G protein-coupled receptor function and anti-inflammatory drug development

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Institutionen för biomedicin

Short description

The primary goal of Huamei Forman’s research group is to understand how inflammatory processes are regulated in health and disease with a focus on neutrophils and what role the activation and signaling of G protein-coupled receptors play in this process.

The inflammatory process is of crucial importance for our defense against infections, but at the same time, if it becomes too strong, it can cause damage to our bodies as seen in e.g. rheumatic diseases.

The inflammatory process can be seen as a double-edged sword, on the one hand effective as a weapon against infections, but on the other hand dangerous for the person wielding the sword as the risk of harming oneself is high. It is therefore important that the inflammatory process is controlled/regulated very strictly so that, without causing damage to surrounding tissues, it is powerful enough to eliminate dangerous microbes and allow for a rapid healing/resolution process.

White blood cells such as neutrophils, which through their ability to eat (phagocytose) and kill bacteria, are important in the defense against microorganisms and also have a central role in the regulation of the entire inflammatory process. Research on a family of recognition structures (G protein-coupled receptors, GPCRs) found on the surface of phagocytic cells has in recent years received a lot of interest. It has been shown that these receptors participate in many of the regulatory processes involved in the inflammatory response.

Our research aims to, at the molecular level, increase the knowledge about the inflammatory process and the cells that participate in its regulation. The long-term goal is to enable the development of new drugs and treatment strategies for various types of diseases where the inflammatory reaction has gotten out of control.

Increased understanding about how the inflammatory process is regulated, which our research will provide, is important not only for the future development of drugs and therapies against diseases caused by misdirected inflammatory reaction(s); in the long run we may also be able to understand why some people suffer from these types of diseases, and that knowledge can then possibly serve as a basis for disease prevention.

About Huamei Forsman
I finished my PhD focused on "natural immunity" in 2004 at the University of Gothenburg. Thereafter I performed a "postdoc" at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, USA with Professor Koichi Kobayashi. Back in Gothenburg, in 2013 I received a grant from the Swedish Research Council and since then I have worked on establishing my own research group at the Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Sahlgrenska Academy. Since 2021 I have been working as unit manager in clinical chemistry at Sahlgrenska University Hospital with placement at the hospital in Alingsås and since 2022 I am an adjunct professor of biomedical laboratory science at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

PhD students, alumni (dissertation since 2012):
Simon Lind – PhD 2022; Andre Holdfeldt – PhD 2021; Michael Gabl – PhD 2018; Malene Winter – PhD 2017; Karin Önneheim – PhD 2013; Jennie Karlsson – PhD 2012; Wenyan (collaboration with Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, China) – PhD 2018; Sara Skovbakke (collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark) – PhD 2016; Christina Kalderén (collaboration with the Karolinska Institute) – PhD 2012

Master thesis
We offer Master thesis projects for students from various educational programs at Gothenburg University and Chalmers.


Huamei Forsman

Group members

Linda Bergkvist – Laboratory manager, MSc
Martina Sundqvist – Pharmacist, PhD
Lena Björkman – MD, Docent
Jonas Mårtensson – MD, PhD student
Claes Dahlgren – Professor emeritus