Published: 01-03-2024 11:24 | Updated: 27-03-2024 19:19

Oliver Billker is awarded the Medicine Doctor Axel Hirsch prize 2024

Malaria mosquito, credit: iStockphoto.
Photo: iStock

Umeå professor Oliver Billker is awarded the Medicine Doctor Axel Hirsch prize 2024 for his outstanding research in the field of malaria.

This prize is awarded annually as "recognition for a scientific article of high value published by a Swedish scientific researcher". Those awarded are selected through a nomination procedure.

The prize consists of a diploma and a prize sum.

Portrait of Oliver Billker
Oliver Billker. Photo: Mattias Petterson

Oliver Billker is a Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology at Umeå University, Sweden. 

Billker is an eminent researcher, leader, and mentor, who has significantly influenced biotechnology research in Umeå and internationally. His groundbreaking work focuses on the interactions of malaria parasites with hosts and vectors. Through advanced technology, his research has revealed key insights into mosquito immunity against malaria, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the parasite's lifecycle and potential disruption strategies. 

The motivation from the expert panel

The Axel Hirsch prize 2024 is awarded to Prof. Oliver Billker for his pioneering and important work to understand the genetics, pathogenesis and host/vector interactions of
malaria parasites.

The following three publications were chosen to represent his work:

  1. Mosquito cellular immunity at single-cell resolution. Raddi G, Barletta ABF, Efremova M, Ramirez JL, Cantera R, Teichmann SA, Barillas-Mury C, Billker O. Science. 2020. 369(6507):1128-1132.
  2. Inducible developmental reprogramming redefines commitment to sexual development in the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. Kent RS, Modrzynska KK, Cameron R, Philip N, Billker O*, Waters AP*. Nat Microbiol. 2018. 3(11):1206-1213. *Equal contribution.
  3. Functional Profiling of a Plasmodium Genome Reveals an Abundance of Essential Genes.
    Bushell E, Gomes AR, Sanderson T, Anar B, Girling G, Herd C, Metcalf T, Modrzynska K, Schwach F, Martin RE, Mather MW, McFadden GI, Parts L, Rutledge GG, Vaidya AB, Wengelnik K, Rayner JC, Billker O. Cell. 2017. 170(2):260-272.e8.


The recipient of the Medicine Doctor Axel Hirsch prize is celebrated during the Professors inauguration ceremony in Aula Medica, Karolinska Institutet in October.