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Image: Mattias Pettersson

Immunity after infection or vaccination

Research group Mattias Forsell

We study how the adaptive human immune system respond to infection or vaccination.
Research focus: Adaptive immune responses to infection and vaccination
Activation of the humoral immune system and subsequent production of neutralizing antibodies is a key player for host defense against microbial infections. Our overall research focus is to dissect how circulating or tissue resident human B cells respond to infection or vaccination is regulated in tissues and circulation.
Research strategy: Translational research with focus on select patient cohorts
We collaborate closely with clinical researchers at Umeå University to select patient groups of interest for our research questions. We then establish ethical protocols for sampling strategies and schedules that allow us to ask both general and specific immunological questions. By this, we have established a number of biobanks with samples that are suitable to study infection or vaccination by state-of-the-art immunological methodology.

Bibliography at pubmed
Patient cohorts:
Vaccination: Covid-19 or Influenza
Infection: HIV-1, Puumalavirus or SARS-CoV-2
Other: Tonsillar hypertrophy, healthy individuals

Funding bodies:

  • Vetenskapsrådet: Consolidator grant and Vaccine Research Grant
  • Science For Life Laboratory Covid-19 vaccine research program (funded by Knut and Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse)
  • Vinnova
  • National Institutes of Health: The Prometheus Center of Excellence in Translational Research
  • Folkhälsomyndigheten: contribution towards select vaccine studies
  • Umeå University: Intramural funding


Modulation of complement regulatory proteins during human B cell activation
We previously described that human B cells downregulate the complement regulatory protein DAF (CD55) upon entry into germinal centers of lymph nodes (Dernstedt et al, Front Imm 2021). There, we demonstrated that downregulation of DAF pre-primes GC B cells for phagocytosis. We continue to investigate potential consequences of complement regulatory proteins for B cells responses after infection or vaccination.
Immune responses after vaccination.
We have established a dynamic platform for translational research at Umeå University. Through this, we have been able to rapidly respond to the everchanging conditions of COVID-19 vaccination, with aim to address questions of high interest for Public Health Agencies and for future vaccine development. We focus both on population-based responses (Normark et al, NEJM 2021) and basic regulatory mechanism on a molecular and cellular level (Forsell et al, Front Imm 2017; Kaku et al, Science 2022). On-going research comprise further studies that address antibody-based feedback in the context of booster injections, as well as how the ageing immune system responds to vaccination.
Immune responses after infection and antivirals.
Here, we focus on how B cells respond to virus infections such as SARS-CoV-2 and Hantaviruses (Kerkman et al, CTI 2021). Through collaboration, we utilize this knowledge to develop potential antivirals On-going projects aims to reveal biomarkers that can predict severe disease after infection, and the development of antivirals (Mittler et al, SciTransMed 2022).


If you are interested in joining our team as postdoc, PhD or undergraduate student, please contact Mattias at mattias.forsell@umu.se

Head of research


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Clinical Microbiology

Research area

Infection biology
An audience of seated researchers listen intently to a research pitch while eating their lunches
IceLab opens the 2024 Lunch Pitches

IceLab opens its Lunch Pitch season with pitches related to aging from Verena Kohler and Mattias Forsell

More vaccine doses protect elderly against covid-19

Four to six vaccine doses protect the elderly against COVID-19, shows a study led by two researchers in Umeå.

Research idea resulted in innovative product – Xerum nominated for a prestigious prize

Umeå researchers developed a sensitive corona antibody test and a kit for sampling at home.

Latest update: 2022-10-11