CV page

Larisa Gustavsson

Larisa Gustavsson
My name is Larisa Gustavsson. I am a senior scientist (Associate professor) at the division of the Plant Product Quality (PPQ), Department of Plant Breeding. The main focus of my research is understanding the genetic diversity mainly in horticultural crops as well as genetic dissection of disease resistance in apple. Important aspects are understanding of genomic mosaics of Swedish and Nordic genetic resources and genetic dissection of agronomically important traits as well as development of molecular tools with the aim of making breeding process more efficient.


I am holding a permanent position as a researcher (Associate professor) at the Department of Plant Breeding, Faculty of Landscape Planning, Horticulture and Crop Production Sciences, SLU in Alnarp. I am leading research on resistance to European canker in apple in Sweden and Scandinavia. To come to a better understanding of N. ditissima/apple interaction I adopted an integrated approach, investigating both, the host and the pathogen. Together with a PhD student and Post-docs we are penetrating into molecular mechanisms of host resistance and pathogen virulence through genetic mapping, transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics approaches. 

Another important aspect of my research is deep understanding of apple genetic resources in Sweden and other Nordic countries with the aim to utilize them in breeding in more efficient way, especially since there is a wish to expand commercial apple growing in Sweden to new (more Northern) geographic areas and new uses (must and cider). Together with a PhD student and a Post-doc we are analysing apple germplasm with high-density molecular markers to get an overview over genomic mosaics both, within the preserved germplasm (mostly old and locally adapted cultivars) and germplasm constituting the Swedish breeding program. We are aiming to widen the genetic pool of the Swedish breeding program to serve new tasks.

A strength are bi-lateral collaborations with WUR (NL), Pennsilvanian State University (USA) and taking part in several international projects and initiatives, like Nordic Public-Privat partnership project 'NordFruit', EU Horizon-2020 project 'VALDIFRUIT' (application under review). 



Pedagogic experience:

A teacher at several cources:

- ‘Introductory course for PhD students’ (2010-2012, 2014-2019)
- ‘How to write and publish a scientific paper’ (2010, 2012, 2014)
- ‘Genetic resources and plant breeding’ (2011-2012, 2014-2018)
- ‘Genetik och växtförädling’ (2016-2019)
NOVA PhD course ‘Breeding for Disease and Pest Resistance in Crop Plants’, 2013, Norway
NOVA PhD course ‘Genomics for Plant Breeding’, 2014, Finland
ELLS summer school, 2015, Alnarp, Sweden
FAO courses on Genetic resources in Moldova (2017) and Belarus (2018)


Supervision of PhD students

Main supervisor: Jonas Skytte av Sätra (since November 2018)

Co-supervisor: C. Mujaju (November 2011), S. Hegay (June 2013), B. Usubaliev (May  2014), L. Crespo (September 2014), M. Ghasemkhani (September 2015), Firuz Odilbekov (October 2015), Y. Lv (February 2016), B. Husenov (November 2017)

Presently –  PhD student: M. Makhkamov

Supervision of MSc students

Co-supervisor: M. Rahmatov, February, 2012.

                         M. Makhkamov, November, 2012

                         A. Alfonso, March, 2013

Main supervisor: M. Elsafy, September, 2012

Supervision of BSc students

Main supervisor: J. Lundmark, June, 2019

Post-doctoral fellows

Kerstin Dalman, Department of Molecular Sciences, SLU, Uppsala (ongoing)

Henrik Hällingbäck, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU, Uppsala (2015-2016)

Firuz Odilbekov, Department of Plant Breeding, SLU, Alnarp (ongoing)

Hosted visiting students

Elnura Torutaeva, Kyrgyzstan, 2012-2014

Rim Ouni, Tunisia, 2013-2015

Rudo Musango, Zimbabwe, 2014

Mirela Kajkut, Bosnia i Hercegovina, 2017

Selected publications

1.     Ghasemkhani M., Holefors A., Marttila S., Dalman K., Zborowska A., Rur M., Rees-George J., Nybom H., Everett K., Scheper R., Garkava-Gustavsson L. (2016) Real-time PCR for detection and quantification, and histological characterization of Neonectria ditissima in apple trees. Trees 30: 1111-1125

2.     Urrestarazu J., Denancé C., Ravon E., Guyader A., Guisnel R., Feugey L., Poncet C., Lateur M., Houben P., Ordidge M., Fernandez-Fernandez F., Evans K.M., Paprstein F., Sedlak J., Nybom H., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Miranda C., Gassmann J., Kellerhals M., Suprun I., Pikunova A.V., Krasova N.G., Torutaeva E., Dondini L., Tartarini S., Laurens F., Durel CE. (2016) Analysis of the genetic diversity and structure across a wide range of germplasm reveals prominent gene flow in apple at the European level. BMC Plant Biol. 16(1):130. DOI: 10.1186/s12870-016-0818-0
3.     Ghasemkhani M., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Liljeroth E., Nybom H. (2016) Assessment of diversity and genetic relationships of Neonectria ditissima: the causal agent of fruit tree canker. Hereditas 153: 7 DOI: 10.1186/s41065-016-0011-3
4.   Di Pierro E.A., Gianfranceschi L., Kruisselbrink J.W., Bianco L., Troggio M., Bink M.C.A.M., Voorrips R.E., Di Guardo M., Koehorst-van Putten H.J.J., Aziz E., Tartarini S., Pagliarani G., Muranty H., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Longhi S., Micheletti D., Velasco R., Laurens F., van de Weg E. (2016) A high-density, multi-parental, integrated SNP linkage map of the obliged outcrossing species Malus × domestica (Borkh), through a novel mapping approach. Horticulture research 3: 16057 DOI: 10.1038/hortres.2016.57
5.     Odilbekov F., Edin E., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Persson Hovmalm H., Liljeroth E. (2016) Genetic diversity and occurence of the F129L substitutions among isolates of Alternaria solani in south-eastern Sweden. Hereditas 153:10. DOI: 10.1186/s41065-016-0014-0

6.     Husenov B., Asaad S., Muminjanov H., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Yorgancillar A., Johansson E. (2017) Evaluation and managing wheat seed-borne diseases: options and suggestions from the case of Tajikistan. Cereal Res Communications (online first)

DOI: 10.1556/0806.44.2016.045

7.     Crespo-Herera L.A., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Åhman I. (2017) A systematic review of rye (Secale cereale L.) as a source of resistance to pathogens and pests in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Hereditas 154: 14. DOI 10.1186/s41065-017-0033-5

8.     Urrestarazu J., Muranty H., Denancé C., Leforestier D., Ravon E., Guyader A., Guisnel R., Feugey L., Aubourg S., Celton J.-M., Daccord N., Dondini L., Gregori R., Lateur M., Houben P., Ordidge M., Paprstein F., Sedlak J., Nybom H., Garkava-Gustavsson L., Troggio M., Bianco L., Velasco R., Poncet C., Théron A., Moriya S., Bink M.C.A.M., Laurens F., Tartarini S., Durel C.-E. (2017) Genome-wide association mapping of flowering and ripening periods in apple. Frontiers in Plant Science 8:1923. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01923

9.     Mujaju C., Musango R., Garkava-Gustavsson L. 2018. Molecular Characterisation Reveals the Existence of a Hybridogenous Intermediary Form between Sweet Watermelon and Cow Melon Forms of Watermelon. American Journal of Plant Sciences 9: 1245-1259.





Researcher at the Department of Plant Breeding
Telephone: +4640415163, +46702858114
Postal address:
Växtförädling, Box 190
234 22 LOMMA
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 10, Alnarp