Cellular immunology and rheumatic diseases

Cellular immunology and rheumatic diseases


Inflammatory rheumatic disease – importance and contribution of B and T cell subsets

Many inflammatory rheumatic diseases e.g. RA (rheumatoid arthritis) are characterized by specific sets of autoantibodies and a strong genetic association to distinct HLA class II alleles, which implicate a direct role for B and T cells. Today severe cases are often treated with synthetic and biological therapies targeting different facets of our immune system including B and T cells. Still, there is no cure and we do not understand precisely how T and B cell subsets contribute to disease. We study RA but also SLE, APS (anti-phospholipid syndrome), AAV (ANCA-associated vasculitis) and IIM (myositis).

In the cellular immunology/rheumatology group we aim to

a) Identify disease-specific T and B cells from blood and sites of inflammation in research samples from well-characterized patients.

b) Investigate the functionality of different lymphocyte subsets.

c) Develop assays for immune surveillance, i.e. tracking of antigen- and subset-specific  B and T cell in the context of therapeutic intervention and as predictors for clinical outcome.

We study T and B cells in patient samples from the rheumatology clinic, and we collaborate with many research groups and teams including professors Anca Catrina, Elisabet Svenungsson, Iva Gunnarsson and Ingrid Lundberg. Our main method is flow cytometry, and we run and maintain the flow cytometry core at CMM via the work by Annika van Vollenhoven. Moreover, we have an HLA protein lab incorporated into professor Adnane Achours lab at SciLifeLab. Internationally we pursue collaborative efforts within the EU/IMI project RTCure (https://www.rtcure.com).



Group leader

Vivianne Malmström



Job title






Autoimmunity, Immunology


Rheumatic diseases, Rheumatoid arthritis


Adaptive immunity, Amino acids, B-cells, Flow cytometry, Peptides, Proteins, Sequencing, T-cells