Research projects

We are currently working on several major projects:

  • Gastrointestinal tract – a gateway to study immunity in CVID. GI disorders present in 5% to 50% of patients with primary immunodeficiencies, in part because the gut is the largest lymphoid organ of the body. In close collaboration with Johannes Hovs group at our institute we have characterized the gut microbiota in CVID patients and are now completing a study with the antibiotic rifaximin to see if this can influence the level of systemic inflammation. We are further working on characterising the gut mucosa through extensive biopsies from upper and lower endoscopy, looking into both innate and adaptive immune responses.
  • Study of immunological mechanisms in malaria. In cooperation with University of Bergen and Stavanger University Hospital. In this exciting project we will take advantage of the institutes extensive knowledge of inflammation and among other things look at inflammatory properties of the Plasmodium produced hemozoin crystal.
  • Community-acquired pneumonia: a prospective observational study to explore etiology, risk factors and potential novel predictors of severe course and mortality. In close cooperation with Vestre Viken HA and Drammen Hospital the project applies new diagnostic methods to assess etiology and risk factors for severe course and mortality of pneumonia.
  • Candidemia in Norway and the Nordic countries. Fungal infections are common and potentialley life-threatening in treatment of severely ill patients. This project aims to look at epidemiology and risk factors for infections with the yeast Candida in Norway an the Nordic countries. It is partly based on a national collaboration where data has been collected from laboratories and medical records from most Norwegian hospitals, and partly on a Nordic collaboration using national epidemiological data.
  • Functional consequences of novel genetic variations in immunodeficiencies and immune dysregulation. The project will capitalize on the diagnostic revolution brought on by high-throughput sequencing (HTS) in this patient group, characterizing and elucidating the immunological and clinical consequences of novel and original genetic variations of uncertain significance. These studies will be of importance, not only for the individual patients, but will also shed light on novel pathway in immune activation and inflammation and will be of relevance for other disorders such as malignancies, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.
  • Targeting the inflammasome in HIV infection. The destruction of the immune system in HIV occurs to a large degree in the gut mucosa. It has been assumed that apoptosis is a major driver of bystander killing of T cells during progressive HIV infection, but recent studies suggest inflammasome-driven pyroptosis, an intensely inflammatory form of programmed cell death, accounts for the death of at least 95% CD4+ T cells. Under the supervision of Marius Trøseid and in close collaboration with Arne Yndestad’s group this project will look more closely at activation of the inflammasome in HIV-infection, and how it could contribute to non-resolving inflammation.
 
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