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Maja Malmberg

Maja Malmberg
I'm fascinated by infectious diseases, in particular the agents causing the diseases and their interactions with the surrounding microorganisms. The overall aim of my research is to address questions in infection biology using high-throughput sequencing technologies.

Presentation

Infectious diseases constitute one of the most important present and future challenges for human and animal health. A wide range of new and/or so far "unknown" infectious diseases has emerged during the recent years and more are predicted to threaten animal and humans. Many of these infectious diseases may be appearing from hitherto unknown microorganisms.

Considering this global problem, there is an urgent need to develop powerful novel methods, which are able to trace down new infectious agents and study the complex nature of several microorganisms acting together to cause a disease. The novel science of viral metagenomics opens a completely new path and good possibilities to solve the above listed problems.

Teaching

I teach veterinary students and I organize a course in "Molecular Infection Biology" for PhD students.

Research

I'm the research leader of three on-going projects:

1. Sewage as a proxy for SARS-CoV2 prevalence), funded by SciLifeLab/KAW national COVID-19 research program project grant.

2. Neurotropic viruses in pigs: the role in congenital disease funded by FORMAS (ID: 2016-00979)

3. An interdisciplinary approach addressing tick-borne diseases in Ugandan indigenous cattle funded by Swedish Research Council (VR) (ID: 2016-05705)

I'm also involed in:

  • A One Health approach to strengthening capcities for detection of emerging zoonoses in Asian wildlife and people - funded by Swedish Research Council with Åsa Fahlman as research leader (ID: 2017-05479)
  • Variation of microbiota - effects on disease and mortality in Swedish dairy calves - funded by FORMAS with Jonas Johansson Wensman as research leader (ID: 2016-00666)

I work in close collaboration with the bioinformatician Dr. Juliette Hayer at the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics (HGEN). Currently I'm involved in several projects in the areas of infection biology, next-generation sequencing and method development.

For example:

  • Developmet of methods for using sewage for disease surveillance.
  • Development of methods for improved sample preparation for vial metagenomics studies.
    • Evaluation of pre-processing protocols
  • Applying vial metagenomics in the field of veterinary medicine.
    • Determine the differences in the genetic composition of feline coronaviruses in cats diagnosed with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) compared to healthy coronavirus infected cats
    • Elucidating the role of known and possibly previously unknown viruses and bacteria within the Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (also called kennel cough)
    • Characterizing the microbiome of Magellanic penguins.

I'm part of the SLU Global Bioinformatics Center at the Department of Animal Breeding and genetics (HGEN) and I'm a member of the OIE Collaborating Center for the Biotechnology-based Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases in Veterinary Medicine (OIE CC Uppsala).

Cooperation

I participated as a speaker in the outreach event Soapbox Science in Umeå 2018, and was initiatior of the same event in Uppsala 2019.

 

Background

I did my undergraduate studies in engineer in biotechnology with focus on medical biotechnology (MSc), at Umeå University in Sweden.

During my PhD at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, I studied the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, causative agent of malaria. More specifically my work was about developing improved methods to stud drug resistance development and identifying molecular markers associated with tolerance/resistance towards artemether-lumefantrine, the currently most used drug for treatment of malaria. The title of my thesis was: The role of molecular markers in emerging artemether-lumefantrine resistant Plasmodium falciparum.

I defended my thesis in January 2013. Thereafter I went as a guest researcher to Nagasaki University, Japan, to work on a project in drug resistance in Leishmania, a protozoan parasite that causes the disease Leishmaniasis. 

Between August 2013 and August 2015, I did my postdoc at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in the FORMAS project "Viral Metagenomics and Bioinformatics as powerful novel tools in veterinary infection biology" (221-2012-586). Since August 2015 I'm a researcher at the section of virology at SLU.

Supervision

Currently I supervise three PhD student and on a regular basis I supervise Bachelor and Master student.

Hedvig Stenberg is working as a PhD studnet in a project about neurotripic viruses in piglets.

Stephen Balinandi is working as a PhD student in a project about ticks and tick-borne diseases in cattle in Uganda.

Recently, I have supervised two Bachelor thesis about the Feminisation of the Veterinary profession.

Wlosinska, Julia, 2019. Feminiseringen av veterinäryrket ur ett svenskt perspektiv. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health

Gullberg, Vendela, 2019. Feminiseringen av veterinäryrket ur ett internationellt perspektiv : processer och olika förklaringsmodeller. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health

Selected publications

Balinandi S, Chitimia-Dobler L, Giulio G, Nakayiki T, Kabasa W, Bbira J, Lutwama JJ, Mugisha L, Malmberg MMorphological and molecular identification of ixodid tick species (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cattle in Uganda. Parasitology Research 13th June 2020.

Stenberg H, Jacobsson M, Malmberg MDetection of Atypical porcine pestivirus in Swedish pigs with congenital tremor type A-II.  BMC Veterinary Research. Jul 2020.

Wille M, Wensman JJ, Larsson S, van Damme R, Theelke A-K, Hayer J, Malmberg M. Evolutionary genetics of canine respiratory coronavirus and recent introduction into Swedish dogs. 20th Mar 2020, Inf. Gene. Evol.

Torresi C, Fiori M, Bertolotti L, Floris M, Colitti B, Giammarioli M, Giudici SD, Oggiano A, Malmberg M, Gian Mario De Mia, Belák S, Granberg F. The evolution of African swine fever virus in Sardinia (1978 to 2014) as revealed by whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis. 2020 Mar 12. Transbound. Emerg. Dis.

Senanayake KS, Söderberg J, Põlajev A, Malmberg M, Karunanayake EH, Tennekoon KH, Samarakoon SR, Bongcam-Rudloff E, Niazi A. The genome of Setaria digitata, a cattle nematode closely related to human filarial parasites. 2020 Feb 1;12(2):3971-3976. Genome Biology and Evolution.

Mwaiswelo R, Ngasala B, Jovel I, Xu W, Larson E, Malmberg M, Gil JP, Premji Z, Mmbando BP, Mårtensson A. Prevalence of and risk factors associated with PCR-determined Plasmodium falciparum positivity on day 3 after initiation of artemether-lumefantrine treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Bagamoyo district, Tanzania. 2019 May;100(5):1179-1186. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.

Balinandi S, Mugisha L, Johnson B, William K, Teddy K, Bakkes DK, Lutwama JJ, Chitimia-Dobler L, Malmberg M. General and local morphological anomalies in Amblyomma lepidum and Rhipicephalus decoloratus (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cattle in Uganda. 2018 Dec 21. Journal of Medical Entomology.

Cárdenas CA, González-Aravena M, Font A, Hestetun JT, Hajdu E, Trefault E, Malmberg M, Bongcam-Rudloff E. High similarity in the microbiota of cold-water sponges of the Genus Mycale from two different geographical areas. PeerJ. 2018 Jun 7;6:e4935.

Malmberg M, Rubio-Guerri C, Hayer J, García-Párraga D, Nieto-Pelegrín E, Melero M, Álvaro T, Valls M, Sánchez-Vizcaíno JM, Belák S, Granberg F. Phylogenomic analysis of the complete sequence of a gastroenteritis-associated cetacean adenovirus (bottlenose dolphin adenovirus 1) reveals a high degree of genetic divergence. Infection Genetics and Evolution. 2017 Sep;53:47-55

Mwaiswelo R, Ngasala1 B, Gil PG, Malmberg M, Jovel I, Xu W, Premji Z, Mmbando BP, Björkman A, Mårtensson A. Sustained high cure rate of artemether-lumefantrine against uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria after 8 years of its wide-scale use in Bagamoyo District, Tanzania. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 2017 Aug;97(2):526-532

Malmberg M, Ferreira PE, Tarning J, Ursing J, Ngasala B, Björkman A, Mårtensson A, Gil JP. Plasmodium falciparum drug resistance phenotype as assessed by patient antimalarial drug levels and its association with pfmdr1 polymorphisms. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2013 Mar 1;207(5):842-7.


Contact
Researcher at the Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health; Virology Unit
Telephone: +4618672777, +46730575852
Postal address:
BVF, Virologi, Box 7028
75007 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala