Class of 2013-14
Uppsala University, Sweden
Wolf Prize in Agriculture
Foreign Associate Member, National Academy of Sciences (US)
Among the world’s most renowned scholars in the genomic and molecular study of domestic animals, Leif Andersson—winner of the 2014 Wolf Prize in Agriculture – has carved a scientific niche by approaching farm animals as model organisms.
As group leader and professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, Andersson analyzes interbreeding among species of farm animals—such as between wild boars and domestic pigs—to identify the genes and mutations that affect specific traits. He also investigates how the mutations may alter the function and regulation of the genes.
Andersson and his research team compare genomes from many species of domestic animals to discover the molecular mechanisms and underlying traits that are important to human and veterinary medicine. They study the genetic background of phenotypic traits such as gaits in horses as well as disorders such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory diseases. Their discoveries provide insights in genetics, animal breeding, evolution, and biomedical research.
A professor in functional genomics in the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology at Uppsala University, Andersson also serves as a guest professor in molecular animal genetics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.
He earned his doctorate from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in 1984.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Andersson has received the Thureus Prize in Natural History and Medicine from the Royal Society of Sciences, the Linneus Prize in Zoology from the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund, the Hilda and Alfred Eriksson’s Prize in Medicine from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Olof Rudbeck Prize from Uppsala Medical Society.
He has published more than 330 scientific articles, received six patents and filed applications for two more patents. He has mentored twenty-five students to doctorate or professional degrees.
Andersson collaborated with James E. Womack, distinguished professor; David Threadgill, professor; Loren C. Skow, professor; Terje Raudsepp, associate professor; and other faculty-researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. In January 2014, the Wolf Foundation selected Andersson for the Wolf Prize in Agriculture to honor his use of cutting-edge genomic technologies in animal research. The Wolf Prize is considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize.