Ulrika Islander


Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation
Visiting address
Guldhedsgatan 10A
413 46 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 480
405 30 Göteborg

About Ulrika Islander

Title: PhD, Associate Professor

Ulrika Islander graduated 2002 from the University of Lund with a MSc degree in molecular biology with focus on immunology. In 2007 she received a PhD in rheumatology at the University of Gothenburg, and in 2015 she became Associate Professor in immunology at the Sahlgrenska academy. During 2017-2018 she performed a sabbatical research period at the Institute of Immunobiology in St Gallen, Switzerland to learn about research concerning the role of stromal cells in the regulation of immune responses during viral infections. In addition to her position as Researcher and group leader at the University of Gothenburg, she also holds a part-time position as Guest researcher at Chalmers University of Technology.

Research interests

Sex hormones have major effects on the immune system, which influences the risk to develop certain diseases. Women have an increased risk to develop autoimmune disease, but a decreased risk for severe pathology following infections compared to men. The mechanisms behind the sex differences in these conditions are unclear and the overall aim of Ulrika Islanders research is to identify the effects of estrogen on cellular and molecular processes in the immune system during autoimmunity and infection. Revealing these mechanisms will provide opportunities to develop new and better therapies for several estrogen responsive conditions. Ongoing projects in the group include:

  1. To identify the mechanisms that underlie the opposing effects of estrogen on immune responses in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematous (SLE).
  2. To define whether the protective effects of estrogen on osteoporosis development in RA and SLE are mediated by bone marrow stromal cells.
  3. To determine the importance of stromal cells in primary and secondary lymphoid organs for the estrogen-mediated regulation of immune responses.
  4. To identify the mechanisms involved in the protective effects of estrogen on immune responses during infection with influenza virus.

The projects range from basic research (in vivo and in vitro), to clinical studies in collaboration with physicians at the Sahlgrenska University hospital.

Group members:

  • Julia Scheffler, PhD, researcher
  • Aidan Barrett, MSc, PhD student


  • Piotr Humeniuk, post-doc, 2020–2022
  • Alicia Del Carpio Pons, research assistant, 2020–2022
  • Carmen Corciulo, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, 2019–2023
  • Louise Henningsson, research engineer, 2019
  • Christina Drevinge, post-doc, 2018–2022
  • Julia Scheffler, post-doc, 2017–2020
  • Catalin Koro-Arvidsson, post-doc, 2016–2017
  • Jauquline Nordqvist, PhD student, 2015–2021
  • Angelina Bernardi, PhD student, 2013–2015
  • Louise Grahnemo, post-doc, 2012–2014
  • Annica Andersson, PhD student, 2011–2016
  • Alexandra Stubelius, PhD student, 2008–2014


  • 2024-2025: Course leader for the course "Supervision in Postgraduate Programmes" at the unit for Pedagogical development and Interactive Learning (PIL201 SA).
  • 2016-2022: Course leader for the PhD course ”Immunological and molecular biology laboratory techniques - 5hec (SM00034).


  • 2021 - 2022: Member of the Permanent Examination Board, Inst. of medicine
  • 2018 - 2024: Member of the Department Council, Inst. of medicine
  • 2015 - cont: Member of the Management Council, Dept. of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
  • 2015 - cont: Member of the Committe for Doctoral Education, Inst. of medicine

Some of the funding agencies

  • ALF (grant from the Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the county councils)
  • Emil and Wera Cornell foundation
  • King Gustaf V 80-year foundation
  • Hasselblad foundation
  • IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg foundation
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation
  • Professor Nanna Swartz foundation
  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish society of Rheumatism

Key publications

Profiling of innate and adaptive immune cells during influenza virus infection reveals sex bias in invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells

Humeniuk P, Barrett A, Axelsson H, Corciulo C, Drevinge C, Del Carpio Pons AM, Angeletti D, Scheffler JM, Islander U

Immunity, Inflammation and Disease. 2023 Mar,

ERa signaling in a subset of CXCL12-abundant reticular cells regulates trabecular bone in mice

Scheffler JM, Gustafsson KL, Barrett A, Corciulo C, Drevinge C, Del Carpio Pons AM, Humeniuk P, Engdahl C, Gustafsson J-Å, Ohlsson C, Carlsten H, Lagerquist MK, Islander U

JBMR plus. 2022 May 30.

A tissue-selective estrogen complex as treatment of osteoporosis in experimental lupus

Nordqvist J, Engdahl C, Scheffler JM, Gupta P, Gustafsson KL, Lagerquist MK, Carlsten H, Islander U

Lupus. 2022 Feb;31(2):143-154. doi: 10.1177/09612033211067984.

Intermediate monocytes correlate with CXCR3+ Th17 cells but not with bone characteristics in untreated early rheumatoid arthritis

Drevinge C, Scheffler JM, Karo-Arvidsson C, Sundh D, Carlsten H, Gjertsson I, Lindholm C, Lorentzon M, Rudin A, Hultgard-Ekwall AK, Islander U

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 26;16(3)

Type I interferon signaling in fibroblastic reticular cells prevents exhaustive activation of antiviral CD8+ T cells

Perez-Shibayama C, Islander U, Lütge M, Cheng HW, Onder L, Ring S, de Martin A, Novkovic M, Colston J, Gil-Cruz C, Ludewig B

Science Immunology. 2020 Sep 11;5(51):eabb7066.

Related information

Group leader for the research group “Women and Inflammation”

Group leader at SciLifeLab


IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg foundation: