Wangko Lundstrom, Doctoral Fellow
Wangko Lundstrom received his Master of Science in Biotechnology from Lund University in Sweden and is a doctoral candidate in the NIH/Karolinska-Graduate Partnership Program. He has interest and experience in genomic studies and has contributed to work at Karolinska demonstrating that polymorphisms in the IL7R gene influences susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. In the Mackall laboratory, he explored the biologic effects of soluble IL7Ra. This work has demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms in IL7R result in meaningful differences in the levels of circulating soluble IL7Ra with individuals bearing the autoimmunity predisposing genotype having higher levels than those with the protective genotype. This results from enhanced exon 6 splicing in the presence of the autoimmunity predisposing allele. Furthermore, Wangko demonstrated that soluble IL7Ra binds to IL-7 with moderate affinity and prolongs and enhances IL7’s biologic effects by reducing consumption and therefore increasing bioavailability. Interestingly, sIL7R may also modulate the quality of the IL7 induced signal by diminishing STAT5 phosphorylation and diminishing the induction of negative regulators of IL7 signaling.