Ulf Pettersson on Arrival at CSHL
  Ulf Pettersson     Biography    
Recorded: 20 Aug 2003

As a graduate student in Upsala, of course, I knew about the Cold Spring Harbor Symposia. And during my career in Upsala, I learned about Jim and his taking over as the director of the lab. I knew about Jim because my mother actually gave me a Swedish translation of The Double Helix, which I read as a young man, and enjoyed very much. And realized that it would be a great privilege to come to work near Jim. I came here in 1971 as a postdoc actually to work with Joe Sambrook. Sambrook gave a seminar in Upsala, which is my home university, and offered me a position and I came here. I came the very same day as Phil Sharp arrived in Cold Spring Harbor.

Ulf Pettersson, geneticist and virologist, is the vice-president of the University of Upssala in Sweden, a professor of medical genetics, and a leader of a group on genetic disease in the Department of Genetics and Pathology. His scientific research is focused on finding genes linked with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

After finishing his medical degree in Sweden and his thesis on adenovirus proteins, he came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He worked as a postdoc alongside Joe Sambrook and Rich Roberts. He researched transcription and the methods by which to grow and extract adenovirus DNA and studied how to use restriction enzymes to map viral chromosomes. His work led to the understanding of how the chromosome is organized and how transcription takes place. In the 80’s he slowly altered his concentration from virology to genetics.

After leaving Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1973 he became a professor of microbiology at the University of Uppsala and then chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics. He was a member of the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) (1992-1998), and is currently a member of both the Finnish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Academy of Sciences.