCs which were quite instrumental in studying neurodevelopment and degenerative disorders. They decided to move into developing tissue-specific 3D in vitro organoid models from human iPSCs and offer them through KISCO facility to a wider scientific community which was lacking at KI and the region. The response exceeded their expectations, and they had to prioritize customers according to feasibility and project timelines. Now, KISCO works on a fee-for-service basis via iLAb system and has expanded 3D in vitro models from patient biopsies including, endometrial, colon and lung organoids. Currently, they receive requests from internal as well as external researchers ranging from universities to companies.