Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Image: Malin Grönborg

Nicklas Strömberg Lab

Research group We study why some people suffer from chronic infectious diseases and how dental care can be individualized.

Nicklas Strömberg Lab studies why some, but not other, individuals suffer from chronic infectious diseases, such as caries, and how dental care should be personalized to healthy and diseased individuals.

We accordingly apply an interdisciplinary and translational approach to study chronic diseases, such as caries and tooth loss, but also allergy and infections in a broader sense. We have several research lines and questions:

Nice – programming and prediction of chronic diseases at infancy

We are part of a national consortium that study a birth cohort of mother-father-child to map how caries, allergy and neurophysiological development are programmed and predicted by the exposome in terms of microbiota, nutrition, toxic elements and associated epigenetic markers. We also map primary immunodeficiences in pattern recognition and immunity  to explain development of caries and allergy in individuals for which explanations by the exposome or structural changes in DNA by epigenetics are lacking.

Recurrent caries in adolescents – Immunodeficiency and high virulence mouth bacteria

We have using a collected sample of adolescents in Västerbotten from 12- to 17-years of age identified three subtypes of dental caries; the traditional lifestyle type (caries1), immunodeficiency type (caries2) and a type caused by highly virulent strains of the caries-associated bacterium Streptococcus mutans (caries3). The novel caries types 1-2 explains why some individuals show recurrent caries without negative exposures.

The immunodeficiency type of caries is caused and predicted by mutations  in genes PRH1, PRH2 and DMBT1 encoding extracellular pattern recognition and activation of immunity depending on self-versus-nonself exposures. We are mapping the genes and proteins of the primary immunodeficiency and if genetic variation in this function also causes infection- and chronic disease susceptibility (e.g. allergy) in a broader sense.

In relation to caries caused by particularly virulent and collagen-binding strains of S. mutans that also coincides with risk for stroke, we are characterizing the so-called virulence mechanisms for caries and stroke. We hypothesize that the virulent strains block the same pattern recognition and immunity function that misbehaves in the immunodeficiency type of caries. 

We also characterize the core members of the oral microbiota that predict cries-free individuals and the microbiota types that predicts caries and inflammation susceptibility. 

PreCaries – A multi centre study for prevention of caries based on genetic risk and causes

We evaluate and implement genetic markers for risk assessment and  prevention of the different caries types in a national multi centre study that uses the rapid caries development on healthy tooth surfaces upon application of orthodontic multibrackets.  The clinical purpose in the dental care system is to generate support for recall intervals and treatment protocols for the healthy and sick 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
Latest update: 2022-12-20