Ulf Pettersson on Current Research
  Ulf Pettersson     Biography    
Recorded: 20 Aug 2003

My career area has made a rather sharp turn recently because I’m now the vice-president of my university, of Upsala University. So, I’m head of the faculties of medicine and pharmacy at Upsala, which is the oldest university in Scandinavia. So I’m spending a lot of time trying to restructure the faculty. I’m hoping to achieve something similar to Cold Spring Harbor, improving science and recruiting the right people and so forth. I’m still doing some science but much less than before because of time limitations.

I’m interested in still in the genetic disorders. We’re interested in the common diseases, sort of common complex disease like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis; we’re doing some work on schizophrenia as well. I’m hunting for genes in those cases.

I’ve also an interest—which probably started in the genetics of behavior which I think is challenging, somewhat scary field.

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.