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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.


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 science of viral metagenomics opens a completely new path and good possibilities to solve these problems.


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


Currently my research is mainly financed by SciLifeLab Pandemic Preparedness.

Previous projects that I have been the reserach leader of are:

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:

  • 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)

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.
  • Applying vial metagenomics in the field of veterinary medicine.
    • Characterizing ticks and viruses in ticks feeding on cattle in Uganda.


As part of the SARS-CoV2 in sewage project I have regular contacts with media. I'm facility director of SEEC (Swedish Environmental Epidemiology Center) and resposible for communcation and outreach. The SARS-CoV2 levels in sewage is published weekly here.

I work 60% of my time with comminmcation within the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initative (SIANI).

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


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.

In 2020 I became Docent (Associate Professor) in Molecular Infection Biology at SLU.


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

I was main supervisor for PhD student Hedvig Stenberg who worked (2017-2023) in a project about neurotripic viruses in piglets.

I was the co-supervisor of Dr. Stephen Balinandi who defended his thesis in May 2022 on a project about ticks and tick-borne diseases in cattle in Uganda.

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

H Stenberg, S Hellman, L Lindström, M Jacobson, C Fossum, J Hayer, M Malmberg. Congenital tremor and splay leg in piglets–insights into the virome, local cytokine response, and histology. BMC Veterinary Research 18 (1), 1-12 Published online 16th Sep 2022. 

S Balinandi, J Hayer, H Cholleti, M Wille, JJ Lutwama, M Malmberg, L Mugisha. Identification and molecular characterization of highly divergent RNA viruses in cattle, Uganda. Virus Research 313, 198739. May 2022.

Silva M, Malmberg M, Dahlström Otienoburu S, Björkman A, Ngasala B, Mårtensson A, Gil JP, Veiga MI. Plasmodium falciparum Drug Resistance Genes pfmdr1 and pfcrt In Vivo Co-Expression During Artemether-Lumefantrine Therapy. Front Pharmacol. 2022; 13: 868723. 

Balinandi S, Whitmer S, Mulei S, Nyakarahuka L, Tumusiime A, Kyondo J, Baluku J, Mutyaba J, Mugisha L, Malmberg M, Lutwama J, Shoemaker T, Klena J. Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Humans in Uganda, 2013–2019  Am J Trop Med Hyg. Published Online: 18 Oct 2021 

Stenberg H, Leveringhaus E, Malmsten A, Dalin AM, Postel A, Malmberg M. Atypical porcine pestivirus-A widespread virus in the Swedish wild boar population. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2021 Jul 31.

Hayer J, Wille M, Font A, González-Aravena M, Norder H, Malmberg M. Four novel picornaviruses detected in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) in Chile. Virology. 2021 Aug;560:116-123. Epub 2021 May 25.

Balinandi S, von Brömssen C, Tumusiime A, Kyondo J, Kwon H, Monteil VM, Mirazimi A, Lutwama J, Mugisha L, Malmberg M. Serological and molecular study of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus in cattle from selected districts in Uganda. J Virol Methods. 2021 Apr;290:114075. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

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.

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.

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

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.


Researcher at the Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health; Virology Unit
Telephone: +4618672777, +46730575852
Postal address:
BVF, Virologi, Box 7023
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala