Infection biology

The research area molecular infection medicine is one of the internationally well-recognized research areas at Umeå University.

The multidisciplinary Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR) has support from Swedish Research Council Research Council (VR) for a Linnaeus Centre with a program that combines chemical biology with internationally-recognized, cutting-edge molecular microbial genetics to identify small molecules that interfere with the virulence of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and parasites). UCMR is also host for MIMS (The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden), the Swedish node of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine.

The Umeå University campus is a vibrant, collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment with excellent infrastructure, all within close proximity

Nelson Gekara is a leading young researcher focusing on the regulatory mechanisms of the immune system, specifically how innate immune detections of, and responsiveness to, microbes are mediated by so-called 'pattern recognition receptors'. For an example of infection biology research at Umeå University, read more about his research here and below

“The university is the place to be for young researchers seeking to set up their independent research within biomedical fields”, says Nelson Gekara.

Nelson Gekara, a MIMS group leader at Umeå University
Image Mattias Pettersson

Research within infection biology is conducted at the following departments and research centres: 

Department of Molecular Biology

Department of Clinical Microbiology

Department Integrative Medical Biology

Department of Odontology

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics

Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden

Understanding the receptors that trigger immune system responses

One of Umeå University’s leading young researchers is Nelson Gekara, who was recruited as a group leader to MIMS (Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden), the Swedish node in the Nordic EMBL partnership for Molecular Medicine. 

In his research, Gekara focuses on the regulatory mechanisms of the immune system and is specifically interested in how innate immune detections of and responsiveness to microbes is mediated by so-called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). These receptors include Toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) and Cytoplasmic DNA sensors (CDRs). Although critical for anti-microbial defenses and subsequent healing, excessive or deregulated activation of PRRs in immune system responses often results in inflammatory diseases and may foster cancer development. Nelson Gekara’s research group want to understand the mechanisms that govern the regulation of PRRs pathways and how the breakdown of such mechanisms culminates in diseases, such as sepsis, arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases and cancer.  Issue 10, pages 48-49

In the Spotlight at Umeå University

Luminous proteins offer new method to discover viral infections

Luminous proteins offer new method to discover viral infections

Researchers at Umeå University have developed a new method to directly follow viral infections in living organisms. This method can make infected cells produce fluorescent proteins, which means that they light up and become easier to identify. The method, which is described in the journal Scientific Reports, also makes it possible to activate other functions in infected cells, for instance to enhance the immune system. Read more


Nature: Feature article on Emmanuelle Charpentier

The scientific journal Nature has published a lengthy feature article on Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, titled "The quiet revolutionary: How the co-discovery of CRISPR explosively changed Emmanuelle Charpentier’s life." Read more