Back to Directory

Alix Berglund

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Veterinary Medicine 8075 Greenmead Drive College Park, MD 20742-3711


  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Transforming Growth Factor-β
  • Equine Immunology


Dr. Berglund leads the Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine and Immunology using interdisciplinary research to develop safe and effective regenerative therapies for humans and animals. She has given invited talks on mesenchymal stem cells and equine regenerative medicine at national conferences and authored the Merck Veterinary Manual chapter on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. She is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the Morris Animal Foundation's Animal Health Advisory Council.


  • PhD, Comparative Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina State University, 2018
  • DVM, Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, 2014
  • BS, Zoology, Washington State University, 2010


Our long-term research goals are to develop novel safe and effective regenerative therapies for treating inflammatory diseases in humans and animals.

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy. Mesenchymal stem cells are a promising therapy for treating inflammatory, immune-mediated, and degenerative diseases. The quality of the cells can be affected by the age and health of the donor and it can takes weeks to isolate the cells from the bone marrow and culture them for use clinically. Allogeneic cells from young, healthy donors would be preferred, but these can be rejected by the recipient's immune system. We use transforming growth factor-β to 1. Downregulate the surface molecules that can initiate immune rejection and 2. Enhance the production of cytokines and growth factors that promote resolution of inflammation and initiate tissue repair. We are currently investigating the in vivo immunogenicity of TGF-β-treated mesenchymal stem cells and their efficacy in modulating macrophage function.

Regulation of MHC I Antigen Processing and Presentation. MHC I molecules present intracellular peptides to CD8 T cells to initiate cell-mediated immune responses. This mechanism must be tightly regulated to allow for normal immune surveillance of tissues without causing excessive inflammation. Transforming growth factor-β is well established as a critical regulator of MHC I expression, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. In order to develop novel therapeutics to target this mechanism during disease, we are investigating the molecular pathways by which TGF-β controls MHC I expression and the generation of peptides for MHC I binding.


Find a full list of publications on Google Scholar.

  1. Berglund AK*, Hinson AL, Schnabel LV. TGF-β downregulates genes associated with antigen processing and presentation and MHC I surface expression through a Smad3-dependent mechanism. Preprint. BioRXiv. 2023 Feb. doi:
  2. Koch DW, Schnabel LV, Ellis IM, Bates RE, Berglund AK*. TGF-β2 enhances tendon healing-associated paracrine factors in equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Sept;13:477. PubMed PMID: 36114555; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9482193. 
  3. Berglund AK, Long JM, Robertson JB, Schnabel LV. TGF-β2 reduces the cell-mediated cytotoxicity of MHC-mismatched equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells without altering immunomodulatory properties. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Feb 4; 9:628382. PubMed PMID: 33614658; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7889809.
  4. Berglund AK*, Fortier LA, Antczak DF, Schnabel LV. Immune privileged no more: measuring the immunogenicity of allogeneic adult mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017 Dec 22;8(1):288. PubMed PMID: 29273086; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5741939.
  5. Berglund AK and Schnabel LV. Allogeneic MHC-mismatched equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells are targeted for death by cytotoxic anti-MHC antibodies. Equine Vet J. 2017 Jul;49(4):539-544. PubMed PMID: 27862236; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5425313.
  6. Berglund AK, Fisher MB, Cameron KA, Poole EJ, Schnabel LV. TGF-β2 downregulates MHC I and MHC II surface expression on equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells without altering phenotype. Front Vet Sci. 2017 Jun 12;4:84. PubMed PMID:28660198; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5466990.

Active Grants

1. Manipulation of MHC expression using TGF-beta to reduce mesenchymal stem cell immunity

  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health
  • Type: K01
  • Role: Principal Investigator