Subject: Medical Sciences
Department/Institution: Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Contact details: Gunilla.Karlsson.Hedestam@ki.se
From June 2019 - September 2019
Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam is a Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research is in the field of immunology and immunogenetics, with a special focus on B cells. Her group studies how antigen-specific antibodies develop in response to infection and vaccination, as well as in diseases driven by pathogenic antibodies directed against self-tissue. She is particularly interested in understanding inter-individual variation in antibody responses, and to what extent the germline gene repertoire influences the development of certain types of responses. To address this, her group has developed methodologies to study the diversity of immunoglobulin germline genes at an individualized level in humans and other outbred species, as well as approaches to trace the evolution of antigen-specific B cell using a combination of monoclonal antibody isolation and high throughput next generation sequencing technologies. She has a long-term interest in understanding the dynamics of memory B cell and plasma cell responses and approaches to modulate the quality of such responses. She received her BSc from Uppsala University in 1990 and a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1993. Between 1994 and 1998, she trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She subsequently worked in the biotech sector for 3 years, before returning to academic research in Sweden in 2001. She became an Associate Professor in 2004 and a tenured Professor in 2012. She holds a Distinguished Professor grant from the Swedish Research Council, grants from the NIH and the EU H2020 program, as well as an ERC Advanced grant. She is a member of the Department management board since 2009 and the Deputy Head of the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology since 2013. She was elected to the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in 2016 and as of 2019, she is a member of the Nobel Committee for the Prize in Medicine or Physiology.