Photo of Maria Lerm

Maria Lerm

Professor

I am a professor in Medical Microbiology at Linköping University and is leading projects within epigenetics and infectious diseases, focusing on tuberculosis and post-COVID.

Focus on tuberculosis and post-COVID

I am a professor in Medical Microbiology at Linköping University and I am leading projects within epigenetics and infectious diseases, focusing on tuberculosis and post-COVID. I am also a SciLifeLab Fellow providing expertise and services in assays reflecting host-pathogen interaction. As a node-leader within CBCS I am supporting in compound discovery not only with activity against M. tuberculosis but also other pathogens.

I received the Swedish Heart Lung Foundation’s most prestigious grant in 2022 together with team leaders from three universities in Sweden. The project focuses on the dynamics of epigenetic responses during infections such as COVID-19 and tuberculosis. I am the project leader of PULMO, a pilot project that aims at identifying DNA methylation-based biomarkers for respiratory diseases. PULMO is also a regional pilot project for data sharing among hospitals and research, which is fundamental for future’s data-driven health care I am also the founder of PredictMe, which is a company building a DNA methylation-based disease classifier.

Unveiling Epigenetic Mechanisms in COVID-19:

Our research dives into the persisting symptoms after COVID-19 and uncovers a unique epigenetic signature in post-COVID-19 condition (PCC). Comparing DNAm patterns in patients and healthy convalescents, we highlight pathways influencing lung health. Additionally, we study epigenetic resilience in COVID-19 recovery, revealing enduring DNA methylation imprints linked to immune responses. This research provides a novel perspective on lung health dynamics post-infection.

Epigenetic Clues to Tuberculosis Immunity in the Lung:

In our exploration of tuberculosis immunity, we delve into DNA methylation patterns in lung immune cells. Examining subjects exposed to M. tuberculosis, we identify epigenetic signatures related to immune memory and infection status. This unique DNA methylation pattern reflects a spectrum of responses, offering potential for diagnostic applications and insights into lung-based immune defenses.

Epigenetic Insight into Lung Diseases, the PULMO Project:

Launching in 2023, the PULMO Project delves into lung diseases through epigenetic exploration. This initiative aims to decipher the molecular intricacies underlying lung health, shedding light on fundamental patterns linked to respiratory conditions. PULMO's focus involves sampling 1000 patients with respiratory symptoms in Sydöstra Sjukvårdsregionen (SÖSR). By studying this diverse group, PULMO aims to reveal epigenetic marks specific to various lung diseases. This comprehensive endeavor has potential to reshape diagnostics and therapeutic strategies in the realm of respiratory well-being. Researchers, clinicians, and stakeholders are invited to contribute to the PULMO Project's trajectory. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, we seek to uncover insights that redefine our understanding of lung diseases, fostering potential for personalized interventions.

Driving Drug Discovery for Health:

Complementing our focus on lung diseases, we lead innovative drug discovery efforts. Our High Content Screening (HCS) assay, rooted in primary human lung cells, identifies compounds impacting lung pathogens. By uncovering epigenetic regulators of lung immunity, we contribute to understanding host-pathogen interactions and the development of new therapeutics. Our service for BSL2/3 compound screening is available through the SciLifeLab platform Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden (CBCS).

Facilitating Epigenetic Research for Pharma, Academia, and Beyond: Beyond our academic pursuits, we are driven by a mission to advance epigenetic research that transcends boundaries.

News

Man on bicycle being supervised by male physician.

“We’re beginning to understand post-COVID better now”

The understanding of why some people experience lingering symptoms following COVID-19 has increased rapidly. Swedish researchers have now published an overview of research findings on breathing and heart function problems in post-COVID condition.

Researchers in laboratory.

Post-COVID syndrome visible in DNA

A reprogramming of which genes are active, and which are not, is visible in post-COVID sufferers. In a study on a small group of individuals, genes associated with taste and smell, as well as cell metabolism, were affected.

Older man with chest pain during running.

SEK 17 million for cardiopulmonary research at LiU

Nine researchers at LiU have received research funding from the Swedish Heart Lung Foundation. The funded research will include work on the immune system in heart disease, the development of new drugs, and the effects of remote yoga on heart failure.

Publications

Selected publications

Cover of publication ''
Deepti Verma, Venkata Ramanarao Parasa, Johanna Raffetseder, Mihaela-Maria Martis, Ratnesh Bhai Mehta, Mihai Netea, Maria Lerm (2017)

Scientific Reports , Vol.7 Continue to DOI

Cover of publication ''
Maria Lerm, M. G. Netea (2016)

Journal of Internal Medicine , Vol.279 , s.337-346 Continue to DOI

Latest publications

2023

Anna Jonsson Henningsson, Sandra Hellberg, Maria Lerm, Shumaila Sayyab (2023) Genome-wide DNA Methylation Profiling in Lyme Neuroborreliosis Reveals Altered Methylation Patterns of HLA Genes Journal of Infectious Diseases Continue to DOI
Clara Braian, Lovisa Karlsson, Jyotirmoy Das, Maria Lerm (2023) Selected ß-glucans act as immune-training agents by improving anti-mycobacterial activity in human macrophages - a pilot study Journal of Innate Immunity Continue to DOI
Marika Moller, Kristian Borg, Christer Janson, Maria Lerm, Johan Normark, Katarina Niward (2023) Cognitive dysfunction in post-COVID-19 condition: Mechanisms, management, and rehabilitation Journal of Internal Medicine Continue to DOI

About me

Teaching

Medical Programme

Biomedical Laboratory Science Programme

Experimental and Industrial Biomedicine

Assignments

Adjunct Editor, Journal of Internal Medicine

Organisation