Published: 14-11-2014 07:59 | Updated: 14-11-2014 08:04

VR-funding to CIM researchers

Niklas Björkström and Yenan Bryceson, both research group leaders at CIM, have received a grant for young researchers from the Swedish Research Council, VR, of 6 million SEK each running over 4 years.

Congratulations to you both! What does this grant mean to you?

Niklas: VR is one of the cornerstones for funding medical research in Sweden which makes it very important, as a researcher, to receive attention from them. It is of course also very honouring that the work we have been doing in the group over the last years reviews appreciation from VR.

Yenan: VR is fundamental with respect to funding medical research in Sweden, so a grant from them is an important stamp of approval. I am just finishing a four-year FoAss funded by VR, so it is gratifying that they continue their support, finding our research current to be of high interest. I am also of course happy that they still consider me to be a young researcher in spite of many more grey hairs!

Niklas BjörkströmRegulation of human natural killer cells during inflammatory liver diseases is the title of Niklas Björkström´s research project. Tell us more about the project!

Niklas: Although not commonly thought of as an immunological organ, the liver contains large numbers of immune cells and many pathological processes in the organ are direct consequences of misdirected immune responses. In particular, the human liver is selectively enriched for natural killer (NK) cells, innate lymphocytes important during infections and in inflammation, representing up to 40% of all lymphocytes at the organ. The overall aim of this project is to investigate NK cell development and functional regulation in the healthy human liver and to study their role during settings of liver disease. We anticipate generating new understanding of basic NK-cell biology in the liver as well as on the role of intrahepatic NK cells during liver inflammation.

Yenan BrycesonStudies of primary human immuno-deficencies affecting cytotoxic lymphocyte function is the title of Yenan Bryceson´s research project. What is this project about?

Yenan: Genetic mutations, impairing the ability of certain white blood cells to kill infected or malignant target cells, can cause potentially fatal hyperinflammatory syndromes associated with disproportionate immune responses or, alternatively, early-onset systemic autoimmunity or hematological malignancies. Many cases cannot be explained by current insights. The overall aims of our research is to understand how immune cells capable of killing target cells develop and mechanistically exert their functions. Our endeavours promise not only new immunological insights, but may also lead to development and implementation of novel, life-saving clinical diagnostic assays.