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Laboratory of Stem Cells and Restorative Neurology

Kokaia group


By linking together basic and clinical research, we aim to clarify cellular mechanisms of regeneration following damage to the brain and develop new therapeutic strategies to restore function in this organ (primarily in stroke and Parkinson’s disease) by transplantation of stem cells or reprogrammed cells and optimization of endogenous repair mechanisms.


Our Research

Available experience, intellectual potential and manpower, technology platforms, transgenic animals, methodological and clinical “know-how”, and close interaction between clinicians and basic scientists provide added value, strongly supporting the feasibility of our work. We are transplanting different types of neuroblasts generated either from human skin cell-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells or via direct conversion of skin cells to neurons (iN cells) (Fig.1).

Reprogramming of somatic (e.g., skin or blood) cells is an emerging technology which gives the possibility to develop any cell type avoiding the ethical concerns with the use of human embryonic stem (ES) cells. In addition, using iPS and iN cell technology patient-specific cells can be generated for transplantation, avoiding the need for immunosuppression and risk for rejection. We are currently generating neurons by iPS and iN cell technology aiming to produce cortical neurons and after intracerebral transplantation or direct in vivo reprogramming of non-neuonal cells restore damaged neuronal network.

We also determine how inflammation associated with ischemic brain damage influences the plasticity of the brain  and how the beneficial effects of innate and adaptive immune system could be promoted to improve functional recovery. We are currently performing clinical study to characterize the phenotype and gene expression profile of peripheral blood monocytes in patients with stroke.


Stem cell therapy for stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases
Stem cell therapy for stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases
Stem cell therapy for stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases


List of Team Kokaia's publications

Our laboratory for the first time combines transplantation of stem cells, stimulation of endogenous neurogenesis and modulation of inflammatory responses in order to develop clinically effective cell replacement therapies for human neurodegenerative diseases. Such diseases represent leading causes of disability, and with the growing aging population, their economical and societal burden will be further increased. If our objectives are achieved, this work will have major therapeutic implications for patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as stroke.


(name linked to profile in Lund University research portal)

Zaal Kokaia 

Principal Investigator, Zaal [dot] Kokaia [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se  

Olle Lindvall 

Senior Professor, Olle [dot] Lindvall [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se  

Sibel Aktay 

Postdoc, Sibel [dot] Aktay [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Zhengyu Fang 

Postdoc, Zhengyu [dot] Fang [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Sara Palma Tortosa 

Postdoc, Sara [dot] Palma_Tortosa [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Juliane Tampe 

PhD student, Juliane [dot] Tampe [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Natalia Avaliani 

Research Engineer, Natalia [dot] Avaliani [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Linda Jansson 

Research Engineer, Linda_I [dot] Jansson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se  

Emanuela Monni 

Research Engineer, Emanuela [dot] Monni [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Katarina Turesson 

Research Administrator, Katarina [dot] Turesson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se 

Zaal Kokaia

Zaal Kokala

Professor Zaal Kokaia
Principal Investigator
Phone: +46 46 2220276
Mobile: 0705-365917
Email: Zaal [dot] Kokaia [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Profile in Lund University research portal