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Transfusion Medicine – Red Cell Biology

Olsson group

Our research

We study the biology and formation of the red blood cell and its polymorphic surface molecules, specifically the role of blood groups in health and disease. Our group has a strong and longstanding track record in the discovery and characterization of these molecules, the compatibility of which is crucially important for both safe blood transfusions, solid organ transplantation and the fetomaternal relationship during pregnancy. Research from our group has laid the foundation for five new blood group systems so far and for two of them (SMIM1/VEL and EMP3/MAM) we are now exploring their role as regulators of erythropoiesis, from stem cell to mature red cell.


We strive to understand the molecular genetics, structure, and function of erythroid surface molecules, in order to explain how early steps during erythropoiesis are regulated. By doing so, our long-term vision is to open up new therapeutic avenues beyond blood transfusion and erythropoietin (Epo) to treat anemia. We also envision novel erythroid targets for pharmaceutical intervention in thrombotic disease.


  • To discover and characterize new blood groups
  • To unravel the hidden regulators of early erythropoiesis
  • To explore the emerging role of erythrocytes in hemostasis


Anemia is a common condition that affects a large proportion of people worldwide. According to WHO, close to 120 million blood donations are made around the globe annually to help patients survive acute blood loss following trauma, surgery and obstetrical complications. Yet other patient categories rely on safe blood for cancer treatment, hemoglobinopathies and to support stem cell transplantation. However, today the therapeutic alternatives to treat anemia, beyond nutritional aspects, are surprisingly few.

Our main mission is to improve current blood selection practices and develop alternatives to traditional transfusion therapy, including interference with regulators of erythropoiesis and culture of stem and progenitor cells towards mature red cells. Furthermore, defining an active role for erythroid cells in hemostasis has potential impact for patients suffering from thrombotic disease like stroke and myocardial infarction, if anticoagulants could target not only platelets and coagulation factors but also our most common cell.


Martin L. Olsson

Principal Investigator, Martin_L [dot] Olsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Jill Storry

Associate Professor, Jill [dot] Storry [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Maria Allhorn

Lab Manager, Maria [dot] Allhorn [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Stephan Hasse

Postdoc, Stephan [dot] Hasse [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Nysa McGowan

Postdoc, Nysa [dot] McGowan [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Yan Quan Lee

Postdoc, Yan_Quan [dot] Lee [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Abdul Ghani Alattar

PhD student & lab engineer, Abdul_Ghani [dot] Alattar [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Gloria Wu

PhD student, Gloria [dot] Wu [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Anja Nylander

PhD student, Anja [dot] Nylander [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Ann-Marie Lenndin

Research Administrator, Ann-Marie [dot] Lenndin [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se


Martin L. Olsson
Photo: Kennet Ruona

Principal Investigator
MD, PhD, Professor
Division of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Lund Stem Cell Center
BMC C14, Lund University
221 84 Lund, Sweden

Phone: + 46 46 222 32 07

Mail:Martin_L [dot] Olsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se