Astrid Fagraeus

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Astrid Elsa Fagraeus-Wallbom (born  May 30, 1913 in Stockholm ; †  February 24, 1997 ibid) was a Swedish immunologist and professor at the Karolinska Institute from 1961 to 1979 . As part of her doctoral thesis, she discovered that antibodies are produced by plasma cells . Later she was mainly concerned with the development and maturation of T lymphocytes in the thymus . In 1973 she was made an honorary member of the American Association of Immunologists .


Astrid Fagraeus was born in Stockholm in 1913 and studied medicine at the Karolinska Institute by 1943 , where she also received her doctorate five years later and taught bacteriology from 1949 to 1961 . She then acted there from 1961 as a professor and from 1965 also as head of the Department of Immunology. Her Chair in Immunology was the first in Sweden in this field. In addition, from 1953 she headed the Virology Department at the Swedish National Laboratory for Bacteriology. After her retirement in 1979, she was scientifically active for almost ten years. She died in her hometown in 1997.

Scientific work

Astrid Fagraeus was able to show as part of her doctoral thesis that antibodies are formed by plasma cells , whose function was previously unknown. Due to the far-reaching significance of this discovery for immunological research, her dissertation is considered a milestone in modern immunology. In the further course of her career, during which she published around 80 scientific publications , she dealt in particular with the development and maturation of T lymphocytes in the thymus . She was also involved in the development of a vaccine against poliomyelitis in Sweden .


The American Association of Immunologists made Astrid Fagraeus an honorary member in 1973. The Astrid Fagraeus Laboratory, which was founded in 2003 and has been part of the Karolinska Institute since 2012, is geared towards experimental infection research.

Works (selection)

  • Antibody Production in Relation to the Development of Plasma Cells: In vivo and In vitro Experiments. Stockholm 1948 (dissertation)
  • About the localization and the cellular aspects of antibody formation. Marburg 1955
  • Defined Immunofluorescent Staining. Series: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences . Volume 177. New York 1971 (as associate editor)
  • Anti-Actin Antibodies. Series: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Volume 82. Berlin and New York 1978


  • Renée Norberg, Gunnel Biberfeld, Hans Wigzell: Obituary: Astrid Fagraeus, 1913-1997. In: Scandinavian Journal of Immunology. 47 / (1) / 1998. John Wiley & Sons, p. 91, ISSN  0300-9475
  • Fagraeus-Wallbom, Astrid Elsa (1913-1997). In: Arthur M. Silverstein: A History of Immunology. Second edition. Academic Press, Amsterdam 2009, ISBN 0-12-370586-X , p. 481