Lister Institute Fellow Dr. Oliver Billker Named Director of Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden

Lister Institute Fellow Dr. Oliver Billker Named Director of Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden

Oliver Billker

We are delighted to report that distinguished Lister Fellow Dr. Oliver Billker has recently been appointed as the new Director of Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). This new role represents the latest achievement in Dr. Billker’s stellar research career that has seen him contribute to the understanding of many areas of infectious diseases and specifically the genomics of parasites.

MIMS was founded by Umeå University in 2007 in response to a national call by the Swedish Research Council, its principal funder, to better support outstanding scientists and innovative research in the field. It aims to strengthen Sweden’s role in microbial research, working alongside the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg as part of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine.

In his important new role Dr. Billker succeeds the founding Director of MIMS, Professor Bernt Eric Uhlin. Dr. Uhlin is a Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology at Umeå University where he leads a laboratory that studies how enterobacteria (such as pathogenic E. coli) interact with their hosts and express virulence factors.

Dr. Billker has also been made a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Umeå University, where MIMS is based. Prior to this appointment he led a team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, one of the foremost genomic research centres in the world noted for its international collaborations at the cutting edge of the field.

As part of the transition to Sweden, Dr. Billker’s laboratory was also awarded a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant to move research across from Cambridge, though Dr. Billker intends to maintain close ties to Cambridge, the UK and the Lister Institute.

Dr. Billker is an expert in malaria parasite genomics whose research involves understanding the biology and spread of Plasmodium, parasites that cause malaria. His research has led to new genetic technologies used to investigate how Plasmodium is transmitted between mosquitoes and other organisms, as well as understanding how parasite genes evolve and how they function during sexual reproduction.

Originally from Germany, Dr. Billker acquired a PhD from University College London with a thesis entitled “Regulation of Gametogenesis in Malaria Parasites” based on research work carried out at Imperial College London. He has previously worked at a range of high quality institutes with some of this work supported by a Lister Institute Research Prize.

Here are the Lister Institute we are very pleased to have contributed to supporting Dr. Billker in his career, and in his new role at MIMS, helping to drive both our understanding of infectious disease genomics while growing capacity in Sweden. We look forward to sharing more of his progress in the future.