Ulf Pettersson on Rich Roberts’ Nobel Prize
  Ulf Pettersson     Biography    
Recorded: 20 Aug 2003

Yes, I think splicing was an obvious thing to recognize for a Nobel Prize. I think it was very clear to me that Rich was the strong, together with Phil Sharp, was the strong candidate. I meant they made their discoveries, as far as I know, independent of each other. I think the problem here in Cold Spring Harbor was that there were many people involved. For instance, my friends, my dear friends, Louise Chow and Tom Broker did very important parts of this work. So I think it’s just sad that the Nobel Committee cannot honor more than three people so it became difficult to have more than Rich—or impossible to have more than Rich and Phil getting the prize.

But I think Rich’s contribution was very outstanding. So he clearly deserved that prize, like Phil did.

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.