Associate Professor, Translational Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Membership period 2015–2020
We make artificial spider silk fibers that have the same strength as tendons, are bio-compatible and degrade as new tissue is formed in the body, why the material has potential to be used in a range of medical fields. We focus on regenerative medicine (tissue repair), mainly cultivation of stem cells, which is a relatively new area of research. The ultimate goal is to be able to replace or restore damaged organs and tissues.
In another project we study a specific part of the spider silk protein (NT), which increases the solubility of the spider silk proteins when they are stored in the spider’s silk glands. The solubility enhancing properties of NT also apply when NT is fused to other proteins of low solubility. Therefore, we use NT to produce protein drugs, which today are difficult or impossible to manufacture. Based on this technology we can produce large amounts of lung surfactant to low costs, why we currently develop surfactants with enhanced properties. We are also looking at novel ways to deliver drugs to the lungs by using sufactant as a drug carrier. Local treatment of several different lung conditions would be preferable compared to systemic administration of the drugs.
NT also accelerates the formation of spider silk fibers in the passage of the spider silk gland, a property that we study and use in innovative projects in biotechnology.
Image 1 & 2: Anna in the lab. Photo: Hans E Ericsson Image 3: Spindeltrådskörtel. Foto: Marlene Andersson (Klicka för strörre bild)