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Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset

Ning Xu Landén Group

Skin wound healing

Chronic wounds are major and rising health and economic burdens worldwide and lack effective treatment. Understanding the roles of novel non-protein-coding RNAs may open a new avenue for treating hard-to-heal wounds.



Chronic wounds are a common and severe medical problem lacking efficient treatments. They are trapped in a constant inflammatory state and fail to progress through the normal stages of wound healing. Although constituting the majority of the transcriptional output of the human genome, the functional importance of non-protein-coding RNA (ncRNAs) has only recently been recognized. Compared to protein-coding genes, ncRNAs’ expression and function are more tissue- and cell-type-specific, underscoring their great potential as precise therapeutic and diagnostic entities.

Our research aims to understand the role of ncRNAs in the skin immune system in response to injury and identify ncRNAs capable of resolving chronic wound inflammation and reactivating the healing program. For this, we are making efforts to (i) establish a gene expression map of human acute, and chronic wounds with single-cell resolution; (ii) identify the biological functions and the underlying molecular mechanisms of wound-related ncRNAs; (iii) develop RNA-based wound treatments. From a new angle, our study will add to the understanding of wound biology and chronic wound pathogenesis, which will open new avenues for disease stratification and highlight novel drug targets for clinical studies.

Group Leader

Ning Xu Landén, Ph.D., Docent, Senior lecturer, ning.xu@ki.se

I received my Ph.D. degree in Medical Virology from Uppsala University (2008), had postdoc training in Molecular Dermatology at Karolinska Institutet (2009-2013). I started my research group at the Center of Molecular Medicine (CMM) in 2014. I have been a Docent in Experimental Dermatology since 2017 and a Senior Lecturer since 2022.

Group members

Xiaowei Bian, MD, Ph.D. student, xiaowei.bian@ki.se

I received my Master’s degree in Surgery from Tianjin Medical University, China (2020). I’m now a Ph.D. student in Molecular Dermatology at Karolinska Institutet (2020 – ).

Zhuang Liu, PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, zhuang.liu@ki.se

I received my Ph.D. degree in population genetics and bioinformatics from China Agricultural University, Beijing, China (2019). I have been working as a postdoctoral researcher in Ning Xu Landén group of Karolinska Institutet since 2019. I now focus on integrating and interpreting multi-omics analyses of human skin wound healing.

Jennifer Geara, PhD student, jennifer.geara@ki.se

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science (with a major in Biomedicine) from Karolinska Institutet in 2018 and my Master’s degree in Medical Science (with a major in Forensic science) from Uppsala University in 2020. After that, I worked in a Sars-Cov-2 diagnostic lab for a few months and continued as a research assistant at the Center for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR) at Karolinska Institutet for more than a year. As of today, I am in the second year of my Ph.D. studies in the Ning Xu Landén group.

Yongjian Chen, PhD student, yongjian.chen@ki.se

I received my Master’s degree in Oncology from Sun Yat-sen University. In 2022, I joined Dr. Ning Xu Landén’s research group as a PhD student.

Guanglin Niu, PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, guanglin.niu@ki.se

I received my Ph.D. degree in Molecular biology from Technical Unversity of Munich in 2021, I have started my postdoc training in Molecular Dermatology at Karolinska Institutet since 2021.

Lihua Luo, MSc, Bioinformatics research assistant, lihua.luo@ki.se

I received my Master’s degree from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2021) and completed an inter-training program at BGI-Research in Shenzhen, China (2017-2021). Currently, I am working as a bioinformatics research assistant in Ning’s group, where I specialize in conducting multi-omic analyses to uncover molecular mechanisms involved in skin wound healing (2022-).


Letian Zhang: PhD student (2018. 10-2023. 4)

Diana Juanes Gusano:Visiting PhD Student (2022.09 – 2022.12).

Monica Maselli:Visiting master student (2022.03 – 2022.09).

Minna Piipponen:Postdoc fellow (2020-2022).

Maria-Alexandra Toma: PhD student in 2017-2022, now working at Amgen Inc.

Qizhang Wang: Visiting PhD student (2020.12–2021.12)

Dongqing Li:Postdoc (2014-2018), Assistant Professor (2018-2021).

Yuen Ting Cheung:master student at Uppsala University, performed a bioinformatic project in 2020-2021.

Darco Zindrou:medical student at KI, performed a summer project in 2020 June.

Milja Miettinen:medical student at KI, performed a master project in 2020.

Manika Vij: postdoc fellow in 2018-2019

Kim Pham: medical student at KI, performed a master project in 2019

Xi Li: PhD student in 2014-2019, now R&D Scientist at Oriflame, Sweden

Victor Qiu: medical student at KI, performed a summer project in 2018

Eva Herter: Postdoc fellow in 2016-2018, now R&D Scientist at Agilent, Germany

Jianmin Wu: Postdoc fellow in 2017-2018, now Associate Professor in Wenzhou Medical University, China

Dani Visscher: Master student in 2017 (Netherlands)

Jingxin Ma: Visiting researcher in 2017, now professor in Dalian Medical University (China)

Aoxue Wang: Visiting researcher in 2016, now professor in Dalian Medical University (China)

Eleni Liapi: Project student in 2016, now PhD student in Maastricht University (Netherlands)

Xi Liu: Master student in 2014, now PhD student in Karolinska Institutet

Benedicta Ugochi Iwuagwu: Master student in 2012, now PhD student in Robert Gordon University (UK)



The Swedish Research Council

KI SRP Diabetes  


LEO Foundation

Lau grant from the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine

HudFonden (Swedish dermatology foundation)

KI Faculty funded position as senior researcher

Karolinska Institutet KID-grant

Karolinska Institute foundation


Ragnar Söderbergs Foundation

Swedish Psoriasis Foundation

Jeanssons Foundation

Åke wibergs Foundation

Foundation La Roche-Posay

Hedlunds foundation

Swedish medical doctor society (SLS) research fund

European Skin Research Foundation

Swedish society for medical research (SSMF) fund

Pfizer AB Investigator Initiated Research fund

Tore Nilssons foundation for medical research

Lars Hiertas memorial foundation

Sigurt och Elsa Goljes memorial foundation

Prizes & awards

2020 LEO Foundation Award (Europe/Middle East/Africa, EMEA)

A global recognition given annually to one outstanding young scientist, whose

work represent extraordinary contributions to dermatology research.

2015 – 2020 Ragnar S.derberg Fellowship in Medicine (5% success rate)

2013 European Dermatology Research prize awarded by La Roche Posay Foundation

2013 Future Leader Academy, European Society for Dermatological Research

PhD theses from the lab

Understanding the role of regulatory RNAs in human skin wound healing

Author: Zhang, Letian

Defense date: 2023-03-10

Location:  Lecture Hall, Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM), L8:00 Karolinska University Hospital, Solna

Department: Inst för medicin, Solna / Dept of Medicine, Solna

Regulatory roles for long noncoding RNAs and circular RNAs in human skin wound repair

Author: Toma, Maria-Alexandra

Defense date: 2022-04-08

Location:  Lecture Hall, Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM)

L8:00 Karolinska University Hospital, Solna

Department: Inst för medicin, Solna / Dept of Medicine, Solna

The roles of microRNA in skin wound healing

Author: Li, Xi

​Defence date: 2019-02-08

​Location: Welandersalen, B2:00, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Solna

Department: Inst för medicin, Solna / Dept of Medicine, Solna

Li, Xi’s Dissertation News: http://www.medicaljournals.se/forum/articles/24/1/18-19.pdf

Selected publications

Full list of publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/ning.xu%20landen.1/bibliography/public/

Human skin specific long noncoding RNA HOXC13-AS regulates epidermal differentiation by interfering with Golgi-ER retrograde transport. Letian Zhang, Minna Piipponen, Zhuang Liu, Dongqing Li, Xiaowei Bian, Guanglin Liu, Jennifer Geara, Maria Toma, Pehr Sommar# & Ning Xu Landen#.Cell Death Differ (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41418-023-01142-z 

[KI news: https://news.ki.se/novel-human-specific-mechanism-of-the-skin-barrier-regeneration]

Circular RNA signatures of human healing and non-healing wounds. Maria A. Toma*, Zhuang Liu*†, Qizhang Wang, Letian Zhang, Dongqing Li, Pehr Sommar, Ning Xu Landén†. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2022.03.024 (*Co-first author, †Co-senior authors)

Integrative small and long RNA omics analysis of human healing and nonhealing wounds discovers cooperating microRNAs as therapeutic targets.Zhuang Liu*, Letian Zhang*, Maria A Toma, Dongqing Li, Xiaowei Bian, Irena Pastar, Marjana Tomic-Canic, Pehr Sommar, Ning Xu Landén# (2022). eLife 11:e80322. (*Co-first author) [Our findings are highlighted at KI news https://news.ki.se/new-findings-on-potential-targets-for-treating-venous-ulcers.]

Beyond the Code: Noncoding RNAs in Skin Wound Healing. Li D*, Niu G*, Xu Landén N#. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2022 Feb 23:a041230. (*Co-first author)

Single-cell analysis reveals MHCII expressing keratinocytes in pressure ulcers with worse healing outcomes. Li D, Cheng S, Pei Y, Sommar P, Kärner J, Herter EK, Toma MA, Zhang L, Pham K, Cheung YT, Liu Z, Chen X, Eidsmo L, Deng Q#, Landén NX#. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Sep 15:S0022-202X(21)02167-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.07.176. 

Human skin long noncoding RNA WAKMAR1 regulates wound healing by enhancing keratinocyte migration. Li D, Kular L, Vij M, Herter EK, Li X, Wang A, Chu T, Toma MA, Zhang L, Liapi E, Mota A, Blomqvist L, Gallais Sérézal I, Rollman O, Wikstrom JD, Bienko M, Berglund D, Ståhle M, Sommar P, Jagodic M, Landén NX#. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 May 7;116(19):9443-9452. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1814097116. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Transition from inflammation to proliferation: a critical step during wound healing. Landén NX#, Li D, Ståhle M. (2016) Cell Mol Life Sci. 73(20):3861-85. (Review, #corresponding author)

MicroRNA-132 enhances transition from inflammation to proliferation during wound healing. Li, D.*, Wang, A.*, Liu, X., Meisgen, F., Grunler, J., Botusan, I.R., Narayanan, S., Erikci, E., Li, X., Blomqvist, L., Du, L., Pivarcsi, A., Sonkoly, E., Chowdhury, K., Catrina, S., Ståhle, M., Landén, N.X.#. (2015). Journal of Clinical Investigation 3;125(8):3008-26. (*Equal contribution, #corresponding author) This article is recommended by F1000 Robert Coffey, Bhuminder Singh: 2016.

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