Kristina Persson

Senior Lecturer, consultant

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Medical and Health Sciences
  • Microbiology in the medical area
  • Infectious Medicine
  • Clinical Laboratory Medicine


  • Malaria, Babesia, Parasite, Immunity, Antibodies, Host-pathogen interactions


Malaria is a major problem globally with many deaths every year. The disease is often caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum and it is spread by mosquitoes. Resistance against medications used is an increasing problem. If we can understand how immunity against malaria is formed, we can make a vaccine. You need to have malaria many times (and survive every time!) before immunity against the disease is reached. We have developed a new method to measure malaria-specific B-cells directly in peripheral blood, using flow cytometry, and we found that many of the B-cells are atypical which could help in explaining why it takes so long to become immune against malaria. To find out more about this, we also have ongoing studies of patients with malaria both in Sweden and in Uganda. We also have projects to investigate how the parasite can enter red blood cells, and which antibodies that are functional enough to stop this process.

Babesia is a parasite that looks almost like malaria in the microscope, but it is spread in Sweden by ticks. Babesia causes a disease with fever that can become life threatening in immunosuppressed patients, and it is probably underdiagnosed in Sweden. It also occurs in deer and cattle. It can also spread easily via blood transfusions. We have an ongoing study where we will investigate how common Babesia is in humans who are often exposed to tick bites.We are also investigating how Babesia parasites can get into red blood cells.

In the group there is one post-doc, three PhD students and one research engineer.

For those who want to watch a short movie about Babesia, and learn how to protect yourself against ticks:

Recent research outputs

Caroline Rönnberg, Allan Lugaajju, Anna Nyman, Ulf Hammar, Matteo Bottai, Maximilian Julius Lautenbach, Christopher Sundling, Fred Kironde & Kristina E.M. Persson, 2021 Jan, In: PLoS ONE. 16, 1 January, e0245431.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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