Stockholm University

The Department of Immunology at Wenner-Gren Institute, Prof. Klavs Berzins, Prof. Marita Troye-Blomberg

The laboratory of Klavs Berzins has been engaged in malaria research for more than 25 years, mainly concerning characterization of P. falciparum target antigens for protective immune responses. A major focus of the research during the last 10 years has been studies on the mechanisms for antibody mediated parasite neutralization as well as on mechanisms for parasite evasion from immune pressure. The group has developed sensitive in vitro assays to study the effects on the malaria parasite of antibodies alone or in co-operation with effector cells. The work has so far focused on two conserved antigens and human poly- and monoclonal antibodies have been instrumental in showing that the parasite has developed means of evasion also from immune pressure targeting such antigens.

The Department of Immunology at Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University has a long tradition in studies of immune responses in human and animal systems through research and education, covering areas of innate immune- and mucosal- as well as classical acquired immune responses. A large proportion of the activities is devoted to malaria research with special emphasis on immuno-regulatory and immune evasion mechanisms. This unit was started in 1979 and currently involves 20 persons, including scientist, postgraduate students and technical staff. It also accepts long and short term fellows from the developing world (presently 6 students). The unit has extensive collaboration with malaria research departments in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Cameroon. The scientists of the unit are well trained and experienced in cellular and molecular immunology, molecular biology, cell biology and immunogenetics. In the international appreciation of the front line malaria research conducted in Stockholm, the Secretariat for the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria was allocated to Stockholm University 2002-2005, with M. Troye-Blomberg as Director and K. Berzins as Executive Board Member. The fields of relevant expertise include host-parasite and interactions with emphasis on immune responses (innate and adaptive) and immune regulation in this context, in vitro assays of immune responses and their parasite neutralizing effects, studies on parasite evasion mechanisms. Role and main tasks: The role of SU within OPTIMALVAC will be 1) to work towards robust harmonised cell dependent inhibition assays (ADCI/Gim) according to the objectives and aims of WP2 (K. Berzins), and 2) work towards optimized and harmonised cell-mediated immune assays, aiming at harmonizing T cell assays according to the objectives and goals of WP3 (M. Troye-Blomberg).