Pontus Nordenfelt

Associate Professor in Infection Biology at Lund University

Membership period 2018–2023

Bacterial infections represent a major global health issue that could be further aggravated with the rising antibiotic resistance. To counteract this threat we need more detailed knowledge about the encounter between bacteria and humans.

My research team uses advanced live imaging and image analysis techniques to study initial host-pathogen interactions. We attempt to capture the very first moment when a bacteria attaches to a human cell and then follow its journey into the cell. By concomitantly measuring the molecular composition of bacteria and human cells at every interaction interface we can start to map the molecular basis for the first steps of bacterial infection.

In the long-term we believe that better understanding of bacterial infections at the molecular level will open up new targets for antibacterial treatments, vaccines and diagnostics.

How cells are able to turn, about Pontus Nordenfelt's research. Video: Lund University


Electron microscopy representing antibodies (in red) sitting on a bacterial surface (protein in green) from tonsillitis bacteria (streptococci). In blood, the antibodies function as they should and bind in the correct directions in several different locations to mark the bacterium as dangerous. However, in its natural environment, saliva, the bacterium succeeds in reversing the antibodies by tying to the “shaft” and thus remove their protective function. Image: Nordenfelt et al., Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol. 209 no. 13 2367-2381, 2012.

Pontus Nordenfelt Foto: Lars Owesson

(Click for high resolution press portrait)
Photo: Lars Owesson


Born: 1978
Family: I live in Södra Sandby outside Lund with my wife Susanne and our children Tilde (born 2010), Wilma (born 2011), Casper (born 2014) and Max (born 2017).
Interests: In my spare time I like to spend time with family and friends and am fond of cooking. I try to maintain my previously active film and music interests, but at the moment, there's not quite enough time.
Other: I was active for almost 20 years in the unusual sports field hockey (which is very big globally) and hope to eventually return to sports in some way. I am also familiar with our Swedish archipelagos from sailing and military service as a combat boat manager.

“I am passionate about science, openness and common sense, which I think are necessary for a well functioning society. Within the Young Academy of Sweden, I hope to engage in and improve the conditions for research, the spread of knowledge and an increased recruitment of talented researchers abroad.”

Sveriges unga akademi
Lilla Frescativägen 4A
SE 114 18 Stockholm