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Kajsa Himmelstrand

My background is in biotechnology and molecular biology. In my PhD-projects I work most of my time in front of the computer with bioinformatics.


The projects I work with all involve the fungal species complex of Heterobasidion annosum s.l. These species are pathogens on a variety of conifer trees. There are several interesting sequencing projects going on with the Heterobasidion species and I am involved in the analysis of a lot of sequence data. The goal is to get a better understanding partly of fundamental evolutionary questions and partly of what genes that H. annosum s.l. are dependent on in order to be an effective pathogen in conifers.

Main projects

  • Characterization of the North American P (Heterobasidion irregulare, isolate TC32-1) mitochondrial genome
  • A polymorphic study of the mitochondrial genomes of 24 isolates in the European P (H. annosum s.s.) species
  • A genome-wide association study of virulence in Heterobasidion annosum s.s.
  • A comparative study of the mitochondrial genomes of the different Heterobasidion species

  • Jan Stenlid
  • Åke Olson
  • Mikael Brandström Durling
  • Magnus Karlsson

Selected publications

Kajsa Himmelstrand, Åke Olson, Mikael Brandström Durling, Magnus Karlsson and Jan Stenlid. "Intronic and plasmid-derived regions contribute to the large mitochondrial genome sizes of Agaricomycetes" Current Genetics 1-11 (July 2014).

Dalman, Kerstin, Kajsa Himmelstrand, Ake Olson, Marten Lind, Mikael Brandstrom-Durling, and Jan Stenlid. “A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Genomic Regions for Virulence in the Non-Model Organism Heterobasidion Annosum S.s.” Plos One 8, no. 1 (January 16, 2013): e53525.

Hansson, David, Audrius Menkis, Kajsa Himmelstrand, Mattias Thelander, Ake Olson, Jan Stenlid, Magnus Karlsson, and Anders Broberg. “Sesquiterpenes from the Conifer Root Rot Pathogen Heterobasidion Occidentale.” Phytochemistry 82 (October 2012): 158–165.

Olson, Ake, Andrea Aerts, Fred Asiegbu, Lassaad Belbahri, Ourdia Bouzid, Anders Broberg, Björn Canbäck, et al. “Insight into Trade-off between Wood Decay and Parasitism from the Genome of a Fungal Forest Pathogen.” The New Phytologist 194, no. 4 (June 2012).