Published: 25-01-2016 10:01 | Updated: 25-01-2016 13:11

Petter Woll has been appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Petter Woll was recently appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellow at Karolinska Institutet and receives SEK 8,1 million during five years for his research on how sick stem cells affects blood cancer. He is now in the process of starting a research group at Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine (HERM).

Congratulations Petter! What does this appointment mean to you?

- It really means a lot and I´m very grateful! This means that I can continue the research I want during a longer time. I will also start a new research group here at HERM and will expand the platforms and collaborations that already exist, says Petter Woll.

What is your research about?
- I study how sick stem cells in bone marrow affect the blood cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome. It´s a type of leukemia that often affects people around 65-70 years. The sick cells have genetic changes in mRNA- splicing (a type of mutation) that interfere the production of healthy cells. I focus on how the mRNA- splicing affects the disease. Currently there are therapies that can prolong the life for the patients, but unfortunately leukemia is a disease the keeps coming back and our final goal is to cure the myelodysplastic syndrome completely.

You started at KI in August last year. What did you do before this?

- I made a Postdoc at Oxford University where I studied stem cells in Sten Eirik Jacobsen´s group (also a researcher at HERM). Before I moved to Oxford I lived in USA where I had a research project on heart and vascular diseases, it was a part of my Master course. I really liked research and decided to continue but focused on Hematology, which also became the topic for my PhD.
- But my hometown is Verdal, a small city north off Trondheim in Norway.

What are you doing next?
- I will start a research group at HERM. The first members I recruited are Stina Virding, research assistant, and Desmond Chin, Postdoc – they start in January and April. Then I need to get all research platforms in place and continue research.

Short about Petter
Born and raised: In the small city Verdal, north off Trondheim, Norway.
Leisure activities: “I´m Norwegian so of course I go cross-country skiing”, also like running, biking and hiking.
Read right now: A book about Norway during the World War II. I also read Scandinavian crime-novels, Jo Nesbo for example.