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Published: 2023-03-14

Get to know Lena Svensson – New UCMR PI

NEWS Lena Svensson has been working as a university lecturer at Umeå University for the past two years. Last year she was named “excellent teacher” and she is the program manager for the civil engineering program in biotechnology. Lena is researching an adhesion molecule, so-called integrin, called LFA-1. It is very important for the body's T-cell defence.

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

The immune system has always fascinated me.

Why did you want to join UCMR) What are your expectations?

“I hope to network and interact with other researchers in the field and perhaps find new ways to think and collaborate.

What is your research about?

“I am investigating adhesion molecules called integrins and in particular LFA-1. LFA-1 is the most important integrin for our T cells defence both used in motility and the formation of the immunological synapse. The importance of integrins in a functional immune system is highlighted in the severe immunodeficiency called Leukocyte adhesion deficiency there the integrins are expressed normally but are not functional and if not transplanted with a new bone marrow the person will die to severe recurrent infections within months after birth.”

“Our goal is to understand how pathogens and tumour cells can use the immune cells own integrin’s to escape immune surveillance.  We are therefore interested to understand intercellular transport as well as recycling and signalling pathways involved in the activation of LFA-1 in human T cells.

What was it that made you choose to study and work in this field?

“I like to be creative and to trouble shoot and find ways to overcome a problem and find a solution. The immune system has always fascinated me.”

What is it like to do research at Umeå University?

“I have recently moved to Umeå so I haven't been involved so much in the scientific side of Umeå University but what attracted me was the diversity and core facility.”

What is your best advice to younger researchers?


What do you like to do when you do not work?

“I like being outdoors and traveling”.

Short facts about Lena Svensson

Comes from: Lund
Me in three words: Time optimistic, stubborn, friendly
Interests: Outdoors, skiing, traveling
Reading: ... Children books
Two things on my bucket list: Travel to Svalbard and antarctica
Wanted to become when I was a child: PE teacher
Favourite holiday spot: Singapore
Best with Umeå: The closeness to nature