Martin L Olsson

Professor, Consultant, Deputy Head of Department, Degree of Master of Science in Medicine, Degree of Doctor, Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, Senior Consultant (Överläkare), Blodcentralen Skåne/KIT, Region Skåne, Deputy Director of Blodcentralen Skåne/KIT, Region Skåne, Unit manager (enhetschef), Blood Centres in Malmö, Lund, Landskrona & Trelleborg, Specialist in Tranfusion Medicine (avd.läk./bitr. överläkare), Blodcentralen Skåne, Resident (ST-läkare), Blodcentralen Skåne, Visiting Scientist, International Blood Group Reference Laboratory, Bristol, UK, Internship (AT), Centrallasarettet, Karlskrona, Docent/Reader, Ph.D., M.D.

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Hematology

Keywords

  • Red Blood Cell, Blood Group, Blood Transfusion, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Hemostasis, Genetics

Research

We love blood groups!

My translational research group in the field of Transfusion Medicine investigates the biology of the Red Blood Cell and its surface molecules. Particularly, we study the genetics, structure and function of the polymorphic carbohydrates and proteins we call Blood Groups.

As much as 84% of our cells (Sender et al. Cell 2016) are red blood cells. Lately, this abundant cell has gone from being viewed as an inert bag full of hemoglobin to becoming seen a highly active and interactive cell, despite its lack of nucleus. Blood transfusion is a crucial part of modern medicine and every year half a million blood donations in Sweden must end up in the right patient to avoid adverse events caused by blood group incompatibility.

Our diverse team has a strong track record of discovery and characterization of blood groups during the past 20 or so years. This has resulted in DNA-based blood group typing tests now being used in clinical practice worldwide.

Currently, we focus on three main areas
1. Blood group discovery - We have previously reported two new blood group systems and revealed the molecular genetic basis underlying numerous blood group antigens. There are still ~40 orphan blood groups, i.e. without a genetic home. Right now, we are pursuing some of those. Part of this project is also to understand the regulatory roles of red blood cell surface molecules during erythropoiesis. This includes the newly-discovered SMIM1 protein we reported in 2013.

2. Host-pathogen interactions - We have investigated how the red blood cell and its surface molecules interact with virus (e.g. HIV), parasites (e.g. P. falciparum malaria) and bacteria (e.g. S. pyogenes). The current projects focus on yet other pathogens.

3. The role of the red blood cell in hemostasis - The past few years, the importance of red blood cells in thrombus formation has become obvious but mechanisms and molecules underlying this role are lacking. We study interactions between the red blood cell and coagulation factors or other cells.

Currently heavily funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and governmental ALF research grants to university healthcare, our award-winning research strives to improve compatibility between blood donors and transfusion recipients but also to investigate new roles related to erythropoiesis, infection and clot formation for the red blood cell in health and disease.

Recent research outputs

L. Stenfelt, Julia Westman & M.L. Olsson 2017 Jun 1 In : Vox Sanguinis. 112, S1, p. 25 1 p., 3B-S06-01

Research output: Contribution to journalPublished meeting abstract

Christophersen, M. K., Magnus Jöud, Ram Ajore, Vege, S., WICKELGREN LJUNGDAHL, K. L. A. R. A., Westhoff, C. M., Martin L. Olsson, Jill R. Storry & Björn Nilsson 2017 Jan 13 In : Scientific Reports. 7, 40451

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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