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Anna Nilsson

Anna Nilsson
I am a part of the honeybee research group with a focus on honeybee bacteria. I am also the manager of the Swedish national reference laboratory of honeybee health.


I have been a part of the Honeybee Research Group at SLU since 2019 and my main focus is on honeybee bacteria. I am both interested in the bacteria that causes diseases in honeybees  and the non-pathogenic bacteria that are a part of the honeybee microbiome. I am interested in variations in virulence between different strains of a pathogenic bacteria, how a fastidious bacteria can survive under harsh conditions in the environment  and how the microbiome can affect or be affected by pathogenic bacteria and how that affects honeybee's health and susceptibility to diseases.


I have a background in clinical microbiology and did my thesis on ”Characterisation of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli water isolates” at Uppsala University and Akademiska Sjukhuset. Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in Sweden and EU, and is spread via undercooked chicken and water. I was interested in understanding how a bacteria that is considered to be so sensitive and demanding (needs special atmosphere, temperature and nutrients to survive and grow) can survive in water long enough to cause large disease outbreaks. To find out how that works I analysed isolates found in samples from natural waters in Sweden to see if there are Campuylobacter strains that are more adapted for environmental survival and to see if the virulence varies between strains. For this I used  whole genome sequencing and genome comparisons,  phenotypical tests and survival experiments to test how they are adapted for environmental survival and in vitro infections to test their ability to infect a human cell line and to measure the expression of virulence genes. 

Selected publications

Nilsson, A., D’Alvise, P., Milbrath, M.O., Forsgren, E. 2024. Lactic acid bacteria in Swedish honey bees during outbreaks of American foulbrood. Ecology and Evolution 14.

Ribeiro, H.G., Nilsson, A., Melo, L.D.R., Oliveira, A., 2022. Analysis of intact prophages in genomes of Paenibacillus larvae: An important pathogen for bees. Frontiers in Microbiology 13. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2022.903861

Kiriamburi, J., Muturi, J., Mugweru, J., Forsgren, E., Nilsson, A., 2022. Short Communication: Efficacy of Two Commercial Disinfectants on Paenibacillus larvae Spores. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 9. doi:10.3389/fvets.2022.884425

de Oliveira., Nilsson, A., Hyeyoung, K., Hallgren, G., Frössling, J., Kristiansen, L., Forsgren, E. (2021). Honey bee pathogens and parasites in Swedish apiaries: a baseline study. Journal of Apicultural Research. Published online: 13 Apr 2021

Johansson, C., Kampmann, C., Nilsson, A., Dicksved, J., Engstrand, L., Rautelin H. (2021). Genomic and Phenotypic Characteristics in Geographically Separated Clinical Campylobacter jejuni ST353CC Isolates. Microorganisms 9, 2540 (2021)

Jagadish, A., Khajje, D., Tony, M., Nilsson, A., de Miranda, J., Terenius, O., Dubey, H., Mishra, R., Ponnuvel, K. (2021). Development and optimization of a TaqMan assay for Nosema bombycis, causative agent of pébrine disease in Bombyx mori silkworm, based on the β-tubulin gene.
J Microbiol Methods. Volume 186. July 2021

Johansson, C., Nilsson, A., Kaden, R., Rautelin, H. (2019). Differences in virulence gene expression between human blood and stool Campylobacter coli clade 1 ST828CC isolates. Gut Pathog. Aug 1;11:42.

Johansson, C., Nilsson, A., Kaden, R., Rautelin, H. (2019). Campylobacter coli Clade 3 Isolates Induce Rapid Cell Death In Vitro. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. Feb 20;85(5): e02993-18.

Nilsson, A., Skarp, A., Johansson, C., Kaden, R., Engstrand, L., and Rautelin, H. (2018). Characterization of Swedish Campylobacter coli clade 2 and clade 3 water isolates. MicrobiologyOpen. Aug 1;7(4):e00583

Nilsson, A., Johansson, C., Skarp, A., Kaden, R., Bertilsson, S., Rautelin, H. (2018) Survival of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli water isolates in lake and well water. APMIS. Sep 1;126(9):762‐70.

Nilsson, A., Tervahartiala, T., Lennebratt, D., Lannergård, A., Sorsa, T., Rautelin, H. (2018). Enhanced Systemic Response of Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Regulators in Campylobacter and Salmonella Patients. Diagnostics. Dec 13;8(4):E82

Nilsson, A., Johansson, C., Skarp, A., Kaden, R., Engstrand, L., and Rautelin, H. (2017). Genomic and phenotypic characteristics of Swedish C. jejuni water isolates. PloS One 12, e0189222.


Coordinator at the Department of Ecology; NJ, Agricultural Entomology Unit
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala