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Ulf Ahlgren

Research qualifications: Docent



Works at

Professor at Department of Medical and Translational Biology Section: Section for Molecular Medicine
hus H, Johan Bures väg 12, Biologihuset Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå



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.

Nature Communications, Springer Nature 2024, Vol. 15, (1)
Lehrstrand, Joakim; Davies, Wayne I. L.; Hahn, Max; et al.
Frontiers in Neuroscience, Frontiers Media S.A. 2024, Vol. 18
Willekens, Stefanie M. A.; Morini, Federico; Mediavilla, Tomás; et al.
Nature Communications, Springer Nature 2023, Vol. 14, (1)
Chotiwan, Nunya; Rosendal, Ebba; Willekens, Stefanie M. A.; et al.
Type-1 diabetes: methods and protocols, New York: Humana Press 2023 : 1-19
Hahn, Max; Ahlgren, Ulf
Scientific Data, Nature Publishing Group 2022, Vol. 9
Hahn, Max; Nord, Christoffer; van Krieken, Pim P.; et al.
Frontiers in Endocrinology, Frontiers Media S.A. 2021, Vol. 12
Alanentalo, Tomas; Hahn, Max; Willekens, Stefanie M. A.; et al.
eNeuro, Society for Neuroscience 2021, Vol. 8, (5)
Davies, Wayne I. L.; Sghari, Soufien; Upton, Brian A.; et al.
Molecular Pharmaceutics, American Chemical Society (ACS) 2021, Vol. 18, (12) : 4428-4436
Eriksson, Maria; Litwak, Sara A.; Yun, Yan; et al.
Communications Biology, Springer Nature 2021, Vol. 4, (1)
Hahn, Max; Nord, Christoffer; Eriksson, Maria; et al.
Journal of Pathology, John Wiley & Sons 2021, Vol. 254, (1) : 31-45
Quilichini, Evans; Fabre, Mélanie; Nord, Christoffer; et al.
Molecular Metabolism, Elsevier 2021, Vol. 53
Serra-Navarro, Berta; Fernandez-Ruiz, Rebeca; García-Alamán, Ainhoa; et al.
Trends in endocrinology and metabolism, Elsevier 2020, Vol. 31, (12) : 905-917
Gurzov, Esteban N.; Ke, Pu Chun; Ahlgren, Ulf; et al.
Scientific Reports, Springer Nature 2020, Vol. 10, (1)
Hahn, Max; Nord, Christoffer; Franklin, Oskar; et al.
Communications Biology, Nature Publishing Group 2020, Vol. 3, (1)
Hahn, Max; van Krieken, Pim P.; Nord, Christoffer; et al.
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, Springer 2018, Vol. 41, (6) : 691-701
Grong, E.; Nord, Christoffer; Arbo, I. B.; et al.
Diabetologia, Springer 2018, Vol. 61, (4) : 896-905
Medina, Anya; Parween, Saba; Ullsten, Sara; et al.
Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group 2017, Vol. 7
Nord, Christoffer; Eriksson, Maria; Dicker, Andrea; et al.
Scientific Data, Vol. 4
Parween, Saba; Eriksson, Maria; Nord, Christoffer; et al.
Scientific Reports, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP 2017, Vol. 7
van Krieken, Pim P.; Dicker, Andrea; Eriksson, Maria; et al.
Scientific Reports, Vol. 6
Eter, Wael A.; Parween, Saba; Joosten, Lieke; et al.
Surgical Endoscopy, Vol. 30, (2) : 532-542
Grong, Eivind; Kulseng, Bård; Arbo, Ingerid Brænne; et al.
Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group 2016, Vol. 6
Parween, Saba; Kostromina, Elena; Nord, Christoffer; et al.
Kaufman's atlas of mouse development supplement: with coronal sections, Elsevier 2015 : 85-94
Hörnblad, Andreas; Nord, Christoffer; Parween, Saba; et al.
Scientific Reports, Vol. 5
Ilegems, E.; van Krieken, P. P.; Edlund, P. K.; et al.
Disease Models and Mechanisms, Vol. 8, (12) : 1517-1529
Jones, Iwan; Hägglund, Anna-Carin; Törnqvist, Gunilla; et al.
PLOS ONE, Vol. 10, (5)
Witek, Barbara; El Wakil, Abeer; Nord, Christoffer; et al.
Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 32, (1) : 76-83
Baeyens, Luc; Lemper, Marie; Leuckx, Gunter; et al.
Molecular Biology of the Cell, American Society for Cell Biology 2014, Vol. 25, (8) : 1384-1395
Nord, Hanna; Burguiere, Anne-Cecile; Muck, Joscha; et al.
TrAC. Trends in analytical chemistry, Vol. 44 : III-III
Ahlgren, Ulf
Optics Express, Optical Society of America 2013, Vol. 21, (14) : 16584-16604
Cheddad, Abbas; Nord, Christoffer; Hörnblad, Andreas; et al.
Journal of Visualized Experiments, Vol. 71
Eriksson, Anna U.; Svensson, Christoffer; Hörnblad, Andreas; et al.
Physical Biology, Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP) 2013, Vol. 10, (3) : 036009-
Jo, Junghyo; Hörnblad, Andreas; Kilimnik, German; et al.
Cell Death and Disease, London: Nature Publishing Group 2013, Vol. 4 : e523-
Van de Casteele, M.; Leuckx, G.; Baeyens, L.; et al.
Imaging in Medicine, Vol. 4, (1) : 5-7
Ahlgren, Ulf
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, Vol. 31, (1) : 1-15
Cheddad, Abbas; Svensson, Christoffer; Sharpe, James; et al.
Islets, Landes bioscience 2012, Vol. 4, (1) : 10-19
Jo, Junghyo; Hara, Manami; Ahlgren, Ulf; et al.
Diabetologia, Vol. 55, (12) : 3331-40
Pardo, F N; Altirriba, J; Pradas-Juni, M; et al.
Type 1 diabetes: pathogenesis, genetics and immunotherapy
Ahlgren, Ulf; Kostromina, Elena
Islets, Austin: Landes Bioscience 2011, Vol. 3, (4) : 204-208
Hörnblad, Andreas; Cheddad, Abbas; Ahlgren, Ulf
PLOS ONE, San Francisco, CA: Public Library of Science 2011, Vol. 6, (6) : e21753-
Hörnblad, Andreas; Eriksson, Anna; Sock, Elisabeth; et al.
Developmental Biology, Academic Press 2011, Vol. 352, (2) : 267-277
Sand, Fredrik Wolfhagen; Hörnblad, Andreas; Johansson, Jenny K; et al.
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Springer Netherlands 2010, Vol. 654 : 39-57
Ahlgren, Ulf; Gotthardt, Martin
Diabetes, Vol. 59, (7) : 1756-1764
Alanentalo, Tomas; Hörnblad, Andreas; Mayans, Sofia; et al.
Islets, Vol. 1, (2) : 163-164
Ahlgren, Ulf; Hörnblad, Andreas
Differentiation, Vol. 77, (4) : 386-394
Lorén, Christina E; Schrader, John W; Ahlgren, Ulf; et al.
Journal of Biomedical Optics, Bellingham, WA: SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering 2008, Vol. 13, (5) : 054070-
Alanentalo, Tomas; Lorén, Christina E; Larefalk, Asa; et al.
Diabetologia, Vol. 51, (12) : 2148-2154
Holmberg, Dan; Ahlgren, Ulf
Nature Methods, Vol. 4, (1) : 31-33
Alanentalo, Tomas; Asayesh, Amir; Morrison, Harris; et al.
Genes & Development, Vol. 20, (16) : 2208-2213
Asayesh, Amir; Sharpe, James; Watson, Robert P; et al.
Developmental Dynamics, Vol. 232, (4) : 1105-1114
Asayesh, Amir; Alanentalo, Tomas; Khoo, Nelson K S; et al.

Research groups

Head of research
Ulf Ahlgren