I am particularly interested in the rust fungi and their interaction with the host plants. I did my PhD on the population genetics of the willow leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-epitea.
I am currently working on identifying rust resistance genes in willow by QTL-mapping in the project “High and sustainable biomass production of Salix: bridging molecular genetics, ecophysiology and plant breeding”. The aim of the project is to develop molecular markers that can be used in marker assisted breeding of willow. You can read more about the project on the SAMBA (Salix Molecular Breeding Activities) homepage.
I am also working on the population biology of the Scots pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium flaccidum/Peridermium pini. Epidemics of blister rust are currently causing serious damage in young pine forests in northern Sweden. By use of molecular markers we analyze the genetic composition of the fungal populations and learn about the spreading pattern of the disease.
Articles in international journals and book chapters
Bila J, Mondjana A, Samils B and Högberg N (2014) High diversity, expanding populations and purifying selection in phytoplasmas causing coconut lethal yellowing in Mozambique. Plant Pathology (early view) doi: 10.1111/ppa.12306.
Berlin A, Samils B, Djurle A, Wirsén H, Szabo L and Yuen J (2013) Disease development and genotypic diversity of Puccinia graminis f. sp. avenae in Swedish oat fields. Plant Pathology 62: 32–40.
Berlin A, Djurle A, Samils B and Yuen J (2012) Genetic variation in Puccinia graminis collected from oats, rye and barberry. Phytopathology 102: 1006-1012.
Kaitera J, Hiltunen R and Samils B (2012) Alternate host ranges of Cronartium flaccidum and C. ribicola in northern Europe. Botany 90: 694-703.
Samils B, Rönnberg-Wästljung AR and Stenlid J (2011) QTL mapping of resistance to leaf rust in Salix. Tree Genetics & Genomes 7: 1219-1235.
Samils B, Ihrmark K, Kaitera J, Stenlid J and Barklund P (2011) New genetic markers for identifying Cronartium flaccidum and Peridermium pini and examining genetic variation within and between lesions of Scots pine blister rust in Sweden. Fungal Biology 115: 1303-1311.
Rönnberg-Wästljung AR, Samils B, Tsarouhas V and Gullberg U (2008) Resistance to Melampsora larici-epitea leaf rust in Salix: analyses of quantitative trait loci. Journal of Applied genetics 49: 321-331.
Samils B (2005) Genetic structure of Melampsora larici-epitea populations in northwestern Europe. In: Pei MH and McCracken AR (eds) Rusts on Willow and Poplar. CABI.
Samils B, McCracken AR, Dawson WM and U. Gullberg U (2003) Host specific genetic composition of Melampsora larici-epitea populations on two Salix viminalis varieties in a mixture trial. European Journal of Plant Pathology 109: 183-190.
Samils B, Lagercrantz U and Gullberg U (2002) Genetic relationships among genetically distinct forms of Melampsora larici-epitea and related species based on AFLP data. Forest Pathology 32: 379-386.
Samils B, Stepien V, Lagercrantz U, Lascoux M, Gullberg U (2001) Genetic diversity in relation to sexual and asexual reproduction in populations of Melampsora larici-epitea. European Journal of Plant Pathology 107: 871-881.
Samils B, Lagercrantz U, Lascoux M and Gullberg U (2001) Genetic structure of Melampsora epitea populations in Swedish Salix viminalis plantations. European Journal of Plant Pathology 107: 399-409.
Popular science article
Samils B (2001) Population genetic structure of Melampsora larici-epitea, a willow leaf rust fungus. Doctoral thesis. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, Agraria 292. SLU Service/Repro, Uppsala, Sweden. ISSN 1401-6249.