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Nicklas Strömberg Lab

Nicklas Strömberg Lab studies why some but not other people suffer from chronic infectious diseases, such as caries, and how oral care should be personalized to cover these needs.

We apply an interdisciplinary and translational approach to study chronic diseases, such as caries and infections in a broader sense. We have several Precaries studies and projects:

Precaries-adolescence –Immunodeficiency and high virulence bacteria as primary caries causes

We have identified three different casual subtypes of dental caries in 452 adolescents sampled in Västerbotten from 12- to 17-years of age. Variation in the human genes PRH1, PRH2 encoding receptors for bacteria grouped adolescents as susceptible with an immunodeficiency type of caries and as non-susceptible with the lifestyle type of caries. Variation in the corresponding receptor-binding adhesions of the caries-associated bacterium Streptococcus mutans identified high virulence phenotypes that matched individual caries activity. 

The immunodeficiency type of caries is caused by misbehaving self and non-self pattern recognition and immunity. We are mapping the misbehaving immunity pathway and its potential role in infection- and chronic disease susceptibility in a broader sense.

The particularly virulent adhesion phenotypes of S. mutans constitute a risk for caries and stroke. We are mapping the underlaying virulence mechanisms and pathways, hypothesizing that they inhibit pattern recognition, immunity and wound healing.

We also characterize the core members of the oral microbiota that predict cries-free individuals and the human genetic basis for different orotypes of microbiota.

Precaries-intervention – An intervention study of caries based on genetic risk and cause

We evaluate and develop caries prevention customized to genetic risk and cause in a national multi-center study that take advantage of rapid caries development upon treatment with orthodontics. The clinical purpose is to generate cost-effective precision dentistry.

Precaries-birth cohort – Programming of chronic diseases at infancy

In a national consortium, we study a birth cohort of mother-father-child in terms of how caries, allergy and neurophysiological development are programmed and predicted by the exposome and associated epigenetic changes. We also map the different casual subtypes of caries, and their trans-generational dependence, in the primary dentition.

Human experimental caries models and on-line multi-omics machine learning for precision dentistry

We take advantage of orthodontic treatment as a human caries model to generate diagnostic and therapeutic tools and methods, such as bioactive peptides, passive immunotherapy and probiotics. We also develop clinical outcome measures to study induction and progression of caries.

The Precaries samples serve as training (Prearies-adolescence) and validation (Precaries-intervention and -birth cohort) sets in developing multi-omics and machine learning for precision dentistry. We apply bioinformatic tools to extract prebiotic and virulence properties after filtering of microbiome data against the healthy and diseased individuals.


Head of research

Nicklas Strömberg
Professor, combined with clinical employment


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Odontology

Research area

Infection biology, Odontology
  • Members

    Lena Mårell
    Associate professor, senior consultant dentist
    Eva Strömqvist-Engbo
    Biomedical technician, other position
    Nongfei Sheng
    Research fellow
    Maria Andre
    Marine Vandewall-Capo
    Research engineer, project assistant

    External group members


    Johan Henriksson, Associate professor, Department of molecular biology, Molecular Infection Medicine, Sweden (MIMS)

    Laura Carroll, Associate professor, Department of clinical microbiology, Molecular Infection Medicine, Sweden (MIMS)

    Patrik Rydén, Professor, Department of mathematics and mathematical statistics


    External Gothenburg University

    Anna Westerlund, Assoc Prof, Teacher, Specialist Dentist
    Halah Khalifa, specialist dentist, doctoral student
    Ranna Yousif, dentist, doctoral student
    Gustavo Silva Arauja, dentist, doctoral student


    GU: Agnes Wold, Prof., Microbiologi, Specialist Medical doctor; Hardis Rabe, Post doc
    Chalmers: Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Prof. Nutritional Science; Malin Barman, Researcher
    KI: Marie Vather, Prof., Environmental Medicine; Maria Kippler, Assoc. Prof.; Karin Broberg, Prof., genetics and epigentics
    KI: Sven Bölte, Prof., Child and Youth Psychiatry, Erik Zander, Post doc
    Anna Sandin, Assoc. Prof

Röntgenbild på käke och tänder.
Tendency for infection and bacterial flora behind caries

Individual variation explains recurrent caries disease and that others are asymptomatic.

Latest update: 2024-02-22