I am professor in veterinary virology since 2010 and as such pursuing research and teaching in this subject. My main interest has always been to understand on the molecular level how viruses interact with the host and how this may lead to disease.
I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Uppsala University. I then did my PhD at SLU on so called Negative-sense single-stranded RNA viruses (NSV). In particular, I genetically characterized and studied the genetic variation of a number of different NSVs. After a few years I went to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), New York, USA, as post-doc for about two and a half years. At CSHL I studied tumour viruses and in particular the interaction of the papilloma virus replication proteins E1 and E2 on the origin of replication. The overall scope was to understand this interaction in detail to be able to develop therapeutic drugs for these cancer-causing viruses. I then came back to SLU and has since then stayed and been involved in research on the biology of viruses as Researcher. In 1997 I became Associate professor (docent), and in 2010 professor in Virology, with special focus on molecular virology, and in the same year Professor in Veterinary Virology. I have supervised 20 PhD students (9 as main supervisor), ten on-going with 4 as main supervisor. I am board member of the Swedish Society for Virology since 2015 representing veterinary virology.
The current projects concern major viral diseases of importance for animal health including vector borne viral diseases. The research group at the Section of Virology is using deep sequencing technology and other molecular biology techniques to study viruses and their diseases in depth. Many of the diseases we study are so called Transboundary Animal Diseases and therefore we have many national and international collaborators to be able to study them in the field. In particular, on-going projects are with Makerere University, Uganda, Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique, University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania and University of São Paulo, Brazil.
I am teaching Virology at various programmes at SLU, the main one being “Allmän sjukdomslära” within the veterinary programme. I also teach during other courses during the vet-programme, such as the candidate program and the major degree project. The other SLU-programmes I teach Virology at are the Ethology and animal welfare programme and Animal caretaker programme. I also teach at a Master programme in Infection biology at Uppsala University and SLU. I am also actively participating in a Sida bilateral programme in Tanzania involving both teaching in virology and supervision of PhD students.
Current ongoing research projects:
Current ongoing major research projects that I actively take part in:
VR-UForsk: Metagenomics investigation to assess anthropogenic impact on West Indian Ocean coral reefs. An indicator of coral reef health
Formas: Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV)-Tracing sources and transmission pathways between herds to develop adapted biosecurity measures for the development of a sustainable BRSV control program
Formas: Variation of microbiota: effects on disease and mortality in Swedish dairy calfs
Formas: Neutropic viruses in pigs and their role in congenital tremours
VR-UForsk: Crossing the line – Tracking transboundary diseases in small ruminants at farms and markets along the Tanzania-Zambia border
VR-UForsk: An interdisciplinary approach addressing tick-borne diseases in Ugandan indigenous cattle
Publikationer i urval
I have to date published ca 120 in peer review scientific journals, nine popular science articles, six chapters in Books and one full Book.
Karlsson, OE, Hansen, T., Knutsson, R., Löfström, C., Granberg, F., and Berg, M. (2013) Metagenomic detection methods within biopreparedness outbreak scenarios. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 11 Supplement 1 146-157.
Munir, M., Zohari, S., Abbas, M., Iqbal, M., Roberto Perez D., Berg, M. (2013) The non-structural (NS) gene segment of H9N2 influenza virus isolated from backyard poultry in Pakistan reveals strong genetic and functional similarities to the NS gene of highly pathogenic H5N1. Virulence 4:7, 1-12.
Johansson Wensman, J., Munir, M., Thaduri, S., Hörnaeus, K., Rizwan, M., Blomström, A-L., Briese, T., Lipkin, W.I., Berg M. (2013) The X proteins of Bornaviruses interfere with type I interferon signalling. Journal of General Virology 94, 263-269.
Munir, M., Shabbir, M. Z, Yaqub, T., Shabbir, M. A. B., Khan M. R. and Berg M. (2012) Complete Genome Sequencing of a Velogenic Neurotropic Avian Paramyxovirus 1 Isolated from Peacocks (Pavo cristatus) in a Wildlife Park in Pakistan. Journal of Virology 86, 13113-13114.
Blomström, AL., Stenberg, H., Scharin, I., Figueiredo, J., Nhambirre, O., Abilio, AP., Fafetine J., and Berg, M. (2014) Serological screening suggests presence of Schmallenberg virus in cattle, sheep and goat in the Zambezia province, Mozambique. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 61, 289-92.
Munir, M., Saeed, A., Abubakar, M., Kanwal, S., Berg, M. (2015) Molecular characterization of peste des petits ruminants viruses from outbreaks caused by unrestricted movements of small ruminants. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 62, 108-114.
Cuevas-Romero, S., Rivera-Benitez, JF., Blomström, AL., Ramliden, M., Hernández-Baumgarten, E., Hernández-Jáuregui, P., Ramírez-Mendoza, H., Berg, M. (2016) Molecular characterisation of Porcine rubulavirus (PorPV) isolates from different outbreaks in Mexico. Virus Genes 52, 81-90.
Cholleti, H., Hayer, J., Abilio, AP., Chenisso Mulandane, F., Verner-Carlsson, J., Falk, K., Fafetine, JM., Berg, M. and Blomström, A-L. (2016) Discovery of Novel Viruses in Mosquitoes from the Zambezi Valley of Mozambique. PLoS ONE 11(9):e0162751. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162751.
Blomström, AL., Fossum, C., Wallgren, P., and Berg, M. (2016) Viral metagenomic analysis displays the co-infection situation in healthy and PMWS affected pigs. PLoS ONE 11(12):e0166863. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166863.