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Photo: Ulf Sirborn

Our Research Center 

Karolinska Institutet is home to Sweden's largest research environment. A particular strength is the integration of basic science with the clinic - virtually an AirWalk away. The Marklund Lab is located in Biomedicum, a newly opened research building with state-of-the-art facilities for imaging, viral work, transcriptomics and transgenic organisms.  

The Marklund team is integrated in the unit of Molecular Neurobiology, with expertise in stem cell biology, imaging and various omics (transcriptiome, epigenomics, spatial sequencing). With a dynamic and collaborative spirit all members of the unit share equipment, ideas and space. We interact at annual retreats as well as monthly seminar series.

The unit of Molecular Neurobiology

The Marklund Lab

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Ulrika Marklund

Principal Investigator

I have always been intrigued by the concept of cell types - how they are formed during the development and later what properties they uniquely possess. During my PhD period at KI I studied transcriptional determination of central neurons (primarily dopamine and serotonergic types). I thereafter transitioned my research focus to the "Brain in the Gut" -  the ENS, during a postdoc at NIMR in Mill Hill, London, UK. I have been a PI at MBB since 2013. Initially we only focused on neuron subtype development, but was inhibited by the lack of faithful selective marker genes for the neuron types, I almost gave up! However, with the implementation of single cell omics we now have un unpreceedented molecular understanding of the various neural cell type of the ENS. These profiles allow us selectively target functionally distinct neurons to address their connectivity and roles in systemic physiology. Meanwhile, having resolved the identities of mature neurons we have also revealed a new basic principle for their formation - a process we aim to dissect in detail the coming years. Read also more at:


Khomgrit Morarach

PhD student

Khomgrit is a graduate from University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He started as a PhD student in the Marklund lab in 2016, and is now about to finalize his PhD thesis on neuronal diversity in the ENS.  

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Wei Li

Phd student

I’m in the second year of my Ph.D. I got my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Medicine at Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China. During the third year of my master’s degree, I joined Ulrika’s lab as an intern. My researches have been focusing on the characterization of different subtypes of enteric neurons in mouse small intestines and the connectivities between these neurons. Outside the lab, I like playing tennis, watching tennis games, and playing the piano.

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Photo: Johannes Frandsén

Ziwei Liu

PhD student

I’m currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Science in Ulrika Marklund Group. I received a BSc in Biochemistry and an MRes in Brain Science from University College London, UK, and an MRes in Neurotechnology from Imperial College London, UK.  My Ph.D. research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation in the enteric nervous system. Specifically, I’m using various analytical techniques to investigate the single-cell RNA-sequencing datasets of the enteric nervous system and utilizing a novel in utero ultrasound-guided gene manipulation technique (NEPTUNE) developed by Emma Andersson Group to validate the candidate regulators in vivo. Outside the lab, I love playing piano, skiing, and traveling.

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Photo: Johannes Frandsén

Yanan (Olivia) Chen

Postdoctoral Researcher

I’ve joined the Ulrika Marklund Lab as a postdoctoral researcher since 2021.  I obtained my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Tsinghua University (China), where I studied protein mistranslation in Drosophila. Currently, I’m studying the enteric nervous system, specifically investigating the role and connectivity of a novel enteric neuron subclass within and beyond the gut. Outside the lab, I enjoy hip-hop, whodunit, and baking.


Sanghita Banerjee

Postdoctoral Researcher

I joined the Marklund group in 2022 as a Postdoctoral researcher (Bioinformatician). After obtaining  my bachelor's degree in Genetics and master program in Bioinformatics, I worked at the Indian Statistical Institute (Kolkata, India) to complete my PhD in Bioinformatics in 2018. I specialize in RNA-seq, single-cell, and spatial transcriptomics data analysis and developed a particular interest in gut biology while working in previous postdoctoral positions. Presently,  Im interested in understanding the subtypes of enteric neurons, identifying the transcriptional regulators controlling the neuronal activity, and specific enteric neuronal functions in maintaining gut health using multi-omics computational approaches. 


Krishnanand Padmanabhan

Postdoctoral Researcher

I joined the Ulrika Marklund lab as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2022. I obtained my PhD in Cell and Developmental biology from Tel Aviv University, Israel, where I explored the role of the actin cytoskeleton in the morphogenesis and physiology of mouse epidermis. At the Marklund lab, I seek to understand the mechanisms that allow neurons in the developing ENS to acquire sequential cell fate identities and thus diversify their functions. To pursue this, I will use various experimental tools such as in-utero genetic manipulation (NEPTUNE), lineage tracing, spatial transcriptomics and advanced microscopy. Outside the lab, I am interested in hiking and wildlife photography.

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Lauren Phipps

Postdoctoral Researcher

I joined the Marklund group as a postdoctoral research fellow in March 2023. I obtained my PhD in Developmental Biology at the University of Manchester (UK), where I explored mechanisms regulating cell fate decisions during Xenopus tropicalis spinal cord regeneration. After my PhD, I worked for one year as a postdoctoral research associate, and later Doctoral Career Development fellow, at the University of Manchester. In the Marklund lab, I will characterise regenerative neurogenesis and neuronal identity acquisition in the adult gut. Ultimately, I aim to develop strategies to engineer specific neuronal subtypes from endogenous enteric cells to treat neurological gut disorders. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, photography and bouldering.

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Elham Jalalvand

Research Coordinator

I obtained my PhD in Neuroscience at Karolinska institute in 2017. I was investigating sensory neurons in spinal cord and hypothalamus which have direct contact to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contacting neurons. After my PhD I have started a post-doc position at the advanced Bio-imaging laboratory at Scilifelab-KTH to understand nanoscale organization of CSF-c neurons from single cell to single molecules. Moreover, as I was interested in both research and administrative work, I started a position as senior lab manager at Karolinska Institute in 2021 at AIMES. Since March 2023 I have joined Marklund group as Research Coordinator. In my new role I provide organizational support for the group regarding the projects, general laboratory and scientific expertise. In addition, I  work on enteric nervous system projects specifically enteric glia to investigate their phenotype, role and their connectivity with other cell types. Other activities that I enjoy is yoga and being in nature as well as spending time with my family. 


Fernando Lopez-Redondo

Postdoc / Lab Manager

I joined the Marklund’s lab in December 2022 as a postdoctoral researcher/lab manager. I graduated at Madrid Complutense University. My PhD research involved pharmacology and electrophysiology of enteric neurons made tolerant to opioids.  I was trained in Japan for intracellular recording of enteric neurons. In 1995 I obtained a MRC Fellowship to study newly discovered actions of cannabinoids on enteric neurons and bacterial toxins at the Univ of Aberdeen UK.  My interest in “little brain-big brain” pushed myself to learn brain neurochemistry and neuroglial communication, with the aid of an EU-Japan Science and Technology Fellowship. To complement novel questions of cell mechanosensors I moved to Nagoya University to work on an International Cooperative Research Project (USA-JPN), where I developed microfluidic chips for cell culture calcium imaging, patch-clamp recording and flow stimulation. In Tokyo I worked on electrical activity of iPS cells differentiated to cardiomyocytes. In 2015 I joined RIKEN, a Center of Excellence for Omics technologies where I was working in 5´-RNAseq, ATACseq and CRISPRi to study the regulatory role of long non-coding RNAs in human iPS neuronal differentiation. In the Marklund lab I am studying transcriptomic and epigenetic modalities of the developing ENS by scRNAseq and Nano Cut&Tag and perform functional assays to characterize the neuron classes described previously in our lab with the aim of understand the basis of gastrointestinal diseases. Outside the lab I enjoy wild nature, travel, music and friends.


We are always interested in new enthusiastic coworkers, please get in touch to initiate a discussion if you are interested in joining us!

PhD positions are also occasionally announced, see Contact Page or the News feed.

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Fatima Memic

Current position:
Research Coordination in

Anastassia Mikhailova

Current position:
Lead Scientist at

Viktoria Knoflach
"Specification of enteric neuron subtypes in the developing gut" 


Alicia Blåder (Stockholm University, Sweden)

Rick Hogenboom (Amsterdam University, the Netherlands)
Prach Techameena (KI, KTH, SU, Sweden)
Amelie Joly (Lyon University, France)
Graziella Tabacaru (KI, Sweden)
Wei Li (Xi'an JiaoTong University, China)
Lynn Pieters (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Viktoria Knoflach (Linköping University, Sweden)
Marjan Abbassi (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Rebecca Sadler (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

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