Ongoing projects

Biomatcell

Is a Swedish center of excellence with focus on biomaterial sciences and cell therapy. Using real-time PCR and techniques that we develop for single cell expression profiling we study the growth of cells at the surface of implants. We are developing methods to study the expression of genes in individual cells, and to correlate the expression to physiologic cell properties such as membrane potential as measured by patch clamp technique on the same cell.

EdU-GLIA

EdU-GLIA is a Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) with the aim to train the future generation of leading investigators in the field of glia-neuron interactions. Recent research has shown that glial cells may act as neural stem cells, and are crucially involved in virtually every aspect of nervous system function, from early embryonic development to neurodegeneration and regeneration. Prompted by these discoveries, many groups are currently focusing their research on this field which created a need for outstanding young scientists willing to join this concerted effort, and offer them great career opportunities. For this purpose, our fellows will pursue collaborative research projects studying glia-neuron interactions from early development to old age, with emphasis on pathology and clinical impact. The projects will be based upon innovative and versatile model systems and advanced research techniques, and upon the original concepts of the participating senior scientists.

EpiTrain

The goal of the Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) is to provide open training facilities for the next generation of researchers in the field of medical epigenetic research. By training a new generation of researchers across the whole spectrum of research that will take place in the context of this training program, synergies between the different research components will be created. Importantly, this project will have a strong impact on European Research allowing researchers to cross the borders between different disciplines. The network will also develop an open-access data management strategy to enable data storage and dissemination. The EpiTrain training program will increase the international competitiveness of European research in Epigenetics. We will apply and integrate existing epidemiological, genetic and molecular techniques to investigate the molecular consequences of the gene-environment interactions on a large scale across a range of common diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, autism, neuropsychiatric illnesses etc., but also develop and test novel tools for epigenetic analyses.

EurHEALTHAgeing

EurHEALTHAgeing is a multidisciplinary project linking studies of early developmental processes with those on longevity and ageing by combining use of cutting edge technologies – post-translational modifications, DNA methylation, metabolomics and genomics with unique cohorts with multiple ageing phenotypes. Within the project we will use four key European study cohorts with rich early life data and age-related health outcomes. These consist of a unique twin dataset, two birth cohorts with extensive maternal, pre- and peri-natal data and a population based cohort of subjects in their 60s-70s. By analyzing specific age related metabolomics, epigenetic (methylation and post-translational modification) data and correlating it to early life events, genetics and ageing outcomes we will provide major insights into developmental processes that influence longevity and ageing. By focusing on molecular mechanisms involved in both early life events and ageing we will find genes and pathways that are relevant in both early development and adult life. This will also allow us to develop biomarkers of ageing that reflect the role of early development on ageing; potentially identifying pathways for therapeutic intervention when the process is still reversible.

Expression profiling

In collaboration with MultiD Analyses we develop methods for multivariate real-time PCR expression profiling. These methods are particularly powerful for the classification of genes and samples with similar expression patterns, and they are useful for applications from the identification of expression pathways to classification of diseases based on expression profiles.

Immuno-qPCR

In many cases expression of proteins is more informative than gene expression profiles. We have combined the sensitivity and accuracy of qPCR with the specificity of immunoassays in immuno qPCR (J. Immun. Meth. 304, 107-116, 2005). Binding the protein by two specific antibodies, one of which is tagged with an oligonucleotide, we can, after careful washing, determine the amount of target protein by amplifying the DNA. Immuno qPCR can be performed in most conventional standard qPCR instruments.

Single-cell and sub cell qPCR

We also study heterogeneity on cellular level, and have found that expression of certain genes can differ several orders of magnitude between cells in the same seemingly homogeneous population (Genome Research 15, 1388-1392, 2005, Nature Reviews Genetics 6, 1, 2006). In particular, we discovered that expression of genes in individual cells varies according to the log normal distribution. We also developed a technique to measure intracellular mRNA gradients by real-time PCR.

SPIDIA

In vitro diagnostics have allowed a great deal of progress in medicine but are limited by two factors: (a) the lack of guidelines in collection, handling, stabilisation and storage of biosamples which limits the reproducibility of subsequent diagnoses, and (b) its scale is restrained to the cellular level. To address this first point, the EU FP7 funded Integrated Project SPIDIA aims at developing quality guidelines for molecular in vitro diagnostics and to standardise the pre-analytical workflow in related procedures. Regarding the second point, SPIDIA aims at developing modern pre-analytical tools for diagnostics improving the stabilisation, handling and study of free biomolecules within blood, plasma, serum, tissues and tumours.