COSMIC Mission

COSMIC delivers the next generation of systems medicine professionals who successfully combat complex human disorders. We will focus on B-cell lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, diseases that originate from abnormal functioning of the adaptive immune system, in particular the germinal center. COSMIC develops and integrates experimental and computational approaches, and establish a unique cross-fertilization between oncology and auto-immunity. 
Download: COSMIC Summary
  • COSMIC in numbers

    10 Beneficiaries
    7 Partner Organisations
    14 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs)
        -13 PhD students
        -1 Industrial researcher
    5 Companies
    9 European countries
        -NL, FR, SE, UK, IT, ES, DE, CH, EL
    5 Visiting Scientists
    4 External Trainers
    5 Members of External Advisory Board
    1 Ethics Advisor
  • COSMIC Research Background

    Systems Medicine

    One of the key question in systems biology is how biological systems (e.g., cells, molecular networks, germinal center) operate upon interaction with their external environment. Answering this question will generate knowledge about the dy­namics of complex systems and quantitative and explanatory computer models based on ex­perimental data.

    Systems medicine implements systems biology approaches in medical research and practice. This involves iterative and reciprocal feedback between clinical investigations and practice with computational, statistical and mathematical multiscale analysis and modelling of pathogenetic mechanisms, disease progression and remission, treatment responses, and adverse events as well as disease prevention at the individual patient level.

    Systems medicine aims at a measurable improvement of patient health through systems-based approaches and practice.

    Source: CASyM
    See also: EASyM
    Further reading: Schmitz, U., and Wolkenhauer, O. eds. (2016). Systems Medicine (New York: Springer)

    Adaptive immunity
    Germinal Center
    B-cell lymphoma
    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Computational modelling
  • COSMIC Systems Medicine

    Through collaboration with existing systems medicine initiatives (e.g. EASyM, ISBE) COSMIC researchers contribute to systems medicine infrastructure and best practices that reduce time and costs to address clinical needs.

    At the same time this will promote Europe’s position in the health domain.
  • COSMIC Training

    An important aim of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action European Training Network (ETN) is to train young researchers (Early Stage Researchers, ESRs) with multi-disciplinary and multi-sectorial scientific and transferable skills required in systems medicine and translational medicine (WP2).

    COSMIC delivers 14 highly skilled systems medicine professionals who are able to address and solve complex clinical questions and to shape the next generation of systems medicine scientists.
Prof Rikard Holmdahl
Karolinska Institute
Duration 48 months 
Identify B-cell VDJ repertoire specific for autoreactivity related to arthritis in mice
Project description
In this project a unique unpublished discovery will be addressed, in which self-antigen specific B cells are selected in the bone marrow and exert a profound regulation of the immune system protecting against autoimmune diseases. It is today well known that autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, is preceded by several years of chronic activation of autoreactive B cells. The role of such B cells is however not known and they might contain both pathogenic and regulatory B cells and secreted antibodies. The Holmdahl group has over several years developed knowhow and mouse strains to conclusively address this issue and recent discoveries of regulatory B cells and antibodies are currently studied intensively. In the project already established VDJ knock in mouse strains allowing studies of specific B cells, together with trains with the mutated type II collagen epitope and conditional mouse strains regulating their development will be studied. The VDJ repertoire and immune phenotype and function will be addressed at different steps of development into bone marrow and germinal centers and compared with corresponding studies in humans.
Our department
The main base of the PhD education will be at the Medical Inflammation Research laboratory at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden The laboratory is focused on the basic studies of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, and has a well developed technology platform mainly based on immunology, biochemistry and molecular biology and a leading platform for studies of genetically modified mouse strains.
The Holmdahl group has extensive experience in training ESR students for PhD at the Karolinska Institute. It includes hands on supervision, and cutting edge scientific environment and access to world class laboratory technology and mouse models.
Karolinska Institute is a leading university, with courses and seminars on an international top class level. English is the prime laboratory language and English is also spoken as second language in Sweden.
Your experience
• A Master’s degree or equivalent in Molecular biology or Immunology.
• A desire to learn experimental and computational approaches
• Excellent higher education track record
• Fluent spoken and written English skills
• Outstanding communication skills
• Well-developed critical thinking skills
Our offer
This 4-year position is for the first 3 years funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 765158 and for the forurth year funded by in house research grants. The student will be registered for the PhD degree at the Karolinska Institute. Due to local law and differences in family situation, the exact salary will be determined in the host institution upon recruitment.
Your application
See  recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position you can contact Prof Rikard Holmdahl.


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    Project coordination

    Prof. dr. A.H.C. van Kampen (Antoine)
    Bioinformatics Laboratory
    E: a.h.vankampen at
    P: +31 20 5667096

    Project management:
    Dr. Laurian Jongejan
    Department of Experimental Immunology
    E: l.zuidmeer at
    P: +31 20 5666819

    The Netherlands
    Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam

    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

    The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers. One type of action is the European Training Network (ETN) aimed at joint research training by partners from academia, industry, and other organisation. ETNs facilitate the the researcher to experience different sectors and develop their transferable skills by working on joint research projects.


    COSMIC is a European Training Network funded from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 765158.

© 2018 COSMIC. All Rights Reserved.

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