Johanna Olweus
Immunotherapy | K.G. Jebsen Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy, UiO, Norway

Johanna graduated from medical school in Bergen, Norway in 1992. She then went to work for almost five years as a scientist at Becton Dickinson in San Jose, California, funded by a PhD grant from the Norwegian Research Council. By use of flow cytometers with ultra high sensitivity, she conducted the first high resolution studies on cytokine receptors on human hematopoietic progenitor cells. This work was performed in collaboration with her husband Fridtjof Lund-Johansen. She defended my PhD at the University of Bergen in 1998. In parallel with a residency as an MD in immunology and transfusion medicine (specialist in 2006), she built up a research group around studies of antigen presenting cells, and subsequently cancer immunotherapy. During her residency at the Institute for Immunology at Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, she learned about HLA-typing and workups in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and that T cells from healthy donors can be very powerful at eradicating cancer cells in patients. This lead to her interest in using various modalities of donor-derived immunity in cancer immunotherapy. By the end of 2007 she joined the Department of Cancer Immunology at the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet, as a Scientist. By end of 2008, she was appointed Head of Department, and Professor at the University of Oslo. In 2013, her group, together with five other research groups, was awarded a K.G.Jebsen Center of Cancer Immunotherapy, under her leadership, and in 2016 they were among the few centers that were awarded a two-year prolongation, starting in 2018. Her group is also a partnering group of the K.G.Jebsen Center for Inflammation Research, and of Oslo University Hospital Focus area Cancer Immunotherapy.
Selected publications
  • Kolstad A, Kumari S, Walczak M, Madsbu U, Hagtvedt T, Bogsrud TV, Kvalheim G, Holte H, Aurlien E, Delabie J, Tierens A, Olweus J. Sequential intranodal immuntherapy induces anti-tumor immunity and correlated regression of disseminated follicular lymphoma. Blood 2014 Oct 7 pii: blood-2014-07-592162.
  • Kumari S, Walchli S, Fallang LE, Yang W, Lund-Johansen F, Schumacher TN, Olweus J. Alloreactive cytotoxic T cells provide means to decipher the immunopeptidome and reveal a plethora of tumor-associated self-epitopes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(1):403-408. Selected by Faculty of 1000 Prime: (Two stars)
  • Lossius A, Johansen JN, Vartdal F, Robins H, Benth JS, Holmoy T, Olweus J. High-throughput sequencing of TCR repertoires in multiple sclerosis reveals intrathecal enrichment of EBV-reactive CD8 T cells. Eur J Immunol. 2014.
  • Walchli S, Kumari S, Fallang LE, Sand KM, Yang W, Landsverk OJ, . . . Olweus J*, Gregers TF*. Invariant chain as a vehicle to load antigenic peptides on human MHC class I for cytotoxic T-cell activation. Eur J Immunol. 2014;44(3):774-784. *Shared senior authors. Front cover. Commentary in Eur J Immunol 2014, V44, p650. Selected by Faculty of 1000 Prime:
  • Taraldsrud E, Fevang B, Aukrust P, Beiske KH, Floisand Y, Froland S, . . . Olweus J. Common variable immunodeficiency revisited: normal generation of naturally occurring dendritic cells that respond to Toll-like receptors 7 and 9. Clin Exp Immunol. 2014;175(3):439-448.
  • Abrahamsen IW, Kjellevoll S, Greve-Isdahl M, Mensali N, Walchli S, Kumari S, . . . Olweus J. T cells raised against allogeneic HLA-A2/CD20 kill primary follicular lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Int J Cancer. 2012;130(8):1821-1832.
  • Abrahamsen IW, Stronen E, Walchli S, Johansen JN, Kjellevoll S, Kumari S, . . . Olweus J. Targeting B cell leukemia with highly specific allogeneic T cells with a public recognition motif. Leukemia. 2010;24(11):1901-1909.
A full list can be found here.