Medical Microbiology

Faculty of Medicine | Lund University


Stefan Schwartz group

Molecular virology

Viruses are small parasites that infect living cells to multiply their genomes and to produce new virus particles. During this process, the vast majority of all known viruses cause disease in its host, ranging from common cold to diarrhea, immune suppression and cancer, depending on the virus. A detailed understanding of the basic molecular mechanisms of viral replication and gene expression is of paramount importance to determine how viruses cause disease, and is necessary for development of antiviral drugs.


Research efforts in the group:

Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) infections are normally asymptomatic and are cleared within a year or two. In rare cases, the HPV16 infection persists and may cause lesions that progress to cancer, primarily cervical cancer in women. High-grade lesions express HPV16 early genes, primarily the oncogenes E6 and E7, whereas expression of the structural proteins L1 and L2 is restricted to asymptomatic infections or low-grade lesions. In an effort to understand how HPV16 can persist in its host and escape detection by the immune system, we are investigating how HPV16 regulates the expression of its genes, in particular expression of the highly immunogenic late L1 and L2 proteins.

HPV16 gene expression
HPV16 gene expression

Influenza virus is an RNA viruses that causes local infections in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. These acute infections are cleared by the host within weeks. As a result of its high variability, influenza virus can avoid immunity to the virus in the human population. This variability gives rise to influenza viruses with different protein sequences that may differ in immunogenicity and pathogenicity. However, the variability is even greater at the RNA level. We are investigating if changes in the viral RNA genome that does not affect viral protein sequences affect the function of the viral mRNAs, thereby possibly affecting the pathogenic properties of the virus.

RNA binding proteins in influenza virus
RNA binding proteins in influenza virus


- We are running an elective course in Molecular virology in the master’s programme in biomedicine until autumn 2015 (7,5cred).

- We are running an elective, undergraduate course in Virology (7,5cred) from autumn 2016.

- We participate in virology teaching at medical school semester 4 in Lund and in Malmö by lecturing classes and by tutoring problem-based learning groups.

Stefan Schwartz lecturing

Stefan Schwartz

Stefan Schwartz
Stefan Schwartz

Stefan Schwartz1,2
PhD, Professor in medical microbiology

Mobile phone: +4673 9806233
Lab phone: +4673 9806233

1) Department of Laboratory Medicine-Lund,
Section of Medical Microbiology
Lund University, BMC-B13,
223 62 Lund, Sweden

2) Labmedicin Skåne,
Clinical Microbiology,
Malmö, Sweden

Recent reviews

Recent reviews that describe research performed by this group and in the field of HPV RNA processing:

Kajitani, N. and Schwartz, S. 2015. Biomolecules, 5:758-774

Schwartz, S. 2013. Virology, 445:187-196.

Johansson, C. and Schwartz, S. 2013. Nature Rev. Microbiol., 11:239-251.

HPV16 virus-like particles

HPV16 L1+L2
HPV16 L1+L2

Work with us

If you are interested in doing a BSc-, MSc-, PhD- or post doc- project in this group, do not hesitate to contact us by sending an e-mail to:

Lund spring 2014
Haoran presenting at the Papillomavirus conference in Lisbon 2015.

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