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The Nordic EMBL Partnership welcomes Oliver Billker

Oliver Billker mpn[2018-12-08] Annabel Darby, Communication Officer for the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, interviewed Oliver Billker a few weeks ago. Read about his visions for MIMS, his research and life in Umeå.

Interview with Oliver Billker on

Fernström Prize for research on bacterial cell walls

cava felipe Elin Berge 20172018 Fernström Prize awardee at Umeå University becomes Felipe Cava. His research group studies how bacteria can adapt the construction of the cell wall to different host environments, knowledge that may be important for the development of new antibiotics.

Felipe Cava will be honored for the Fernstrom Prize at Umeå University's annual festival on Saturday, October 20th. The actual award ceremony takes place during Research Day at Lund University in November.

Read more: Fernström Prize for research on bacterial cell walls

A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå

[2018-06-21] Scientists affiliated with MIMS and UCMR describe their findings about a new toxin and its secretion mechanism from the major bacterial pathogen Vibrio cholerae in a recent publication in the journal Communications Biology (7 June 2018).

Dongre et al 2018 Communications Biology 3The bacterium Vibrio cholerae was discovered more than 150 years ago but remains as one of the main causes of bacterial infectious disease globally, especially in low-income nations where it occurs endemic, and outbreaks of cholera disease can lead to major epidemics.

In addition to causing cholera disease characterized by very severe watery diarrhea, different variants of V. cholerae can cause, for example, wound infections and infections in the ear canal (ear inflammation). If the infection is reaching the bloodstream, it can lead to blood poisoning. Such variants of Vibrio bacteria are common in brackish water, but can be found both in freshwater and saltwater and are also present in such environments in our country.

Scientists from Umeå University have now discovered and characterised the structure and function of a so far unknown Vibrio toxin. A team led by Professor Sun Nyunt Wai at Department of Molecular Biology and MIMS used the worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a predatory host for the bacteria and identified by molecular genetic analysis the V. cholerae genes required for production and release of the new protein toxin, now called MakA.

Read more: A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå

MIMS/UCMR Mini-Symposium, 29 May 2018

UCMR DAY 2018Welcome to the 3rd MIMS/UCMR-Mini-Symposium of this year!

29 May 2018, 9:00 - 11:50

Bergasalen, Umeå University Hospital (NUS), South Entrance
Presentations by the Oliver Billker, appointed new Director of MIMS from 1st October, Barbara Sixt, new MIMS Group Leader,  Gemma Atkinson and Linda Sandblad, recipients of UCMR Gender Policy Support. In the second session five Postdoctoral Fellows from the MIMS/UCMR Postdoctoral Programme will present: Christian Pett, Hiraku Takada, Ravendra Nagampalli, Dharmedra Kumar Soni, Rajender Kumar.

Hosts: Bernt Eric Uhlin, Maria Fällman, Elisabeth Sauer-Eriksson, Åke Forsberg

Please register here latest on 27 May:

Contact for questions: Eva-Maria Diehl, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NOTE the programme is updated (Christian Pett's presentation has been cancelled)

pdfProgramme for download

Read more: MIMS/UCMR Mini-Symposium, 29 May 2018

Treatment of cancer could become possible with adenovirus

Adenovirus Mostphotos for webb[2018-04-19] An international team of researchers led by professor Niklas Arnberg at Umeå University, shows that adenovirus binds to a specific type of carbohydrate that is overexpressed on certain types of cancer cells. The discovery opens up new opportunities for the development of virus-based cancer therapy. The study is published in the latest issue of the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA",  PNAS April 19, 2018.

Adenovirus is a common virus that causes infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, eyes and gastrointestinal tract in humans and animals. Researchers at Umeå University study molecular mechanisms of infection in order to understand how adenovirus causes disease.
The researchers in Umeå, together with research groups from Germany, the UK and Hungary, have now discovered a new type of mechanism used by a rare adenovirus type to attack cells.

Read more: Treatment of cancer could become possible with adenovirus

Carl-Henrik Heldin and Oliver Billker receive ERC Advanced Grants

Carl Henrik Heldin UU Oliver BillkerTwo ERC Advanced Grants which have recently been awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) have a close relation to MIMS.

One € 2.5 million grant for a period of 5 years will the chair of the MIMS Executive Board professor Carl-Henrik Heldin receive for his project "Pro-tumorigenic effects of TGFb - elucidation of mechanisms and development of selective inhibitors". The second grant was awarded to Umeå University and to the recently appointed new MIMS Director Dr. Oliver Billker for his project: ”Sex in malaria parasites - from genome scale functional gene profiling to transmission blocking intervention targets”. Billker will start his lab at MIMS from 1st of October 2018. Congratulations to both grantees!

More information:
The ERC Advanced Grant (Press Release by the ERC 2018-04-06)
Webpage of Dr. Oliver Billker's laboratory
Webpage of Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin
Press release of Umeå University (only published in Swedish)
(Pictures: Uppsala University and private)

Oliver Billker appointed new Director of MIMS

Picture of Oliver Billker_private[2018-04-17] MIMS proudly announces that Dr. Oliver Billker from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK, has been recruited as future director of MIMS. Dr. Oliver Billker is a distinguished expert in malaria parasite genomics. In October 2018, he will succeed the founding Director of MIMS, Professor Bernt Eric Uhlin, who has held the role since 2007.

The search committee, which was led by the chair of the MIMS Executive Board, Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, also included Professor Iain Mattaj, Director General for EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory).
“I am very pleased that Dr. Oliver Billker has accepted to be the next director of MIMS,” says Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin.
“With his outstanding scientific credentials, extensive international network and excellent leadership skills, he is the perfect person to lead this very successful institute.”

“Oliver Billker is an excellent choice to lead MIMS”, adds Professor Iain Mattaj.
“His experience in the large-scale genetics and genomics of malaria parasites and his participation in international collaborations will be valuable additions to the MIMS portfolio”.

Read more: Oliver Billker appointed new Director of MIMS

Welcome to the UCMR/MIMS Minisymposium!

During 2016/2017 fifteen postdocs have been recruited to the UCMR /MIMS postdoctoral programme in competitive calls.

UCMR and MIMS has the ambition to facilitate visibility and promote networking for these postdocs.  Eight of these young investigators are now invited to present themselves and their research to the broad UCMR/MIMS research community.

Tuesday 10 April 2018, 14:30 - 17:00
Lilla hörsalen, KBC, KB.E3.01

Read more: Welcome to the UCMR/MIMS Minisymposium!

Battling antibiotic resistance

Scientists from MIMS and UCMR contributed to the movie "Battling antibiotic resistance" produced by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Meet Umeå scientists Felipe Cava, Maria Fällman, Fredrik Almqvist, Elisabeth Sauer-Eriksson and Jörgen Johansson and MIMS Board member Birgitta Henriques Normark and their research on new antimicrobial strategies to fight antibiotic resistance.

Movie published by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 20 February 2018.

Details of antibiotic resistance mechanisms revealed in hospital-acquired drug-resistant pathogens

Gemma Atkinson IMG 2401 562[2018-03-02] A new paper published by the research groups of Gemma Atkinson and Vasili Hauryliuk at Umeå University resolves years of uncertainty about how the widespread antibiotic resistance factors in the protein group ABCF family confer resistance to lincosamide antibiotics, often used in treatment of infections caused by staphylococci, streptococci and anaerobic bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today and the new antimicrobial strategies are urgently needed. Scientists at the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR) and at The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) study therefore also antibacterial resistance mechanisms in order to develop new therapeutic strategies against resistant bacteria. The researchers solved recently a mystery in antibiotic resistance research and published their findings in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, which specialises in leading edge research into nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, and the proteins with which they interact.

Read more: Details of antibiotic resistance mechanisms revealed in hospital-acquired drug-resistant pathogens

Emmanuelle Charpentier took the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Emmanuelle has been awarded jointly with Jennifer Doudna the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. She is a former group leader at MIMS, honorary doctor at Umeå University and former visiting professor at UCMR.

Movie by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (

Battling antibiotic resistance

movie by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, with participation of scientists from MIMS and UCMR:
Or watch the original movie on:

Research about infectious diseases:

Oliver Billker in movie of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation:
Or watch the original movie on:

footer all slides 2014-02-06

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