Lund University

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Björn Nilsson

Understanding genetic predisposition for multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common blood cancer. While the causes are unknown, some cases are thought to have a heritable background. We recently identified DNA sequence variants that predispose for MM at 18 independent loci. However, it remains a mystery why these cause the disease.

In this project, we seek to understand the molecular effect DNA sequence variants that predispose for MM. For this, we will combine unique data sets from Sweden and Iceland with the latest genomics and genome editing techniques, including massively parallel sequencing, massively parallel reporter assays (MPRA), novel DNA binding assays and CRISPR-Cas9.

Specifically, the Ph.D. student will be enrolled in (a) extended genome-wide association studies to identify novel predisposition alleles; and (b) functional studies aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms. Methodologically, the project will be based on advanced genotyping techniques (microarrays, sequencing and imputation) as well as advanced functional genomics and genome-editing techniques (e.g., MPRA and CRISPR-Cas9). The project will be directed by outstanding researchers at Lund University and deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik. The project will illuminate mechanisms that influence the risk of MM, increasing our understanding and abilities to control the disease.

The research group at Lund University, combines advanced mathematics and genomics to study malignant blood disorders and blood cell formation. The team is markedly multi-disciplinary and comprises 15 individuals with complementary skills, including clinical, computational, and experimental expertise. The scientific output includes publications in top-tier journals, as well as clinically implemented discoveries.

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Björn Nilsson







Department of Laboratory Medicine

Division of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine


BMC, C14,

Klinikgatan 28,

221 84 Lund