Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson

Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson


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Most of the time you probably do not even notice it, but twelve to twenty times per minute, day after day, you breathe. Your lungs expand and contract, supplying life-sustaining oxygen to your body. When breathing you expose your lungs to potentially harmful particles. These particles can come from car exhaust, cigarette smoke, microorganisms, or other pollutants. This stress calls for a well-structured and functioning defense system with a delicate balance between tissue destruction, apoptosis, repair, and regeneration. Most of the time your body has no problem handling these irritants. However, sometimes it goes wrong.

The ability to coop with environmental stress vary between different individuals related to genetic background, age and level of exposure. Prolonged exposure can lead to chronic inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. These are all diseases that severely affect quality of life. The effectiveness of current treatments is limited to decrease symptoms and delay disease progression.

The objective of my research is to contribute to an increased understanding of the mechanisms behind inflammatory pulmonary diseases. This knowledge is important not only from a basic research perspective but also from a clinical point of view. My goal is also to find new markers for early diagnosis and new targets for the treatment of chronic inflammatory lung diseases.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
  • Medical Biotechnology


  • Transplantation
  • Lung
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Lung biology
  • Idiopatic Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Stem cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • GAG
  • Glycosaminoglycan
  • Proteoglycan
  • COPD
  • IPF
  • Versican
  • Biglycan
  • MSC
  • Proteomics


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