Clinical microbiology

The research group of Clinical Microbiology consists of independent groups working with important human pathogens, both bacteria such as Campylobacter and Chlamydia, and viruses. The goals are to understand how these pathogens are spread, how they cause disease, and to improve both detection and treatment as well as preventive measures.


Chlamydia trachomatis cervix sample.
Chlamydia trachomatis cervix sample.
Foto: Björn Herrmann

Campylobacter is the most important cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in the western world and causes significant economic and disease burden on society with more than 200 000 reported cases in the EU alone. Campylobacter is a major threat to public health with C. jejuni and C. coli being the major pathogens. Campylobacter is part of the gut flora in many domestic and wild animals and poultry products have often been shown to account for the majority of human infections. Despite the increasing knowledge on molecular epidemiology and ecology as well as the availability of whole genome sequences for Campylobacter, the bacterial pathogenicity mechanisms and human characteristics connected to disease are still poorly understood.

Detection and analysis of pathogens

Bacteria seen through a microscope.
Bacteria seen through a
microscope. Foto: U.
Salvagnin, CC licence

Early and rapid detection of disease-causing pathogens is important for combatting infections caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. As the treatment has to be adopted to the type of pathogen we aim to develop diagnostic tests for viruses, bacteria and fungi. We also work to develop new bioinformatics methods.

Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia trachomatis is globally the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterium and gives rise to complications with infertility as final endpoint. The research group has developed a high-resolution typing system that enables epidemiological investigations of the spread in sexual networks and populations. Epidemiology and prevention of chlamydia from an international public health perspective is also a field of research interest.

Chlamydia psittaci is defined as a high risk pathogen causing fatal respiratory infections, but the spread from wild birds to humans is not well understood. C. psittaci infections in birds and their role for zoonotic disease are investigated. Detection and identification of other bacteria causing respiratory tract infections is an additional research topic.

Infection prevention and control

The WHO states that “No country, no health-care facility even within the most advanced and sophisticated health care systems can claim to be free of the problem of health-care associated infections (HAI)”. HAI are still the most common avoidable adverse event in Sweden and account for billions of extra costs, substantial morbidity and mortality among the hospitalised population and patients within long term care facilities.

Two main areas within the field of infection prevention and control are the focus of the research group: the prevention and control of surgical site infections and the implementation of hand hygiene programmes.

Åsa Melhus

Professor at Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Microbiology

Last modified: 2022-12-12