Immunology research group
Lennart Maximilian van Ligtenberg

About us

The Immunology Research Group performs research in basic and applied immunology related to Fetal and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) and Immunothrombosis. The group is led by Tor Brynjar Stuge.


Our research focus has for decades been the immunology related to Fetal and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT). This is a condition that can affect fetuses and newborns. It may occur due to fetal-maternal incompatibility of platelet antigens and alloimmunization of the mother. The antibodies can lead to thrombocytopenia in the newborn, potentially resulting in severe, life-threatening haemorrhages. In Norway, FNAIT accounts for approximately three to five cases of infant mortality annually and contributes to brain damage in 5 to 15 newborns. The long-term care and treatment for those affected by brain damage impose a significant financial burden on society.

Schematic overview of alloimmunization and subsequent FNAIT

 Our FNAIT research has the following main objectives:
- Develop treatments that can prevent or reduce the formation of platelet-reactive antibodies in pregnant women.
- Carry out groundbreaking research to improve basal knowledge of the immune biology and especially the cellular immune response that allows for the development of platelet-reactive antibodies.
- Investigate clinical manifestations associated with platelet-reactive alloantibodies.

Some projects include data and material from a national FNAIT biobank (REK 2015/603): "Research biobank for immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in fetus and newborn". Publications on previous studies as well as ongoing studies using material/clinical data from the biobank can be found at


To read more about our thrombosis and immunity research see Projects or visit TREC 

We have a close collaboration and joint research activities with the Norwegian National Unit for Platelet Immunology (NNUPI) at the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN), serving as diganostic laboratory for a number of immune-mediated platelet disorders.



PhD students

Lennart Maximilian van Ligtenberg, MSc

PhD candidate in Immunology Research Group, working with fetal neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, intracranial hemorrhage and oral tolerance as main research interests. 
Main supervisor is Tor Brynjar Stuge.

Nora Hersoug Nedberg, MSc

PhD candidate in Immunology Research Group (IMB) /Women's Health and Perinatology (IKM) on the project "FNAIT and Placenta".
Head Engineer at the Women's Health and Perinatology | UiT.
Main supervisor is Heidi Tiller.

Ingvild Jenssen Lægreid, MD

Senior Consultant Immunology and Transfusion Medicine UNN.
PhD candidate in Immunology Research Group in characterizing T cell responses in FNAIT. 
Main Supervisor is Maria Therese Ahlen.

Selected publications 

FNAIT and platelet immunology

What's with the boys? Lower birth weight in boys from HPA-1a alloimmunized pregnancies - New insights from a large prospective screening study in Poland. Coucheron T, Uhrynowska M, Guz K, Orzińska A, Debska M, Gierszon A, Ahlen MT, Bertelsen EL, Berge G, Husebekk A, Brojer E, Tiller H. J Reprod Immunol. 2023;160:104168.

Antenatal intravenous immunoglobulins in pregnancies at risk of fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia: comparison of neonatal outcome in treated and nontreated pregnancies. Ernstsen SL, Ahlen MT, Johansen T, Bertelsen EL, Kjeldsen-Kragh J, Tiller HAm J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;227(3):506.e12.

Prevention of Fetal/Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia in Mice: Biochemical and Cell Biological Characterization of Isoforms of a Human Monoclonal Antibody. Mortberg TV, Zhi H, Vidarsson G, Foss S, Lissenberg-Thunnissen S, Wuhrer M, Michaelsen TE, Skogen B, Stuge TB, Andersen JT, Newman PJ, Ahlen MTImmunohorizons. 2022;6:90-103

Acute drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia - A work of articaine. Laegreid IJ, Olsen MI, Harr JI, Grønli RH, Mørtberg TV, Ernstsen SL, Ahlen MT. Transfusion. 2022;62(5):1142-1147.

Thrombosis and thrombocytopenia after HPV vaccination. Johansen S, Laegreid IJ, Ernstsen SL, Azrakhsh NA, Kittang AO, Lindås R, Gjertsen BT, Vetti N, Mørtberg TV, Sørvoll IH, Holme PA, Ahlen MT, Reikvam H. J Thromb Haemost. 2022;20(3):700-704.

An observational study to identify the prevalence of thrombocytopenia and anti-PF4/polyanion antibodies in Norwegian health care workers after COVID-19 vaccination. Sørvoll IH, Horvei KD, Ernstsen SL, Laegreid IJ, Lund S, Grønli RH, Olsen MK, Jacobsen HK, Eriksson A, Halstensen AM, Tjønnfjord E, Ghanima W, Ahlen MT. J Thromb Haemost. 2021;19(7):1813-1818.

Platelet alloimmunization is associated with low grade chronic histiocytic intervillositis - A new link to a rare placental lesion? Nedberg NH, Turowski G, Guz 3, Przytuła E, Uhrynowska M, Roald B, Husebekk A, Sitras V, Nystad M, Dębska M, Brojer E, Tiller H. Placenta. 2021;1:112:89-96.

Preclinical evaluation of immunotherapeutic regimens for fetal/neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. Zhi H, Ahlen MT, Skogen B, Newman DK, Newman PJ. Blood Adv. 2021;5(18):3552-3562.

Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination. Schultz NH, Sørvoll IH, Michelsen AE, Munthe LA, Lund-Johansen F, Ahlen MT, Wiedmann M, Aamodt AH, Skattør TH, Tjønnfjord GE, Holme PA. N Engl J Med. 2021;384(22):2124-2130.

The prevalence of HPA-1a alloimmunization and the potential risk of FNAIT depend on both the DRB3*01:01 allele and associated DR-DQ haplotypes. Ahlen MT, Heide G, Husebekk A, Skogen B, Kjeldsen-Kragh J, Stuge TB. Scand J Immunol. 2020;92(1):e12890. 

T cell responses to Human Platelet Antigen-1a involve a unique form of indirect allorecognition. Ahlen MT, Husebekk A, Killie IL, Skogen B, Stuge TBJCI Insight. 2016;1(14):e86558

Characterization of a Human Platelet Antigen-1a-Specific Monoclonal Antibody Derived from a B Cell from a Woman Alloimmunized in Pregnancy. Eksteen M, Tiller H, Averina M, Heide G, Kjaer M, Ghevaert C, Michaelsen TE, Ihle O, Husebekk A, Skogen B, Stuge TBJ Immunol. 2015;194: 5751-5760.

Toward a prophylaxis against fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia: induction of antibody-mediated immune suppression and prevention of severe clinical complications in a murine model. Tiller H, Killie MK, Chen P, Eksteen M, Husebekk A, Skogen B, Kjeldsen-Kragh J, Ni H. Transfusion. 2012;52:1446-1457.

T-cell responses associated with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia: isolation of HPA-1a-specific, HLA-DRB3*0101-restricted CD4+ T cells. Ahlen MT, Husebekk A, Killie MK, Skogen B and Stuge TB. Blood. 2009;16;113(16):3838-3844.

A screening and intervention program aimed to reduce mortality and serious morbidity associated with severe neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. Kjeldsen-Kragh J, Killie MK, Tomter G, Golebiowska E, Randen I, Hauge R, Aune B, Oian P, Dahl LB, Pirhonen J, Lindeman R, Husby H, Haugen G, Gronn M, Skogen B, Husebekk A. Blood. 2007;1;110(3):833-839.


Extracellular vesicles from activated platelets possess a phospholipid-rich biomolecular profile and enhance prothrombinase activity. Guerreiro EM, Kruglik SG, Swamy S, Latysheva N, Østerud B, Guigner JM, Sureau F, Bonneau S, Kuzmin AN, Prasad PN, Hansen JB, Hellesø OG, Snir OJ Thromb Haemost. 2024;22:S1538-7836(24)00041-2.

Sustained and intermittent hypoxia differentially modulate primary monocyte immunothrombotic responses to IL-1β stimulation. Wahlund CJE, Çaglayan S, Czarnewski P, Hansen JB, Snir O. Front Immunol. 2023;11;14:1240597.

Plasma levels of platelet-derived microvesicles are associated with risk of future venous thromboembolism. Snir O, Wilsgård L, Latysheva N, Wahlund CJE, Braekkan SK, Hindberg K, Hansen JB. J Thromb Haemost. 2022;20(4):899-908.

A rapid, sensitive, and specific assay to measure TF activity based on chromogenic determination of thrombin generation. Østerud B, Latysheva N, Schoergenhofer C, Jilma B, Hansen JB, Snir OJ Thromb Haemost. 2022;20(4):866-876.

To see all publications, please visit Cristin

PhD dissertations

Trude Victoria Mørtberg  

Prevention of Fetal/Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) by prophylactic monoclonal antibodies. In vitro and preclinical evaluation of HPA-1a-specific antibodies.

Oktober 2023

Main supervisor: Maria Therese Ahlen (UNN/IMB,UiT)

Co-supervisor: Tor Brynjar Stuge (IMB, UiT)

Link to thesis in Munin: Prevention of Fetal/Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) by prophylactic monoclonal antibodies. In vitro and preclinical evaluation of HPA-1a-specific antibodies

Gøril Heide   

Human platelet antigen (HPA)-1a alloimmunization - Why only blame it on the platelets?

January 2021

Main supervisor: Tor Brynjar Stuge (IMB, UiT)

Co-supervisors: Maria Therese Ahlen (UNN/IMB,UiT), Anne Husebekk (IMB, UiT) 

Link to thesis in Munin: Human platelet antigen (HPA)-1a alloimmunization - Why only blame it on the platelets?


Store Norske Leksikon

Tor Brynjar Stuge contributes to the Store Norske Leksikon on immunological subjects: SNL - Tor Stuge 


The National Science Week 2023

October 2023

Lennart contributed to the The National Science Week (Forskningsdagene) at UiT along with several other groups at IMB. The topic in 2023 was Cell energy and recycling. 

Thrombosis and thrombocytopenia after AztraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Our contribution to the role of anti-PF4 antibodies in VITT (Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia) was recognized locally, nationally and internationally.  

 UNN, Helse | UNN-ansatte banket fortvilet på døren deres: – Vi skjønte at vi måtte gjøre noe ( (In Norwegian, December13th 2022)

Researchers investigating the VITT syndrome after COVID-19 vaccination

Ingvild Hausberg Sørvoll, Maria Therese Ahlen, Siw Leiknes Ernstsen, Kjersti Daae Horvei and Ingvild Lægreid. Photo: Torgrim Rath Olsen, Nordlys 



Immunology research group

Tor B Stuge
9014 Tromsø, Norway
UiT The Arctic University of Norway MH-building, Immunology
+47 77645888
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