Nordic Complement Committee 





   Burkhard Becher (CH)


   Jan Damoiseaux (NL)


   Pablo Engel (ESP)


   Tobias Freitag (FIN)


   Peter Garred (DEN)


   Diana Karpman (SWE)


   Eliisa Kekäläinen (FIN)


   Kai Kisand (EST)


   Seppo Meri (FIN)


   Tom Eirik Mollnes (NOR)


   Bo Nilsson (SWE)


   Kristina Nilsson-Ekdahl (SWE)


   Pärt Peterson (EST)


   Anna Šedivá (CZ)


   Aili Tagoma (EST)


   Susan Wong (UK)


   Kati Kaartinen (FIN)


Burkhard Becher 

(University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Burkhard Becher studied Biology at the University of Cologne in Germany. He conducted his graduate studies at McGill University in Canada followed by a postdoc at Dartmouth Medical School in the US. In 2003, he was recruited as Assistant Professor to the University of Zurich and 2008, he became professor and chairman at the Institute of Experimental Immunology where he heads the Unit for Inflammation Research. His research focusses on communication networks in inflammation and immunotherapy. He is a continuously “highly cited scholar” since 2018 was awarded numerous prized and honors and is recipient of the ERC Advanced grant in 2019.





Pablo Engel

(University of Barcelona, Spain)

Pablo Engel is a MD. Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School (MA, USA). He was an assistant professor at the Department of Immunology at Duke University Medical School (NC, USA). Since 1997 he is the Head of the Immunology Unit at University of Barcelona Medical School. His major focus has been the study of lymphocyte surface molecules and their roles in autoimmunity and cancer. Dr. Engel was the President of the International Council of Human Cell Differentiation Molecules (HCDM) (2010-2022), Chair the Nomenclature committees of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) (2010-2016), and Secretary General of the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) (2016-2021). 




Tobias Freitag 

(University of Helsinki, Finland)

My research group is interested in antigen-specific immune tolerance induction as a curative therapy for HLA-associated autoimmune diseases (AID). Our main hypothesis is that the dysregulated immune system in AID can be reprogrammed. The existence of autoreactive T and B cells, frequently demonstrated in AID, does not preclude this possibility. Instead, the key questions are how a state of unresponsiveness of the immune system to relevant (auto-)antigens can be (re-)established in AID, and what regulatory cell population(s) may perform this task. Therapeutic immune tolerance induction is emerging as a promising treatment concept for AID because "a short course of immunotherapy (would translate) into long-term benefit while maintaining immune competency" (Bluestone JA, Tang Q; Sci Transl Med 2015). However, we still lack a clear understanding of the cellular components and tissue compartments most conductive to therapeutic tolerance induction. To address these questions, we test and compare different nanoscale vehicles and peptide/protein delivery methods in mouse models of AID. Celiac disease (CD) has been identified as the AID most suitable for the exploration of tolerogenic immunomodulatory approaches, because key components of CD pathogenesis -including the environmental antigen gluten/gliadin as disease driver- have been identified. Our findings have provided proof-of-efficacy for gliadin nanoparticles in vivo (Freitag TL et al.; Gastroenterology 2020) and encouraged a phase 2a study now successfully completed in CD patients. Original results from transcriptomic studies have provided us with tolerogenic signatures in different experimental settings, identifying gene targets regulating gliadin memory responses. The regulated genes directly point towards B and T cell differentiation, APC function, costimulation and MHC II peptide loading. Our research is also focused on the identification of suitable environmental or (auto-)antigen targets for immunomodulation in various human AID. Based on recent findings, we plan to elucidate mechanisms of immune tolerance induction, providing the opportunity to develop antigen-specific immunotherapy of CD and other AID, e.g. type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and narcolepsy type 1.  


Eliisa Kekäläinen 

(University of Helsinki, Finland)

I am an immunologist with wide interest in immunodeficiency diagnostics and immunological tolerance. My research focuses especially on the primary immunological organ the thymus. I am interested in how e.g. common viral infections and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation affect thymus function, how we could better measure thymopoiesis in clinical situations, and what kind of pathological processes in the thymus lead to immunodysregulation in autoimmune diseases such as myasthenia gravis. Together with leading my own research team at the University of Helsinki, I work part-time at the HUS Diagnostic Center Clinical Microbiology and Immunology (Helsinki University Hospital) where I mainly focus on immunodeficiency laboratory diagnostics. At the ABC7 Summer school I will tell  you about myasthenia gravis, an intriguing autoimmune disease where the thymus starts to produce autoantibodies. 



Anna Šedivá 

(Motol University Hospital, Czech Republic)

Prof. Sediva has a long time experience as a pediatrician working at all levels of pediatric care, from a local hospital to University affiliated specialized centers. Her further practice in immunology includes internships abroad from 1992 to 1995 at New York Medical College in NY, USA and further in 2021 as the Fulbright scholar in University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, in 2001. From 2010 to 2015 she held a position on the ESID board and since 2011 she is chairing JMF center in Prague. Prof. Sediva holds currently the position of vice-head of the Department of Immunology in major University hospital in Prague. She is responsible for the field of pediatric immunopathologies with an emphasis on inborn errors of immunity.




Susan Wong 

(University of Cardiff, UK)

Professor F. Susan Wong trained in Medicine, and also obtained her PhD from Kings College London University.  She is currently Professor of Experimental Diabetes and Metabolism at Cardiff University and Honorary Consultant Physician in Diabetes at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.  She has many years of research into the causes of type 1 diabetes, focusing on the role of the adaptive immune system, particularly CD8 T cells and B cells, as well as innate immunity related to the gut microbiome.  She has interests in the development of immunotherapy for Type 1 diabetes, and is a member of the Type 1 Diabetes UK Immunotherapy Consortium.