Read about the installation lectures of new professors in Uppsala and Umeå, and about their research.
Brief introduction of the professors that are to be installed in Umeå, and their lectures that are to be held on May 11, 2012.
Domestication of fish
Anders Alanärä’s speciality is aquaculture. One current research area concern salmon hatcheries established to compensate for reproduction losses caused by hydroelectric power plants, where the aim is to produce smolt with better survival after release. Another research area is the environmental effects of fish farming caused by the release of nutrients. An interesting case is fish farming in hydroelectric dams in the mountains of northern Sweden, where nutrient losses rather seem to be an advantage to the ecosystem.
Wildlife, humans and society
Göran Ericsson’s research focuses on natural resources and on how humans use them. He takes an eco-system approach and adds the human dimension to his studies on hunting, fishing, forestry and outdoor recreation. GPS-technology has enabled him to expand his research in the study of human impact on wildlife.
Dynamics of small rodents and their importance in nature
Birger Hörnfeldt’s research has mainly dealt with patterns, causes and impacts of small rodent dynamics. Because of an early engagement in environmental monitoring his research is closely linked to environmental monitoring and assessment. Hörnfeldt focuses on contrasting types of small rodent dynamics and understanding the underlying causes and also the long-term impacts on especially predators, with Tengmalm’s owl as a model species, and on zoonoses.
Forest restoration in theory and practice
The role of forests in preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change is a major interest to Magnus Löf. His research focuses on the early phases of forest stand development, and is related to forest restoration and adaptation of forest management regimes. Reducing damage by ungulates, insects and seed predators on seedlings and saplings is a major concern in his work on afforestation and reforestation, which includes the conversion of Norway spruce plantations to mixed broadleaved-conifer stands through natural and artificial regeneration.
Tracing settlement and vegetation history through peat and lake sediment analysis
Ulf Segerström explores the vegetation development after the last glacial time and with a special interest in the relation between human exploitation of natural resources and the vegetation changes in Northern Sweden during the last 2 000 years. Since humans settled in this region they have used the forests for a multitude of purposes, i.e. cattle grazing and hay-making (and later on also agriculture), and as a resource for timber and charcoal used for metal production and mining. His main research tool is the study of lake sediments and peat layers, where pollen and other remnants represent a biological archive that gives a detailed imprint of the local environment at a given time. Together with researchers from other disciplines he has been able to refine the assessments of the earliest settlements and their impact on the landscape.
A strategic direction for Swedish tree breeding research
Harry Wu´s research is focused on unravelling the genetic basis of important traits in trees. This is achieved through linking variation in a tree population, concerning traits such as growth, form and hardiness, with variation at the DNA level. An important research question for Harry Wu is how such knowledge about genes and gene complexes that influence a certain trait can be used in tree breeding. For this purpose he develops analytical tools and optimal strategies for tree breeding programmes.
Brief introduction of the professors that were installed in Uppsala, and their lectures that were held on March 15 and 16, 2012.
On-farm grown crops instead of imported soy-beans
Jan Bertilsson’s research mainly deals with the possibility to utilise on-farm grown crops as a feed for today’s high-yielding dairy cows. Replacing imported soy-bean products with forage of high nutritive value as well as by-products from the food industry has been a major aim. A future challenge is to maintain high production efficiency without impairing environment and animal welfare.
What does the body to our medicines and vice-versa?
Johan Gabrielsson got his PhD in pharmacokinetics. His research focuses primarily on modelling of pharmacodynamic complexities such as tolerance and rebound effects. A critical tool for optimization of clinical doses in animals and man are biomarkers. Biomarkers function as a substitute for the clinical effect.
Microbes make the world go round
Sara Hallin does research on nitrogen cycling microorgansisms. She studies their ecology and role as regulators of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen leaching from soil. Landscape architecture – history, theory and method Rolf Johansson is an architect and his research concerns the environment creating disciplines, especially landscape architecture, history, theory and method. The planning process, with the elements evaluation and criticism, is an important part of his research.
Epigenetics – making genomes function
Lars Hennig’s research concerns the (epigenetic) mechanisms that decide when, where and how different genes are active in plants. His main interest is how plants interact with the environment. One research area concern the mechanisms involved in vernalization, a process making some plants varieties able to flower (only) after being exposed to a period of low temperatures. He also studies the regulation of defence responses to attacks by pathogens.
Suicide and self-eating: how plants resist pathogen attack
Daniel Hofius´ research interests are related to plant-pathogen interactions and plant innate immunity. His current research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying two important features of disease resistance: programmed cell death, a process of rapid cell suicide at the infection site to effectively fight pathogens that depend on living plant tissue, and autophagy, a “self-eating” process for degradation of unwanted or damaged intracellular content, that is either part of a cell death program or contributes to basal immune responses by directly limiting growth of some microbial pathogens in the absence of defensive suicide.
Landscape architecture – history, theory and method
Rolf Johansson is an architect and his research concerns the environment creating disciplins, especially landscape architecture, history, theory and method. The planning process, with the elements evaluation and criticism, is an important part of his research.
Seeds for the future
Claudia Köhler’s research concern the (epigenetic) mechanisms that decide when, where and how different genes are active during seed development in plants – the processes that lead to the development of different cell types, tissues and organs. She has shown that genomic imprinting, a phenomenon by which certain genes from one of the parents are silenced, is much more common in plants than was previously believed. Increasing seed size in crops is a possible future application of this research. She also studies the barriers that make it very difficult to transfer valuable traits from wild plants to cultivated relatives with a higher number of chromosome sets.
Management of soil organisms for sustainable land use
Jan Lagerlöf is a soil zoologist specialising on agricultural land. One research area is how species and individual richness in the soil is affected by the choice of cultivation methods. In other studies he explores the interactions between soil animals and microorganisms. A highly relevant question to agriculture is how to make better use of ecosystem services that soil organisms can provide, for example by improving conditions for organisms that feed on or compete with soil-borne pathogens.
The behaviour of calves and minks investigated
Lena Lidfors is an ethologist and has carried out research on the behaviour of calves and cows towards each other, and how housing and management influence this. She has also investigated how an enriched environment improves the behaviour of laboratory animals and farmed minks.
Swedish pig breeding in a hundred years’ perspective
Nils Lundeheim’s research concerns pig breeding, with a main focus on improving leg strength, movement and health. He works in close cooperation with breeding organisations and other stakeholders, and he is often involved in field studies, performed in nucleus herds, as well as in commercial herds. One of the challenges he is facing presently is how to breed for increased piglet survival.
Society’s organic waste – a risk or a resource for agriculture?
Mikael Pell’s research concerns interactions between microorganisms and organic compounds in soil. A main interest is to investigate means to increase the agricultural use of valuable plant nutrients in organic residues from society. Mikael Pell uses microorganisms as tools to evaluate different types of residues and application methods. The benefits in terms of nutrient recirculation must not be compromised by harmful contents of toxic organic compounds and heavy metals, or increased emissions of powerful greenhouse gases.
Locomotion of horses in focus
Lars Roepstorff is a veterinarian and his research concerns the locomotion of horses. With biomechanical methods he develops and evaluates objective methods for clinical investigation of the locomotor apparatus, e.g. at lameness, rehabilitation and riding. He also studies arena and racetrack surfaces for competition horses.
Model organisms in research
Hans Ronne uses budding yeast and the moss Physcomitrella as model organisms to study gene expression, drug resistance, metabolism and aging. He is also testing new methods for plant molecular genetics and developing a small alga as a novel model organism.
Interdisciplinary research for future production systems
Lennart Salomonsson’s research concerns the increasing intensity in man’s land use, and how this affects the production of ecosystem services. He takes part in interdisciplinary research projects that analyse and evaluate systems for agriculture and forestry that tries to integrate production of food, wood and energy with increasing support to the life supporting processes that ecosystems also provide, services that we often take for granted.
Why are potatoes sometimes poisonous?
Folke Sitbon’s research concerns the biosynthesis of glycoalkaloids in the potato in response to stresses such as wounding and light exposure. These bitter-tasting defence substances sometimes reach levels that are poisonous to humans and animals. In his work Folke Sitbon combines molecular genetics and biochemistry to increase our understanding of the regulation of glycoalkaloid synthesis. His results may find applications within potato breeding and the post-harvest treatment of tubers, and contribute to an increased quality and food safety of potato.
Diseases at the human–animal interface: New challenges in a changing world
Richard Zuerner’s research concerns zoonotic diseases, animal infections that are transmitted to humans. His main focus is on characterizing bacterial infections and through improved detection methods he has provided tools to monitor disease transmission in animals. He also applies genomic sequencing data to detect genetic variations between related bacterial strains to help identify bacterial proteins essential for infection. The goals of such studies are twofold; to gain a better understanding of what proteins are needed by the bacteria to successfully infect a host, and to test these proteins as potential vaccine candidates.