CV page

Stina Hellman

Stina Hellman
Researcher with an interest in horses, parasites and immunology


My great interest in animals and nature led me to Uppsala and to the agronomy education at SLU. Along the way, I became curious to learn more about viruses, bacteria and parasites, which culiminated in a master's degree in infection biology at Uppsala University. In October 2021, I received my doctorate from the Department of Biomedicine and Veterinary Public Health at SLU. 


Anthelminthic resistance in equine helminth parasites is becoming an increasing problem. Despite focus on preventive measures, such as pasture management and targeted drug administration, alternative sustainable methods that do not lead to development of anthelminthic resistance are still needed. My research aims to study vaccination against gastro-intestinal parasites as another prophylactic measure. The long-term aim is to formulate a vaccine that protects horses against the large strongyle, Strongylus vulgaris.

In order to develop an effective vaccine, we need to study what type of immune response is necessary to induce immunological memory and how this can be achieved. A large part of the project is therefore to map how the immune response reacts to various vaccine components by measuring specific signalling molecules, so-called cytokines that are important to initiate an immune response. So far in the project, the applicability of a novel adjuvant called “G3”, in combination with different developmental stages of S. vulgaris larvae, has been evaluated to provide basis for future vaccination trials in horses.

In order to study how infectious larvae infect and interact with the intestine, a new cell culture system called "organoids" has been established from stem cells in the horse's small intestine. This cell culture system provide new opportunities to study interactions between S. vulgaris and the horse's immune system in the gut and may in future studies be used for initial screening of vaccine candidates. 



2020-2023: Possible formulation of a vaccine against Strongylus vulgaris

Founding: The Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research  (H-20-47-568)

2019 –2020 Establishment of a new cell culture method - organoids – for immunological studies in the horse's gut

Founding: SLU One Health platform (SLU ua2019.4.2-3814)

2017-2020: Vaccination – an alternative to anthelminthic treatment in the horse?

Founding: The Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research (H-16-47-173)

2016: Cytokine production to map adjuvant effects in the horse

Founding: The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (GFS2015-0140)




International master degree in Infection Biology (MMSc), Uppsala University 2015


Professional degree in Agronomy – Major in Animal Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences 2017



Supervisor: Caroline Fossum

Co-supervisors: Bernt Hjertner, Eva Tydén och Marianne Jensen Waern


Selected publications

Hellman S (2021). Immunological insights into equine responses against Strongylus vulgaris. Ex vivo studies using equine intestinal organoids and blood mononuclear cells. Doctoral Thesis, SLU. eISBN 978-91-7760-826-4.

Hellman S (2021). Generation of equine enteroids and enteroid-derived 2D monolayers that are responsive to microbial mimics. Veterinary Research 52(1):108. DOI: 10.1186/s13567-021-00976-0

Hellman, S., Tydén, E., Hjertner, B., Nilsfors, F., Kefei, H., Morein, B., Fossum, C. 2021.   Cytokine responses to various larval stages of equine strongyles and modulatory effects of the adjuvant G3 in vitro. Parasite Immunology 43(1):e12794. DOI: 10.1111/pim.12794

Hellman, S. Hjertner, B. Morein, B. Fossum, C. 2018. The adjuvant G3 promotes a Th1 polarizing innate immune response in equine PBMC. Vet Res. 22:49. doi: 10.1186/s13567-018-0602-2

Ahlberg, V. Hjertner, B. Wallgren, P. Hellman, S. Lövgren Bengtsson, K. Fossum, C. 2017. Innate immune responses induced by the saponin adjuvant Matrix-M in specific pathogen free pigs.Vet Res 48:30. doi: 10.1186/s13567-017-0437-2



Non employee at the Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health; Division of Immunology
Postal address:
BVF, Enheten för Immunologi, Box 7028
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala