Ulf Ahlgren obtained a PhD in Medical Molecular biology at Umeå University (UmU) in 1999, focusing on transcriptional regulation of endocrine cell differentiation in the pancreas. After graduation, he worked a shorter period as head of the Umeå Transgenic Core Facility. He was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Swedish Foundation for Internationalisation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), and he obtained post-doctoral training at the Medical Research Council, Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK. His post-doctoral work focused on tissue interactions during development of the spleno-pancreatic region and he also contributed to the development of a novel imaging technology, optical projection tomography (OPT), which for the first time enabled mesoscopic imaging of mm-cm sized specimen with high molecular specificity and resolution.
In 2002, Ulf was recruited to the Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM) UmU on a tenure track position, and he also received an Assistant Professorship position from the Swedish Research Council. In 2006, he became became Associate Professor (Docent) in Medical Developmental Biology. At UCMM, Ulf’s lab has further increased the capacity of the OPT imaging technology to enable imaging of intact organs from rodent disease models. Facilitated by these advances, the lab has over the years presented novel information regarding aspects of pancreas biology ranging from normal pancreatic anatomy to e.g. disturbed proliferation, destruction, neogenesis, preservation and cellar re-programming of pancreatic cell-types. Based on such 3D data of the pancreas, he recently contributed the chapter on “the Pancreas” in the leading atlas of mouse anatomy.
Today, the lab runs two primary lines of research. The first line attempts to further utilise mesoscopic imaging techniques to provide the hitherto most detailed assessment of the relationship between the development of diabetes and (remaining) islet mass in the human pancreas. The group also has a strong interest in the potential of vibrational spectroscopy to perform biochemical analyses of the pancreatic islets in vivo. Since 2011 Ulf is working as a full time Professor of Molecular Medicine at UCMM, and since 2016 he has been appointed head-, and deputy head, respectively of UCMM.
Ulf research group has obtained funding from; the Swedish Research Council, the European Union, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (New York), the NovoNordisk foundation, the Kempe Foundations, the Diabetes Wellness Foundation, Barndiabetesfonden & Diabetesfonden.
Ask Ulf about: optical imaging techniques, pancreas anatomy, 3D modelling of biological data, diabetes and mouse models.