Dr. Camilla Svensson

Mass spectrometry to analyze peptides in heat stabilized spinal cord 

A success story in research is the story of young researcher Camilla Svensson.  Dr. Svensson started her career with studies in pharmacology, wanted to experience a pre-clinical lab abroad and ended up in Dr. Tony Yaksh´s lab at UCSD. The work in Dr. Yaksh’s lab focused on understanding nociceptive information, Dr. Svensson was intrigued and stayed in the lab to complete a PhD. She stayed on at UCSD to pursue a post doc, where she learned about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the lab of Gary S. Firestein. Her continued research has focused on the combination of the two; pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain research at Karolinska Institutet

After completing her stay in San Diego, Dr Svensson wanted to set up her own research group and chose between several high end offers. Finally she accepted an offer from the Karolinska Institutet and the department of Physiology and Pharmacology. The department has a long tradition of pain research, with the discoveries of prostaglandins, norepinephrine and substance P. Today Dr. Svensson heads a group of 12 people and enjoys being back in Sweden, close to family and friends. She also appreciates the close collaboration the Karolinska Institutet has with the Karolinska University hospital, giving a necessary patient perspective to her pre-clinical research.
Dr. Svensson has spent several years developing relevant animal models, as she is convinced that general pain models are not applicable when studying the specific pain related to RA. She now has mouse strains with joint pain, which they use for behavioral studies as well as for molecular analysis. The molecular work is conducted on various organs as dorsal root ganglia, joints, skin, spleen and brain.

It's time for "peptides 2.0" in pain research

A key component in pain is peptides; however, peptides have been largely forgotten as they have been hard to analyze. With Dr. Svensson´s groundbreaking research, she finds it´s time for “Peptides 2.0”. On the quest to enable analysis of peptides, Dr. Svensson started looking at mass spectrometry and came across heat stabilization. With stabilization, the peptides are stopped from degrading and she is now able to successfully analyze neuropeptides in the tissue samples. With the ability to identify and quantify peptides in various regions involved in pain processing, she has found an important tool to characterize the important peptidergic influence on pain.

Accurate peptide levels through sample stabilization

Dr. Svensson has the Stabilizor T1 instrument in her animal facility, enabling the stabilization of tissue samples immediately after sacrifice. In this way she is assured she handles stable samples throughout the analysis and that the peptide levels detected are as accurate as possible. Dr. Svensson is awarded several prestigious awards and grants, like becoming a Wallenberg Academy fellow, a Ragnar Söderberg fellow in medicine and elected a “future research leader” by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.