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Published: 2023-03-24

Get to know Magnus Wolf-Watz – New UCMR PI

NEWS Professor Magnus Wolf-Watz comes from Umeå and does research here today. He is a biophysiological chemist and expert in the dynamics and function of proteins.

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

UCMR is a melting pot of great projects and interesting individuals

Why did you want to join UCMR? What are your expectations?

“I joined because UCMR is a vibrant network full of talented scientists, postdocs and PhD students. UCMR is a melting pot of great projects and interesting individuals and I am certain that the knowledge and motivation of these individuals will make a creative and successful environment where my labmembers and myself can develop.”

What is your research about?

“We are interested in the linkages between protein structure and dynamics and bacterial infectivity and we have a project on important proteins for yersinia pathogenicity together with Matthew Francis, professor at the Department of molecular Biology.”

What was it that made you choose to study and work in this subject?

“The fact that protein structure and dynamics dictates biological function is a beautiful and fascinating linkage, and the fact that proteins finds their own way to their function through natural selection ensures that there are virtually no limit to the number of mechanism to discover. “

What is it like to do research at Umeå University?

“I like that it’s non-hierarchical university with easy access to collegues.”

What is your best advice to younger researchers?

”Follow your own path!”

What do you like to do when you do not work?

“Hang out with my family.”


Magnus Wolf-Watz was born in 1971 in Umeå. He obtained a master's degree in biochemistry at KTH in 1996. Five years later, he did his doctorate in structural biology at the same university. In the years 2001–2004, he was on a postdoctoral stay at Brandeis University outside Boston, USA. Since 2005, he has run a research group at Umeå University that focuses on understanding the connection between protein dynamics and function. In 2010 he was appointed associate professor in biological chemistry at Umeå University, and since 2005 he has been responsible for an advanced course in protein chemistry. In 2018 he was appointed professor i biophysical chemistry.

Short facts about Magnus Wolf-Watz

Comes from: Umeå 
Me in three words: Energetic, loyal and curious
Interests: Cross country skiing and planting trees
Reading: Facts and fiction. Last book was a biography of Roald Amundsen. 
Watching: Play offs in ice hockey
Unknown talent: I have a pretty vivid imagination.
Two things on my bucket list: Visit Greenland and become more organized
Wanted to become when I was a child: I had no defined goals!
Best holiday spot: India and Nepal
If I had a time machine: I would go to the 1970’s for studies in Berkley because of the open and progressive atmosphere
Enjoys with Umeå: An easy life with great quality!