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Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset

Alexander Espinosa Team


Our aim is to understand how tumor cells avoid being killed by the immune system and how they disseminate in the body. For this we use classical in vivo and in vitro cancer models, and CRISPR/Cas and BACs to generate genetically engineered mouse models and tumor cells. We also use CRISPR screens to identify genes that regulate tumor cell dissemination. In addition, we are developing new tools for precise spatiotemporal gene editing of immune and tumor cells in vivo.

Team Leader

Alexander Espinosa, PhD, Associate Professor, alexander.espinosa@ki.se, Alexander Espinosa studied molecular biology and mathematics at Stockholm University followed by doctoral studies at Karolinska Institutet with a PhD in experimental medicine (2008). After postdoctoral studies in USA (Harvard School of Public Health and Weill Cornell) (2010-2012), he became an Assistant Professor at Karolinska Institutet (2013). Since 2020, Alexander Espinosa is an Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet.

Team members

Diego Velasquez Pulgarin, PhD, Postdoc, diego.velasques.pulgarin@ki.se

Viktoriia Valkoskaia, BSc, Master student

Sunithi Rajagopalan, BSc, Master student


William Nyberg (PhD student 2015-2019)

Maria Sjöstrand (PhD student 2011-2017)

Alina Johansson (technician 2013-2014)

Lucia Pellé (Erasmus+)

Lin Ferrandiz (Bachelor student)

Tianlin He (Master student)

Emma Kroon (Master student)

Daniel Lake (Master student)

Roxana Reyes (Master student)

Sofia Johansson (Master student)





Prizes and awards

Jonas Söderquist award (2010)

PhD theses from the lab

Selected publications

The bromodomain protein TRIM28 controls the balance between growth and invasiveness in melanoma. Nyberg WA, Velasquez-Pulgarin DA, He T, Sjöstrand M, Pellé L, Covacu R, Espinosa A. EMBO Rep. 2023 Jan 9;24(1)

TRIM21 controls Toll-like receptor 2 responses in bone-marrow-derived macrophages. Sjöstrand M, Carow B, Nyberg WA, Covacu R, Rottenberg ME, Espinosa A. Immunology. 2020 Mar;159(3):335-343

miR-31 regulates energy metabolism and is suppressed in T cells from patients with Sjögren’s syndrome. Johansson A, Nyberg WA, Sjöstrand M, Moruzzi N, Bergman P, Khademi M, Andersson M, Piehl F, Berggren PO, Covacu R, Jagodic M, Espinosa A. Eur J Immunol. 2019 Feb;49(2):313-322

The Expression of BAFF Is Controlled by IRF Transcription Factors. Sjöstrand M, Johansson A, Aqrawi L, Olsson T, Wahren-Herlenius M, Espinosa A. J Immunol. 2016 Jan 1;196(1):91-6

Imiquimod induces ER stress and Ca(2+) influx independently of TLR7 and TLR8. Nyberg WA, Espinosa A. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 May 13;473(4):789-794

About CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) is a foundation instituted by the Stockholm County Council (Region Stockholm). CMM is at the heart of a close partnership with the Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, fueling advancements in biomedical and clinical research.


Center for Molecular Medicine Foundation, org. nr. 815201-3689

Karolinska University Hospital L8:05

Visionsgatan 18

171 76 Stockholm, Sweden


Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset