Karl Ljungberg, PhD

Current position:

  • Scientist Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet Development of alphavirus vaccine vectors for infectious diseases and cancer immunotherapy; 2008 -

Positions held:

  • Senior scientist Laboratory Surveillance of Vaccine –Preventable Diseases Unit, Public Health Agency of Sweden, Project manager multiplex assay development, expert in cell-mediated immunity; 2011 – 2015.
  • Post doctoral fellow Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet Leading a small team developing adjuvants for cancer DNA vaccines; 2007 – 2008
  • Post doctoral fellow Carolina Vaccine Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Development of DNA-launched Alphavirus vectors as HIV vaccines; 2004 – 2007
  • Microbiologist Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control Project management (preparations for clinical trials), and development of SARS antivirals; 2003 – 2004


  • PhD Department of Microbiology, Tumor and cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet Thesis title: Variable viral genes as genetic immunogens. Thesis advisor: Britta Wahren Construction and preclinical testing of Influenza and HIV DNA vaccine candidates; 1999 – 2003
  • Master of Science Stockholm University, Major in Molecular Biology, Minor in Chemistry, French and History of Arts; 1991 – 1997
  • Diplôme d’Etudes Françaises Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III

Research interests:Main research interest is in vaccinology and related fields such as virology, viral and DNA vector design, infectious diseases, immunology and immunotherapeutic applications as well as public health. In professor Peter Liljeström’s laboratory,we are developing aplhavirus vectored vaccines against HIV, TB, Chikungunya virus and Ebola.

CollaborationsWe are a partner in several EU consortia (EHVA, EMI-TB, ICRES/CHIKVAC) and have close collaborations with groups at the Universites of Tartu, Bonn, Madrid, Groningen etc.). We also collaborate with the Britta Wahren group and other groups at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm as well as with the high containment laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

Five main publications for the last 5 years:

  1. Tesoriero C, Codita A, Zhang MD, Cherninsky A, Karlsson H, Grassi-Zucconi G, Bertini G, Harkany T, Ljungberg K, Liljeström P, Hökfelt TG, Bentivoglio M, Kristensson K. H1N1 influenza virus induces narcolepsy-like sleep disruption and targets sleep-wake regulatory neurons in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jan 19;113(3):E368-77. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1521463112. Epub 2015 Dec 14. PubMed PMID: 26668381; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4725525.
  2. Knudsen ML, Ljungberg K, Kakoulidou M, Kostic L, Hallengärd D, García-Arriaza J, Merits A, Esteban M, Liljeström P. Kinetic and phenotypic analysis of CD8+ T cell responses after priming with alphavirus replicons and homologous or heterologous booster immunizations. J Virol. 2014 Nov;88(21):12438-51. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02223-14. Epub 2014 Aug 13. PubMed PMID: 25122792; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4248943.
  3. Ljungberg K, McBrayer A, Camp JV, Chu YK, Tapp R, Noah DL, Grimes S, Proctor ML, Liljeström P, Jonsson CB, Bruder CE. Host gene expression signatures discriminate between ferrets infected with genetically similar H1N1 strains. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40743. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040743. Epub 2012 Jul 13. PubMed PMID: 22808249; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3396591.
  4. Knudsen ML, Mbewe-Mvula A, Rosario M, Johansson DX, Kakoulidou M, Bridgeman A, Reyes-Sandoval A, Nicosia A, Ljungberg K, Hanke T, Liljeström P. Superior induction of T cell responses to conserved HIV-1 regions by electroporated alphavirus replicon DNA compared to that with conventional plasmid DNA vaccine. J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(8):4082-90. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06535-11. Epub 2012 Feb 8. PubMed PMID: 22318135; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3318663.
  5. Lladser A, Mougiakakos D, Tufvesson H, Ligtenberg MA, Quest AF, Kiessling R, Ljungberg K. DAI (DLM-1/ZBP1) as a genetic adjuvant for DNA vaccines that promotes effective antitumor CTL immunity. Mol Ther. 2011 Mar;19(3):594-601. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.268. Epub 2010 Dec 14. PubMed PMID: 21157438; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3048184.