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Anders Johansson Lab

Research group Anders Johansson's research group works with infection epidemiology - to track infection and understand how bacteria and viruses are spread.

Bacteria and viruses spread between people via several different routes of infection, they are most often spread unnoticed, and most bacteria and viruses are not harmful to human health. In some cases, bacteria or virus cause infections. Infectious viruses can also spread so explosively that many people become infected in a short time. This is called an outbreak of infection or an epidemic.

Anders Johansson’s research group works with infection epidemiology, which entails tracing infection and understanding how bacteria and viruses spread between persons and from the surrounding environment to humans. Infection epidemiology includes understanding the factors that increase and decrease the risk of infection, such as the importance of human behaviour and changes in environmental factors. The objective of the research is to reduce the risk of infectious diseases, both out in society and to patients in hospitals.

Knowledge from the research must thus be usable to prevent socially contracted and healthcare-related infections. One of the infections being studied is the disease tularemia, which is caused by the aggressive bacterium Francisella tularensis, which is spread to humans from nature. Outbreaks of tularemia are seen during summer and autumn. Other examples are healthcare-associated infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are spread in hospitals, such as infections caused by resistant staphylococci or resistant intestinal bacteria.

Infection epidemiology has developed strongly in recent years with the help of technological developments that have made it possible to trace, with high resolution, the spread of bacteria and viruses between humans and from the environment to humans. The technology makes it possible to map in detail the hereditary material of bacteria and viruses using whole-genome sequencing, so that transmission routes to and from hundreds of people can be monitored during an outbreak of infection. The research is also facilitated by technological developments in the fields of bioinformatics and artificial intelligence. Bioinformatics involves computer-driven handling of large volumes of biological and health data.

Artificial intelligence is used in research for transfer of analytical data from humans to computers. One example is that, in collaboration with health professionals and researchers who are computer scientists and engineers, we develop IT tools that automatically detect when infections occur in patients who are being treated in hospital. This is done by analysing large data volumes in case notes and laboratory systems. We will also be able to provide an warning in advance, so that infection can be prevented in a given patient. The new IT tools are adapted to the healthcare work so that the provided decision-making support is intuitive.

COVID-19 research

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also entered into close collaboration with researchers in municipal elderly care and commenced research on the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the elderly care sector in Sweden, immunity after vaccination and how outbreaks of infection can be detected more quickly in the future.


Educational App for healthcare that we have developed in research on healthcare-related infections.

Head of research

Anders Johansson
Professor, senior consultant (attending) physician


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine

Research area

Infection biology

External funding

Swedish Research Council, Vinnova
  • Members

    Peter Fjällström
    Other position

    External group members

    Andreas Winroth, PhD student and specialist doctor in infection diseases and care hygiene, Region Västerbotten

    Present cooperation parterns with joint research financing:

    Professor Dave Wagner, Dept of Biology, Northern Arizona University, Arizona, USA

    Senior forskare Johanna Thelaus, Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut FOI

    Laborator Mats Forsman, Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut FOI

    Universitetslektor Pontus Naucler, Karolinska instititet

    Universitetslektor Felipe Cava, Molekylärbiologi och MIMS, Umeå universitet

    Universitetslektor Mattias Forsell och professor Clas Ahlm, Klinisk mikroiologi, Umeå universitet

External funding

UCMR PI Anders Johansson, new professor in infection diseases

Anders Johansson's research aims to understand the spread of infection and identify preventive measures.

More vaccine doses protect elderly against covid-19

Four to six vaccine doses protect the elderly against COVID-19, shows a study led by two researchers in Umeå.

Elderly with few antibodies may need an extra dose of vaccine

Elderly with a low antibody response after vaccination are at increased risk of dying from omicron variants.

Latest update: 2022-11-04