I am leading the research on understanding how innate lymphoid cells are implicated in driving asthma immunopathology and responses. In my team, the focus is on understanding the role of these cells in acute allergic inflammation but also their function and plasticity during viral infections in the asthmatic airways. Our ultimate goal is to find ways to control their function to ameliorate the burden of the asthmatic patients.

Having completed my PhD in molecular cell biology at Uppsala University in 2007, I joined AstraZeneca as a postdoctoral researcher in 2009, which offered a great opportunity to introduce in situ proximity ligation assay (isPLA) on projects within the analgesia and Alzheimer’s disease areas. I successfully established isPLA technology into the company, to strengthen the target validation and show activation of target molecules in human tissue and translatable animal models.

In 2011, I joined the IMED RIA unit as a Senior Research Scientist, applying state-of-the-art molecular and visualisation technologies to address questions about the activation of the target/protein of interest. I was then promoted to an Associate Principal Scientist role, where I have been involved in activities including target identification, target validation and patient segmentation approaches. I have been acting as translational science lead, ensuring that translational aspects were considered during project progression, using innovative and creative approaches to overcome obstacles and follow the science.

An international assignment in 2015 gave me the opportunity to spend a year at the IMED Asia and Emerging Markets IMED unit at the Innovation Centre China (ICC) in Shanghai, working in a cross-cultural team at this leading-edge translational science centre. The role included acting as a link between the ICC and IMED RIA unit in Gothenburg.

Since coming back from Shanghai in July 2016, I have been leading my team to understand the role of innate lymphoid cells in type 2 asthma in an effort to discover ways to regulate their activity in the disease.

AstraZeneca’s reputation and novel medications have had a major impact on the lives of many people – not least when my young son was suffering from asthma.

Katerina Pardali Associate Principal Scientist, IMED Biotech Unit (Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity)


Understanding the dual role of ILC2 cells in allergic asthma and antiviral responses

Demonstrating the role for MDR1/Pgp-1 in the steroid response of RA patients – showing, with the University Medical Center Utrech, that the genotype of the MDR1/Pgp-1 that the RA patients carried was dictating their response to methylprednisolon

Leading the team to achieve TSID for MALT1 – having MALT1 as a novel project in the RIA IMED unit pipeline is highly relevant given its role in regulating immunity. It has since been progressed to a tier 1 project

Visualizing isoform specific activation of the proteins of the p38 family – using in situ Proximity Ligation Assay to show for the first time how p38 isoforms are phosphorylated in the COPD lung tissue

Featured publications

Polymorphisms in the multidrug-resistance 1 gene related to glucocorticoid response in rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Cuppen BV, Pardali K, Kraan MC, Marijnissen AC, Yrlid L, Olsson M, Bijlsma JW, Lafeber FP, Fritsch-Stork RD.

Rheumatol Int. 2017 Apr;37(4):531-536. doi: 10.1007/s00296-017-3653-1. Epub 2017 Jan 28.

Profiling cellular protein complexes by proximity ligation with dual tag microarray readout.

Hammond M, Nong RY, Ericsson O, Pardali K, Landegren U.

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40405. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040405. Epub 2012 Jul 10. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0119890.

Intercellular variation in signaling through the TGF-β pathway and its relation to cell density and cell cycle phase.

Zieba A, Pardali K, Söderberg O, Lindbom L, Nyström E, Moustakas A, Heldin CH, Landegren U.

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Jul;11(7):M111.013482. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.013482. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Bright-field microscopy visualization of proteins and protein complexes by in situ proximity ligation with peroxidase detection.

Zieba A, Wählby C, Hjelm F, Jordan L, Berg J, Landegren U, Pardali K.

Clin Chem. 2010 Jan;56(1):99-110. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2009.134452. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

A detailed analysis of 3D subcellular signal localization.

Pinidiyaarachchi A, Zieba A, Allalou A, Pardali K, Wählby C.

Cytometry A. 2009 Apr;75(4):319-28. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20663.

Functional role of Meox2 during the epithelial cytostatic response to TGF-beta.

Valcourt U, Thuault S, Pardali K, Heldin CH, Moustakas A.

Mol Oncol. 2007 Jun;1(1):55-71. doi: 10.1016/j.molonc.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Notch signaling is necessary for epithelial growth arrest by TGF-beta.

Niimi H, Pardali K, Vanlandewijck M, Heldin CH, Moustakas A.

J Cell Biol. 2007 Feb 26;176(5):695-707.

Actions of TGF-beta as tumor suppressor and pro-metastatic factor in human cancer.

Pardali K, Moustakas A.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jan;1775(1):21-62. Epub 2006 Jul 8. Review.

Smad pathway-specific transcriptional regulation of the cell cycle inhibitor p21(WAF1/Cip1).

Pardali K, Kowanetz M, Heldin CH, Moustakas A.

J Cell Physiol. 2005 Jul;204(1):260-72.

Nuclear factor YY1 inhibits transforming growth factor beta- and bone morphogenetic protein-induced cell differentiation.

Kurisaki K, Kurisaki A, Valcourt U, Terentiev AA, Pardali K, Ten Dijke P, Heldin CH, Ericsson J, Moustakas A.

Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Jul;23(13):4494-510.

Mechanisms of TGF-beta signaling in regulation of cell growth and differentiation.

Moustakas A, Pardali K, Gaal A, Heldin CH.

Immunol Lett. 2002 Jun 3;82(1-2):85-91. Review.

SMAD proteins transactivate the human ApoCIII promoter by interacting physically and functionally with hepatocyte nuclear factor 4.

Kardassis D, Pardali K, Zannis VI.

J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 29;275(52):41405-14.

Role of Smad proteins and transcription factor Sp1 in p21(Waf1/Cip1) regulation by transforming growth factor-beta.

Pardali K, Kurisaki A, Morén A, ten Dijke P, Kardassis D, Moustakas A.

J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 22;275(38):29244-56.

c-Jun transactivates the promoter of the human p21(WAF1/Cip1) gene by acting as a superactivator of the ubiquitous transcription factor Sp1.

Kardassis D, Papakosta P, Pardali K, Moustakas A.

J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 8;274(41):29572-81.

Lessons learned from the fate of AstraZeneca's drug pipeline: a five-dimensional framework.

D Cook, D Brown, R Alexander, R E March, P Morgan, G Satterthwaite & M N Pangalos.

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 2014 June; 13:419-431.

I wanted to be part of a team that has the ability to help and make a difference in people’s lives. The patient is at the centre of everything we do.

Katerina Pardali Associate Principal Scientist, IMED Biotech Unit (Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity)