Team Members

Consultant rheumatologist, Associate Professor

Ioannis Parodis

(Team Leader)

I’m a consultant rheumatologist at the Karolinska University Hospital, director of studies for elective courses and vice director of studies for the internal medicine course at the Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Since October 2020, I am also affiliated to research at the School of Medical Sciences at the Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.

I studied medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and graduated in 2006. In February 2017, I defended my doctoral thesis entitled "Systemic lupus erythematosus: biomarkers and biologics", which I carried out at the Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. My thesis focused on novel biomarkers in lupus nephritis, and clinical and immunological effects of biological therapies in systemic lupus erythematosus, including effects on health-related quality of life.

With my research, I aim at improving the management and surveillance for people living with systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis. At the post-doctoral level, I have continued on the same trajectories as during my doctoral education, and focused on identification of biomarkers that reflect activity and portend flare, response to therapy (especially B cell targeted biologics), and long-term outcome.

Last but not least, I have an interest in medical pedagogy, and I am currently working on the development of a novel virtual patient modality for interprofessional learning.

Post-doc

Korosh Hekmat

I am a senior consultant in rheumatology and internal medicine, currently working at the Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm. I studied medicine at Lund University and completed my doctoral education at the Skåne University Hospital. My doctoral project focused on patient-reported outcomes after orthopaedic surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
In 2021, I joined Dr Parodis’s research team, not only because we share a passion for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, but also for post-doctoral research in evaluating patient-reported outcomes in other rheumatic disorders.
The aim of my current project is to evaluate the ability of patient responses to screening questionnaires to predict definite diagnosis of spondyloarthritis.
PhD student

Shahrzad Kia Komujuni

In 2011, I earned my Master of Biomedical Sciences from Uppsala University writing my master’s thesis at the Department of Immunology, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University.

I have been conducting research on rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus since 2014. In 2020, I joined Dr Parodis’s research team to proceed with my doctoral education, which now is focused on optimisation of treatment outcomes in people living with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Within my doctoral studies, I have been investigating whether achieving remission based on newly proposed definitions is a pragmatic outcome in clinical trial design in order to inform the SLE researcher community on how to finetune the definitions. In another project, I am currently examining factors associated with medication non-adherence in patients with SLE residing in Sweden.

PhD student

Álvaro Gómez González

I am a physician graduated from the University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, after completing my medical education and training between 2012 and 2019.

I have been conducting research within systemic lupus erythematosus together with Dr. Parodis since 2017, and since November 2020 I am a doctoral student at the KI.

During this period, we have been studying how demographical, clinical and immunological factors influence the efficacy of biological therapies in patients with SLE. We are currently exploring the impact of pharmacological and non-pharmacological factors on patients’ health-related quality of life, and the performance of different patient-reported measures as evaluation tools in clinical trials. I believe that our work highlights the importance of the patient perspective in clinical research and health care.

One of my main interests is the effective communication of results in research. I find fascination in optimising the data visualisation in the works of our research team, aiming to provide a thorough yet clear message.

PhD student

Julius Lindblom

At the time of writing I have completed 10 out of 11 semesters of the Study Program in Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet (KI). I conducted my scientific degree project at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), where I assessed facial symmetry in patients with zygomaticomaxillary complex (ZMC) fractures with a new computer-aided method. Besides the degree project, I have also conducted two summer research projects at the KI. The first project examined the effect of microRNA-210 (miR-210) in diabetic wound healing, and the second one investigated the risk of colorectal cancer among patients with gastric mucosal abnormalities.

I have an interest for rheumatic diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in particular, and I joined Dr Parodis’s research team in April 2020. I am currently involved in studies investigating health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in SLE. PROMs are increasingly embraced in the SLE researcher community, but how they can be used in the design of clinical trials and observational studies in order to increase their ability to reflect clinically important response to therapies needs further exploration. This we attempt in several ongoing studies.

PhD student

Alexander Borg

I started studying medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in 2016 and I am currently in my fifth year of education. In parallel with my medical studies, I also studied independent courses in statistics and basic programming during my first and second year at the university.

I joined Dr Parodis’s research team in October 2019 for my medical degree thesis, within the frame of which we examined the impact of body weight on adverse patient-reported health-related quality of life outcomes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. I have been involved in the research team ever since. My aim is to develop statistical expertise at the same time as I contribute to the projects conducted by the team, mainly projects within medical pedagogy.

I always try to look at things with a new set of eyes. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a new set of glasses.

Research Assistant

Nurşen Çetrez

I am a physician with a deep interest in precision medicine and data science. In my research, I combine my medical background with my computational skills to seek answers to clinical and biological questions, aiming for personalised therapy.

I completed my medical education and training at the Marmara University in Istanbul as of August 2021. During my medical studies, I participated in various research projects where I developed my analytical skills on biological and clinical data at different locations, including the Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University.

I have a particular interest in autoimmune disorders because of their complexity, ofter constituting good systems for implementing data analytics. Systemic lupus erythematosus is a very good example of such a disease with partially unclear aetiology, prominent underlying pathophysiological complexity, and variable clinical manifestations.

My main purpose is to develop computational predictive models of flare and response to therapy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus using multilevel omics data with the aim of improving treatment outcomes and prognosis.

Research assistant

Alexander Tsoi

As of the spring of 2022, I am a medical student in my eighth semester at Karolinska Institutet. I have some prior experience in preclinical research, working with synthesis of selenoproteins (Arnér group) and HMGB1 receptor interactions (Erlandsson Harris group). I am currently working on my degree project with the Parodis group, assessing the predictive value of a questionnaire for axial spondyloarthritis.
My interest in immunology and inflammatory diseases aligns well with the research conducted by the group, which I have found to be a warm and inspiring environment full of wonderful people. I will happily continue contributing with my efforts beyond the scope of my degree project.
MD, intern with a focus on medical pedagogy

Anton Ericsson

Patient research partner

Gunilla von Perner

I'm passionate with the concept of “the good conversation” between people. Conversations that take place with respect and curiosity without any winner. With a background in PR and marketing communication, I have benefited from the explorative, qualitative conversation to understand people's values, choices and priorities. As a specialist in qualitative methodology, I have developed methods for result-oriented conversations that inspire inner leadership and self-responsibility, and mobilise people’s own power aiming for improved quality of life in the long run.

My focus areas are the individual's own leadership combined with effective communication linked to lifestyle and behaviours. My current assignments are to work on these issues in management groups, in communication departments and among healthcare personnel.

My role in this exciting context is mainly to assist and support in the qualitative research parts combined with quantitative results. As an SLE patient, I hope to be able to help make our material and our messages engaging and relevant to those living with SLE.

Patient research partner, affiliated to research

Yvonne Enman

I am a Dr(hc) from the Karolinska Institutet, member of the steering group of the Swedish SLE network, and medical journalist.

Since about two years ago I have been a patient advocate in Ioannis Parodis’s research team. Having been living with SLE for many years, my involvement in research gives me the opportunity to contribute with the experience I have obtained from my own disease, combined with the information I receive from people living with rheumatic diseases whom I meet, talk with or have interviewed within the frame of my former work at the Swedish Rheumatism Association. This knowledge I also share with caregivers and researchers in lectures, conversations and book chapters.

I am a member of the editorial board of the Swedish book “Reumatologi, Studentlitteratur” (third edition as of now), and I have also have been a member of the editorial board of the book “Barnreumatologi, Studentlitteratur”. During the time I worked within the patient organisation, I composed several books, each one dealing with how to cope with a rheumatic disease. I have been reporting advances and research findings within different rheumatic diseases in special research appendices, as well as in the magazine “Bulletinen”, a magazine about rheumatic inflammatory systemic diseases by the Swedish Rheumatism Association, for which I have been the publisher and editor.

I find it important that the voice of the ones who the research is done for is heard. I find it important that people living with SLE work together with SLE researchers. Our goal is common: a better life for the people with SLE in the years to come.