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Öhlund Lab

Pancreatic cancer research laboratory

Research overview

Pancreatic cancer is resistant to available cancer therapies, which is reflected in a low 5-year survival rate of below 6 %.This indicate that novel strategies to tackle the disease are needed.
The pancreatic tumor is characterized by a pronounced tumor stroma that surrounds the cancer cells. This tumor stroma contains nerves, vasculature, immune cells, extracellular matrix proteins and cancer-associated fibroblasts, that all interacts with the cancer cells and provide the cancer cells with important signals that regulate cancer cell growth and survival, and contribute to therapy resistance.

The overall goal for the lab is to get a deeper understanding in the stromal heterogeneity, and to reveal and explore potential drugable targets hidden within the stroma.
We aim to determine which factors in the stroma that are important in regulating cancer cell growth, survival, immune escape, and drug resistance by using genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer and advanced 3-dimentional cell culture systems.
Furthermore, we are developing and testing drugs that inhibit the most important stromal interactions with the aim to discover new methods to treat the disease.

People and projects

Daniel Öhlund (PI) 
M.D., Ph.D., Wallenberg Molecular Medicine Fellow

Daniel has over 10 years of experience in pancreatic cancer research, and has a specific interest in the pancreatic microenvironment. He obtained his Ph.D. at Umeå University 2010, and 2012-2016 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in David Tuveson's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The research has been focusing on finding diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for pancreatic cancer derived from the stroma, and lately also to understand the role of the stroma in disease development. The overall aim in is to find methods to be able to diagnose the disease earlier and to develop new treatment strategies by attacking the microenvironment. Since 2017 he is group leader at the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at Umeå University and a resident physician at the Cancer Centre at Umeå University Hospital.

Yvonne Jonsson 
Lab manager / Lab technician

Yvonne has worked as a laboratory technician at the Oncology Research Laboratory since 1988 and is experienced in working with histology, molecular biology techniques, cell culture, and animal breeding.
At the Öhlund lab Yvonne is operating as lab manager and responsible for the organoid culture laboratory.

Charlotte Nordström
Animal colony manager / Lab technician

Charlotte is a laboratory technician and has worked at the Oncology Research Laboratory since 1997. In the Öhlund lab she is managing the animal colony and has developed the routines for the animal house. She is also assisting in various animal experiments. Furthermore, she are experienced in cell culturing, immunohistochemical staining, In Situ Hybridization (using the RNA scope technology), and different animal surgery procedures.

Cedric Patthey
Research engineer

Cedric has his background in developmental biology. In the past he has studied cell fate specification, maturation, and cell type evolution with a focus on the neurons. He got increasingly interested in the use of bioinformatic tools, and he has optimized techniques for transcription profiling of cell types and is now delving into single cell transcriptomics.
In the Öhlund lab Cedric is focusing on the characterization of the cell type diversity of cells present in the stroma of pancreatic cancer. The aim is to decipher the molecular mechanisms involved in the interactions between cancer cells and stroma, with a focus on fibroblasts and the neurons innervating the pancreas.

James Mason
Post-doctoral fellow

James is a post-doctoral researcher from the UK. For his Ph.D., he studied human pluripotent stem cell heterogeneity using Raman Spectroscopy and cell population modelling techniques at the University of Sheffield. He began researching pancreatic cancer at the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine in Umeå in 2017. Presently James' primary projects involve conducting high throughput screens of small molecules to identify therapeutics in pancreatic cancer using in vitro organoid culture models as well as developing Raman spectroscopy to swiftly profile the disease in patients. Additionally, James studies tumour organoid metastatic potential, their susceptibility to ClyA toxin and quadruplex DNA dynamics.

Mitesh Dongre
Post-doctoral fellow

Mitesh has experience in studying bacterial quorum sensing dependent pathogenesis in gastro-intestinal pathogens. Mitesh obtained his PhD in India where he did proteomic studies to understand molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in Vibrio cholerae. During recent years his research focussed mainly on identification and characterisation of new toxin-secretion pathways in bacteria. In the Öhlund lab his main task is to understand significance of human microbiome, especially the gut microbiome, in the etiology of pancreatic cancer. Additionally, he is also analysing pathophysiological effects of secreted bacterial membrane vesicles for pancreatic cancers.

Tommy Lidström 

(contact information)

Tommy is a former student of the Biomedicine program at Umeå University, he previously researched the effect of serotonin receptor 1A in B-cell lymphoma, before joining group Daniel Öhlund as a Ph.D. student. Tommy's current research involves characterizing interactions between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and cancer cells in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Currently Tommy is involved in two projects, the first is investigating how different types of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are formed via signaling-interactions with cancer cells, the second involves investigating the function and biological relevance of up- and down-regulated ECM proteins in PDAC.

Joshua Cumming

Joshua completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Manchester before working as a research assistant at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR). His previous research used super-resolution microscopy to assess the nanometer-scale organization of inhibitory receptors in natural killer cells. Joshua's PhD project will focus on identifying and characterizing subpopulations of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in pancreatic cancer. Joshua will be investigating whether manipulating CAF subtype differentiation is a viable therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer.

Andra studenter:

Ismael Cem Nass Kebapcioglu
Master student
(April 2019-

Tidagare labb medlemmar:

Sushmitha Sankarasubramanian
Master student
(April 2018 - January 2019)

Marcus Fredriksson Sundbom
Med. student, summer stipend
(June 2018 - August 2018)

Lucas de Barros Anastácio
IFMSA student
(June 2018)

Sofía Alejandra Moreira Lino
IFMSA student
(June 2018)

Rituparna De
Post-doctoral fellow
(April 2017-March 2018)

Fredrik Trulsson
Research project assistent
(September 2017 - December 2017)

Support our research

Donations can be sent to the lab (through Cancerforskningsfonden i Norrland).

Bg: 684-4468
Pg: 68 44 46-8
(Mark the transaction: Öhlund)

Find the lab

We are located in the 6M bulding at the Umeå University hospital campus. 

Entrance L31 (close to the Medical Library)


Daniel Öhlund
Biträdande universitetslektor, ST-läkare, övrig/annan befattning
090-785 17 27


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