Pernille Nilsson

Academic Interests

I am a Human Biologist from Norway/Denmark and joined CEES as a PhD candidate in September 2013 to work on the evolution of immunity and immune responses to plague (Yersinia pestis) in the great gerbil (Rhombomys opimus). The great gerbil is native to arid and semi-arid deserts throughout Central Asia, and displays individual heterogeneity in plague resistance with a high degree of survival. As a key reservoir species for plague and other vector-borne diseases, the great gerbil is an important and interesting species for studying zoonosis in wild rodents. My project combines whole genome sequencing, comparative immunogenomics and transcriptomics to learn more about the biology and evolution of this enzootic host and to study the possible mechanisms of plague resistance. 

My previous work involved the evolution of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) resistance mutations in HIV patients and was conducted at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of my M.Sc. in Human Biology at the University of Copenhagen. 
Overall I am interested in genomics and immunology with a passion for pathogens and their interaction with their hosts.

Tags: Evolution, Plague, China, Immunology, Genomics


  • Nilsson, Pernille (2018). Insight into great gerbils's plague resistance.
  • Nilsson, Pernille (2017). A reference genome of Great gerbil – a highly plague-resistant rodent host.
  • Nilsson, Pernille (2017). Burrowing for clues to great gerbil plague resistance.
  • Nilsson, Pernille (2016). A reference genome of great gerbil a highly plague resistant rodent host.
  • Nilsson, Pernille & Jakobsen, Kjetill Sigurd (2015). Finner DNA-rester av pestbakterier fra svartedauden. Apollon : Forskningsmagasin for Universitetet i Oslo.  ISSN 0803-6926.
  • Nilsson, Pernille & Jakobsen, Kjetill Sigurd (2015). Pestbakterier fra jernalder og svartedauden analyseres i Norge. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).  ISSN 0804-3116.
  • Nilsson, Pernille; Easterday, William Ryan; Schmid, Boris Valentijn; Jentoft, Sissel; Jakobsen, Kjetill Sigurd; Zhange, Yujiang; yang, Ruifu & Stenseth, Nils Christian (2014). Plague and the Chinese experience – how to collaborate and work in China.
  • Nilsson, Pernille (2013). Evolution of host immunity and immune responses to plague (Yersinia pestis) – a case study of the great gerbils.
  • Nilsson, Pernille (2013). Evolution of the host immunity and immune responses to plague (Yersinia pestis) – a case study of the great gerbil.

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Published Dec. 13, 2013 12:45 PM - Last modified Aug. 24, 2018 2:52 PM