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Ulrika Islander


Associate professor in Immunology at the Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation research. Her research focuses on determination of immunological mechanisms involved in the anti-inflammatory and bone-protective effects of estrogen in rheumatoid arthritis. Her research projects are translational and include cell cultures, experimental animal models and clinical trials.
In 2016 she was awarded an “Excellence Project” grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation as well as a “Starting grant” from the Swedish Research Council to fund her projects. In addition, she was granted the Hasselblad Foundation Award for “continued research qualification of female scientists in natural sciences” which enables her to spend 14 months during 2017-2018 as guest researcher in a research institute in Switzerland.



PhD students
Main supervisor
• Annica Andersson (2012-2016) “Estrogens and interleukin-17 in arthritis and associated osteoporosis”
• Angelina Bernardi (2013-2015) “Immune regulation by selective estrogen receptor modulators”

• Jauquline Nordqvist (2015- )
• Alexandra Stubelius (2009-2014) “Estrogen and 2-methoxyestradiol – Regulation of arthritis and reactive oxygen species”

• Julia Scheffler (2017- )
• Catalin Koro (2016 -)
• Louise Grahnemo (2012-2014)

Main Research Topic
The peak incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women coincides with the time of menopause and RA is highly associated with development of osteoporosis. Treatment with estrogen is beneficial both by reducing inflammation and protecting against bone loss in RA, but it is not recommended as therapy due to severe side effects. The immunological mechanisms underlying both positive and negative effects of estrogen in RA therapy are unclear, and defining them would provide opportunities to develop new and better RA therapies free from unwanted side effects associated with estrogen treatment.
Th17 cells are involved in the pathogenesis of both arthritis and osteoporosis. Still, the effects of estrogen on Th17 cells are largely unknown. However, recent studies from Ulrika Islanders research group strongly support involvement of Th17 cells in the RA-reducing effects of estrogen.
She has published important papers describing retention of Th17 cells in lymph nodes as a potential novel mechanism involved in estrogen-mediated inhibition of arthritis. In addition, she has published several important papers regarding effects of selective estrogen receptor modulators on the normal functions of the immune system and in development of arthritis and osteoporosis.


Please follow this link to contact Ulrika Isslander.

Page Manager: Jianyao Wu|Last update: 3/7/2018

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