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Nils Landegren receives ERC Starting Grant for studying sex differences in the human immune system

Nils Landegren receives ERC Starting Grant for studying sex differences in the human immune system

Photo: Hans Ericksson, SSMF

Nils Landegren, Researcher at CMM, has been awarded the 2020 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. The program aims at supporting new research leaders.

The funded project, SEXimmune, entails a broad investigation of the biological basis of sex differences in the human immune system. Women are four times more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, while men as a group have worse outcomes of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Nils and his team will combine human model systems and population-based approaches to investigate the factors underlying these sex differences.

To understand the role of sex hormones, the team will study longitudinal samples from women and men undergoing sex reassignment treatment. A combination of large-scale technologies will be applied to follow how a broad range of immune parameters are affected by sex hormone transition.

As a complementary model to capture the effects of the chromosomal sex, studies will be conducted using samples from mosaic individuals who harbor immune cells with either female or male karyotypes among their peripheral bloodcells. Single cell transcriptomic analysis will be applied to compare these cell populations, thereby revealing the influence of chromosomal sex against an otherwise fixed genetic and hormonal background.

The model systems will be combined with population-level studies – taking advantage of new data on sex hormone levels and sex chromosome karyotypes in 500,000 women and men from the UK Biobank, in order to determine how they influence the risk of autoimmune disease.  

We congratulate Nils Landegren and wish him good luck with these important investigations.

 

To read more, click here:  https://news.ki.se/they-are-awarded-the-2020-erc-stg

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