Ulf Ribacke is currently a Research Associate with the Harvard-Broad malaria research team, an effort led by Professor Dyann Wirth. His primary research interests center on understanding the biological impact of genetic variation in the lethal malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. He is particularly interested in genes that are under recent positive selection and his current research focus on translating this genetic variability into parasite biology. This work entails utilizing a broad range of molecular approaches, such as forward and reverse parasite genetics, comparative transcription analyses, proteomics to characterize protein-protein interactions, and metabolomics.
Ulf was first exposed to Plasmodium falciparum research as a foreign exchange student in the laboratory of Professor Kiaran Kirk at Australian National University, where he studied nutrient transporters in the parasite plasma membrane. After graduating, he joined the laboratory of Professor Mats Wahlgren at Karolinska Institutet as a PhD student, during which time he also managed a core facility for microarray and attended the Biology of Parasitism course in Woods Hole, MA. Ulf’s thesis work centered on increasing our understanding of parasite virulence and malaria disease severity, and involved studies of antigenic variation, parasite sequestration and multiplication, and genome wide identification of transcriptional differences, and gene copy number variation. A substantial part of his work was conducted in Apac and Kampala, Uganda.