Staffan Svärd

Uppsala University

Scientific Lead – Pandemic Laboratory Preparedness at SciLifeLab

Key publications

Genomic minimalism in the early diverging intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia.
Morrison, H.G., McArthur, A.G., Gillin, F.D., Aley, S., Adam R.D., Olsen, G., Best, A.A., Cande, W.Z., Chen, F., Cipriano, M.J., Davids, B.J., Dawson, S., Elmendorf, H., Hehl, A.B., Holder, M.E., Huse, S., Kim, U., Lasek-Nesselquist, E., Manning, G., Nigam, A., Nixon, J., Palm, D., Passamaneck, N., Prabhu, A., Reich, C., Reiner, D.S., Samuelson, J., Svard, S.G. and Sogin, M. (2007).
Science, 317, 1921-6.

Draft genome sequencing of Giardia intestinalis assemblage B isolate GS: is human giardiasis caused by two different species?
Franzén O, Jerlström-Hultqvist J, Castro E, Sherwood E, Ankarklev J, Reiner DS, Palm D, Andersson JO, Andersson B, Svärd SG. (2009).
PLoS Pathog. 5(8):e1000560.

Genome analysis and comparative genomics of a Giardia intestinalis assemblage E isolate.
Jerlström-Hultqvist J, Franzén O, Ankarklev J, Xu F, Nohýnková E, Andersson JO, Svärd SG, Andersson B. (2010).
BMC Genomics. 11:543

Hydrogenosomes in the diplomonad Spironucleus salmonicida.
Jerlström-Hultqvist, J., Einarsson, E., Xu, F., Hjort, K., Ek, B., Hultenby, K., Bergqvist, J., Andersson, J.O., Svärd, S.G. (2013).
Nat. Commun. 2013;4:2493.

Transcriptome profiling of Giardia intestinalis using strand-specific RNA-seq.
Franzen, O., Jerlström-Hultqvist, J., Einarsson, E., Ankarklev, J., Ferella, M., Andersson, B., Svärd, S. (2013).
PLoS Comput Biol. 9(3):e1003000.

Coordinated Changes in Gene Expression Throughout Encystation of Giardia intestinalis.
Einarsson E, Troell K, Hoeppner MP, Grabherr M, Ribacke U, Svärd SG. (2016)
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Mar 25;10(3):e0004571

Characterization of the Giardia intestinalis secretome during interaction with human intestinal epithelial cells: The impact on host cells.
Ma’ayeh SY, Liu J, Peirasmaki D, Hörnaeus K, Bergström Lind S, Grabherr M, Bergquist J, Svärd SG. (2017)
PLoS Negl Trop Dis.;11(12):e0006120.

A chromosome-scale reference genome for Giardia intestinalis WB.
Xu F, Jex A, Svärd SG. (2020).
Sci Data.7(1):38

High Cysteine Membrane Proteins (HCMPs) Are Up-Regulated During Giardia-Host Cell Interactions.
Peirasmaki D, Ma’ayeh SY, Xu F, Ferella M, Campos S, Liu J, Svärd SG. (2020).
Front Genet. 11:913

The compact genome of Giardia muris reveals important steps in the evolution of intestinal protozoan parasites.
Xu F, Jiménez-González A, Einarsson E, Ástvaldsson Á, Peirasmaki D, Eckmann L, Andersson JO, Svärd SG, Jerlström-Hultqvist J. (2020).
Microb Genom. 2020 6(8):mgen000402.

Research Interests

Giardia intestinalis is a major contributor to the enormous burden of diarrheal diseases with 250 million symptomatic human infections per year. The focus of our research group is to understand the biology and pathogenesis of Giardia but also other diarrhea-inducing protozoa.

We do this by using several different approaches that are complementary. Genome sequencing of different isolates is one approach. We have participated in the sequencing and annotation of Giardia genomes from parasites in three of the major genetic groups of Giardia ( By using comparative genomics we have identified several putative virulence factors and genotype-specific genes that can be used in diagnosis. Genome sequencing is complemented by gene expression analyses using proteomics, and RNA sequencing. Gene expression in Giardia is studied during different conditions like host cell interactions, differentiation and stress-conditions. This has also identified several new potential virulence genes but also taught us much about the biology of the parasite. Potential virulence factors are studied further in our in vitro system with cell lines and enteroids that mimics host cell interaction in the human small intestine. These in vitro studies are complemented by studies using giardiasis patient material collected in Sweden, Bolivia and Mocambique. We try to study differences and similarities in the genomes of the parasites and we also study differences in the immune responses to the parasite. We also study the biology of other Diplomonads like Giardia murisSpironucleus and Hexamita.

The main focus has been the cytoskeleton, differentiation and the hydrogenosome.  Other research areas in the group are drug resistance in protozoan parasites and worms, microbiomes in malaria mosquitos, diagnostics of tape worm infections.

Group members

  • Staffan Svärd, PhD., professor
  • Johan Lindh, PhD, associated researcher
  • Olle Terenius, PhD, associated researcher
  • Jon Jersltröm Hultqvist, PhD, researcher
  • Jana Grüttner, PhD student
  • Sascha Krakovka, PhD student
  • Laura Rojas, PhD student
  • Lorenzo Assentato, PhD student
  • Veronica Casmo, PhD student
  • Noemia Nhancupe, PhD student


Telephone: +46 18 471 4558
fax: +46 18 530396

Last updated: 2023-08-29

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