Skip to main content

Björn Önfelt

Profile picture of Björn Önfelt



Works for


Tomtebodavägen 23A


Researcher ID

About me

I am Professor of Applied Physics and lead a multidisciplinary research group at the Science for Life Laboratory. Our main research interests are to understand basic functions of immune cells, in particular natural killer (NK) cells and T cells, and how we can translate that knowledge into efficient immunotherapy. 

I have a MSc in Chemistry (1997) from Gothenburg University, and a PhD in Physical Chemistry (2002) from Chalmers University of Technology. Between 2003-2006 I did a postdoc combining Immunology and Photonics at Imperial College London, UK. In 2006 I started as an independent researcher at the department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet before being recruited to a Future Faculty position at Applied Physics, KTH in 2007. I became Docent 2011 and Professor 2016. Since 2006 I have maintained my affiliation to MTC, KI.

Short research description 

We use microchip techniques for live cell imaging and screening to characterize immune response at the single cell level. T cell and natural killer (NK) cells have remarkable abilities to mediate targeted attack against virus-infected or malignant cells. In adoptive cell therapy these qualities are used to treat primary malignancies, life-threatening virus infections or leukemic relapses after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Although this therapy has shown promising results we have only a remote understanding of how to utilize T and NK cells to their full potential. A major challenge is to select and prepare cells that mediate anti-tumor effects without causing life-threatening side effects such as graft versus host disease. By better understanding of how populations of NK cells and T cells are built up by individual cells with varying capacity to respond to stimuli we will be able to improve current methods for immunotherapy. 

Selected Publications

·    B Vanherberghen, P. E. Olofsson, E. Forslund, M. Sternberg-Simon, M. A. Khorshidi, S. Pacouret, K. Guldevall, M. Enqvist, K-J. Malmberg, R. Mehr, B. Önfelt. (2013) Classification of human natural killer cells based on migration behavior and cytotoxic response. Blood, 121(8), 1326-1334

·   K. Guldevall, L. Brandt, E. Forslund, K. Olofsson, T. Frisk, P. E. Olofsson, K. Gustafsson, B. Vanherberghen, O. Manneberg, H. Brismar, K. Kärre, M. Uhlin and B. Önfelt. (2016) Microchip screening platform for single cell assessment of NK cell cytotoxicity, Front. Immunol7:119.

·   D. Sarhan, L. Brandt, M. Felices, K. Guldevall Guldevall, T. Lenvik, J.M. Curtsinger, E.D. Warlick, S.R. Spellman, B. R Blazar, D.J. Weisdorf, S. Cooley, D.A. Vallera, B. Önfelt and Jeffrey Miller. (2018) 161533 TriKE restores NK cell dysfunction mediated by Myeloid-derived suppressor cells in Myelodyspastic patients Blood Advances2(12):1459-1469

·   K. Srpan, A. Ambrose, A. Karampatzakis, M. Saeed, A.N.R. Cartwright, K. Guldevall, G. D. S. Cruz De Matos, B. Önfelt and D.M. Davis. (2018) Shedding of CD16 Disassembles the NK Cell Immune Synapse and Boosts Serial Engagement of Target Cells. J. Cell Biol.217(9):3267-3283

·   K. Olofsson, V. Carannante, M. Ohlin, T Frisk, K. Kushiro, M. Takai, A. Lundqvist, B. Önfelt and M. Wiklund. (2018) Acoustic formation of multicellular tumor spheroids enabling on-chip functional structural imaging. Lab on a Chip 18(16):2466-2476


Degree Project in Applied Physics, Second Cycle (SK202X), examiner | Course web

Laboratory techniques in Life Sciences (SK2536), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web

Photography for Media (SK1140), examiner, teacher | Course web

Profile picture of Björn Önfelt


Publication list