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 animal host and how this may lead to disease.
I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology 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 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. This was a rewarding and extremely interesting time of my career. I then came back to SLU and has since then stayed and been involved in research on the biology of viruses. 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 27 PhD students (12 as main supervisor), four on-going with 2 as main supervisor. I was board member of the Swedish Society for Virology from 2015 to 2021 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 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 with me as principal responsible project leader, are with Addis Ababa University of Ethiopia, University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania and University of São Paulo, Brazil. A recent interest is to study the viral flora in Swedish bats, and we find many (Cholleti et al. 2022 and 2023). Currently, we try to understand what role these viruses have in bats, and the risk of transmission to other species.
I am teaching Virology at various programmes at SLU, the main one being “Allmän sjukdomslära” within the veterinary programme and Microbiology for Animal care takers program at SLU. I also teach during other courses during the vet-programme, such as the candidate program and the major degree project. I am also actively participating in a Sida bilateral programme in Tanzania involving both teaching in virology and supervision of PhD students. Phase two of this program is soon to be launched.
Current ongoing research projects:
Current ongoing major research projects that I actively take part in:
Improving animal and human health via identification and characterization of diarrhoeal pathogens in ruminants in Ethiopia-Swedish Research Council sponsored from 2022-2025.
Molecular Characterization of Rotavirus and coronavirus and Viral Metagenomic Analysis of Calf and Human Diarrhea in Central Ethiopia. Sida sponsored five year project. Prolonged to 2024.
Sustainable intensification of Zambian goat production in a changing world. Formas sponsored from 2023-2025.
Determination of host factors restricting bunyavirus replication in mosquitoes. Formas sponsored from 2022-2024.
Determination of the viral flora in Swedish bats. Sponsored by Section funds.
Publikationer i urval
I have to date published ca 150 in peer review scientific journals, nine popular science articles, seven chapters in Books and one full Book.
Brandão, PE, Hora, AS., Silva, SOS., Taniwaki, SA., Berg M. (2020) Extinction and emergence of genomic haplotypes during the evolution of Avian coronavirus in chicken embryos. Genetics and Molecular Biology 43, 2. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4685-gmb-2019-0064
Blomström, AL, Luz, HR, Öhlund, P., Lukenge, M, Brandão, PE, Labruna MB and Berg M. (2020) Novel viruses found in Antricola ticks in bat caves in the western Amazonia of Brazil. Viruses 2020, 12(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010048
Beserra, LAR., Barbosa, CM, Berg, M., Brandão, PE., Soares, RM, Gregori, F. (2020) Genome constellations of Rotavirus A isolated from avian species in Brazil, 2008-2015. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology https://doi.org/10.1007/s42770-020-00259-4.
Metreveli, G., Berg, M and Blomström AL (2020). The complete coding region of a pasivirus found in Swedish pigs. Microbiology Resource Announcements. DOI: 10.1128/MRA.00747-20.
Damian, D., Maghembe, R., Nkungu, M., Johansson Wensman, J., and Berg M. (2020) Application of viral metagenomics for study of emerging and re-emerging tick-borne viruses. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2019.2579.
Torsson, E., Kgotlele, T., Misinzo, G., Johansson Wensman, J., Berg, M., and Karlsson Lindsjö O. (2020) Field-adapted full genome sequencing of peste-des-petits-ruminants virus using Nanopore sequencing. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, section Veterinary Infectious Diseases. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.542724
Damian, D., Nkungu, M., Wensman, JJ., Berg M. (2020) Diversity of viruses in hard ticks (Ixodidae) from select areas of a wildlife-livestock interface ecosystem at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. American Journal of BioScience 8 (6): 150-157. Doi:10.11648/j.ajbio.20200806.12
Damian, D., Nkungu, M., Wensman, JJ., Berg M. (2021) Genetic relationship of hard ticks (Ixodidae) infesting cattle from select areas of wildlife-livestock interface ecosystem at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Vector-Borne and zoonotic diseases 21; 3, 191-199. DOI:10.1089/vbz.2020.2706
Damian, D., Nkungu, M., Wensman, JJ., Berg M. (2021) Molecular Diversity of Hard Tick Species from Selected Areas of a Wildlife-Livestock Interface Ecosystem at Mikumi National Park, Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Veterinary Sciences 8, 36 https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8030036
Lysholm, S., Lindahl, J., Munyeme, M., Misinzo, G., Mathew, C., Alvåsen, K., Dautu, G., Linde, S., Mitternacht, L., Olovsson, E., Wilén, E., Berg, M., Johansson Wensman, J. (2022) Crossing the line: Seroprevalence and risk factors for animal diseases along the Tanzania-Zambia border. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, section Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2022.809128.
Brandão, PE, Berg, M, Oliveira de Souza Silva, S., Akemi Taniwaki S (2022) Emergence of Avian coronavirus escape mutants under suboptimal antibody titers. Journal of Molecular Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-022-10050-8.
Cholleti, H., Vaga, M., Jansson, A., Blomström, AL., and Berg, M. (2022) House crickets (Othroptera: Gryllidae: Acheta domesticus) reared in small-scale laboratory conditions harbour limited viral flora. Journal of Insects as food and feed. https://doi.org/10.3920/JIFF2021.0129
Lindgren, Y., Banihashem, F., Berg, M., Eriksson, H., Zohari, S. and Jansson DS (2022) Gizzard erosions in broiler chickens in Sweden caused by fowl adenovirus serotype 1 (FAdV-1): investigation of outbreaks, including whole-genome sequencing of an isolate. Avian Pathology https://doi.org/10.1080/03079457.2022.2048631
Brandão, PE, Berg, M, Leite, BA., Oliveira de Souza Silva, S., Akemi Taniwaki S (2022) The order of events on Avian coronavirus life cycle shapes the order of quasispecies evolution during host switches. Genetics and Molecular Biology 45, 2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4685-GMB-2022-0034.
Cholleti, H, de Jong, J., Blomström, AL and Berg, M (2022) Characterization of Pipistrellus pygmaeus bat virome from Sweden. Viruses 2022, 14, 1654. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14081654.
Cholleti, H, de Jong, J., Blomström, AL and Berg, M (2023) Investigation of the virome and characterization of Issyk-Kul virus from Swedish Myotis brandtii bats. Pathogens 2023, 13,12. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12010012