Ulf Pettersson on Meeting Jim Watson
  Ulf Pettersson     Biography    
Recorded: 20 Aug 2003

Very well. I came and walked into his office and we had a brief discussion. I told what I had been discussing with Joe, and I think he said fine, go ahead and do this. That was essentially it. Then we became rather good friends. My wife is a physician, like myself, with a longer clinical career than I had. An interesting thing was that sometimes when Jim needed some medical help for his kids, he would come to our house. So in this way we developed friendship, which I have appreciated very much. So we saw Jim quite a bit privately. I mean they were at our house. And we were with them. I visited them in Boston and we stayed with them in Boston. And they’ve been to see us in Sweden, so that was really wonderful.

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.