Contact information

Faculty office:
P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 2a, 2nd floor)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)294 1911

Faculty office open
Mon-Thu 12-14
Fri closed

International affairs, undergraduate studies and admission, Master's degree programmes:
bio-sci (at)

PhD studies and admission:
bio-phd (at)

bio-diploma (at)

Personnel affairs:
bio-hallinto (at)


core facilities department of biosciences

Welcome to the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences!


The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences with its neighbouring units forms the largest and most prominent scientific and educational unit for life sciences in Finland.

The significance of biological and environmental knowledge for the entire society is increasing. Applications of biosciences play significant role in health care and medical sciences. They also are extremely important in answering to environmental questions such as conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.

See also our departments:
Department of Biosciences
Department of Environmental Sciences



bacterial enzymes breaking up plant tissue

Plant-pathogen interactions: new results by combining transcriptomic, genomic, genetic, and phenotypic analyses (20.3. 2015)

The interactions between phytopathogenic bacteria and their host plants are an intricate web of signals and appropriate responses. Martin Broberg researched the regulation of the virulence of soft rot bacteria Pectobacterium wasabiae, and the damage-associated molecular pattern signaling triggered by plant cell wall damage in Arabidopsis thaliana and was able to highlight their connection.

barley field

Northern growth conditions enhance the grain processing properties in barley (20.3. 2015)

Ulla Holopainen-Mantila suggests in her doctoral thesis that the hordein, the major storage proteins in barley grains, should also be taken into account in the evaluation of the processing behaviour of barley grains. In the northern growing conditions the C hordein was entrapped deeper in the endosperm, which improved the hydration of grains during malting in three barley cultivars.


Mussel caging is a useful tool in biomonitoring (19.3. 2015)

Caged mussels (Mytilus trossulus) can be utilised to assess biological effects and tissue accumulation of complex mixtures of contaminants, proves Raisa Turja in her doctoral dissertation.

Tuuli Toivonen and Joona Lehtomäki

In favour of open data (18.3. 2015)

Tuuli Toivonen and Joona Lehtomäki have made their research data openly available online.

Faculty Office moves in early March (16.2. 2015)

The Faculty Office moves in a couple of weeks to Viikinkaari 2a. Because of the move, the services are closed on 2–6 March.

photo Veikko Somerpuro

Apply now for the right to pursue a doctoral degree! (4.2. 2015)

Application period is 4–25 February 2015. The applications are sent through an electric application portal Aava.

core facilities department of biosciences UH

Department of Biosciences: Core Facilities page open (26.1. 2015)

The core facilities are aimed for research groups, companies and authorities.

oily bird 123rf

Working group established to assess marine traffic risks in the Baltic Sea (21.1. 2015)

"The Gulf of Finland will receive special attention, " says Professor Sakari Kuikka.

stone wall 123rf

Boosting the immune system of city dwellers (12.1. 2015)

A new project attempts to find solutions to allergies and other immune defence disorders using methods from medicine and urban design.

Plantago lanceolata mildew

Pathogen strains competing for the same host plant change disease dynamics (8.1. 2015)

The epidemics caused by coinfection of several pathogen strains in a plant population is more severe than epidemics caused by single strains.

Heikki Setälä

Heikki Setälä becomes visiting professor in China (30.12. 2014)

Professor Heikki Setälä from the Department of Ecological Sciences wants to find out for example if the parks and forests of a big Chinese city, Shenyang, can purify air.

Actin dynamics change in dendritic spines as the spines develop (11.12. 2014)

In his doctoral dissertation, Mikko Koskinen developed a new approach to use fluorescence anisotropy to measure the level of actin bundling in dedritic spines. He also evaluated methods used to measure F-actin turnover in dendritic spines and the analysis of the data. He found out that the dynamics of F-actin change during the maturation of dendritic spines. The stable pool of F-actin increases in size and the turnover of the dynamic pool increases.

lake water photo: 123rf

Artificial sweeteners end up in surface waters and stay for a long time (10.12. 2014)

Many artificial sweeteners do not metabolise or degrade in wastewater treatment plants. Some also may have a photolytic half-life of 3–6 years, states Noora Perkola in her doctoral dissertation.

Helsinki Challenge

Three Faculty teams to semifinals in Helsinki Challenge (2.12. 2014)

Teams lead by Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, Kristina Lindström and Jari Niemelä search solutions to following everyday choices, developing Finnish agriculture towards a more sustainable future and building cooperation network for researching and supporting sustainable urban development.

Juho Kellosalo

Viikki Research Group Organisation's dissertation prize to Juho Kellosalo (1.12. 2014)

Kellosalo's doctoral dissertation from 2013 is a part of the research solving the TmPPase structure of a bacterium Themotoga maritima.

Petri Ala-Laurila

Award for scientific courage to Petri Ala-Laurila (24.11 2014)

Academy Research Fellow Petri Ala-Laurila receives an award for scientific courage on 27 November. Biophycisist Petri Ala-Laurila researches the absolute limits of vision.

Plantago lanceolata

Coinfection has a major role in driving disease dynamics in natural populations (19.11 2014)

In the dynamic pathogen metapopulation of Podosphaera plantaginis on Plantago lanceolata, local adaptation mediates pathogen life history trade-offs.

intein conserved sequence blocks

Intermolecular protein splicing: new uses in biotechnology (18.11 2014)

A. Sesilja Aranko describes in her doctoral dissertation an intein-mediated protein alternative splicing (iPAS) reaction which could be used to control protein functions in concentration and expression-order dependent manner.

Tempe Elephant Park, photo: Enrico Di Minin

Protected area expansion target: is a huge promise lost? (17.11 2014)

Globally coordinated protected area network expansion could deliver a result 50 percent more efficient compared to countries looking only at biodiversity within their own area. Land conversion is, however, fast degrading options for conservation.

faculty logo

EU's total responsibility for global emissions has increased (14.11 2014)

In her doctoral thesis Eija-Riitta Korhola, MEP during 1999–2014, seeks to explain why so little has been gained in international climate politics during the effort-taking climate actions of the past 20 years.

faculty logo

Department of Biosciences invites applications for the position of Professor of Microbiology (12.11 2014)

The Professor is specialising in the molecular and cellular biology of prokaryotes. The closing date for applications is Monday 15 December 2014.

a bat photo Risto Lindstedt

Bats identified as hosts of Bartonella mayotimonensis (4.11 2014)

The modern sequencing techniques used by Dr. Arto Pulliainen and his colleagues have shown that bats can carry a bacterial species previously been shown to cause deadly human infections in USA.

Yrjö Ykä Helariutta

Professor Yrjö Helariutta's team recruited to Cambridge (2.11 2014)

Yrjö Helariutta, professor of developmental plant biology, has been recruited to the University of Cambridge to continue his work there in the same capacity. Some of the members of his research group, approximately ten researchers in the Arabidopsis team, will move from Viikki to England. A handful of researchers focusing on vascular plants, will remain at the University of Helsinki, with Helariutta serving as their telecommuting superior.

Jouko Rikkinen University of Helsinki

Professor Jouko Rikkinen awarded a non-fiction prize for writers (27.10 2014)

The € 8 000 prize was given by the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers. Professor Rikkinen is known especially for his research about the symbiosis between algae and fungi but he is also a well-known and esteemed non-fiction writer.

adult goshawk photo Daniel Burgas

Retaining forests where raptors nest can help to protect biodiversity (24.10 2014)

Raptors can affect the distribution of other species and they can also be used to find forests with high biodiversity value, says Daniel Burgas in his doctoral dissertation.

Formica ants

Formica ant larvae readily engage in egg cannibalism (22.10 2014)

Formica ant larvae are far from powerless. Eva Schultner's thesis identifies larvae as individuals with selfish interests. The larvae have the power to act in social conflict. Egg cannibalism may allow larvae to have influence on their own caste fate or size and for example affect overall colony fitness.

southern white rhinoceros photo Enrico Di Minin

A legal trade in horn would improve rhino protection and help sustainable development (21.10 2014)

The extinction in the wild of the southern white rhino population could be prevented by letting local communities take responsibility of the animals and giving them permission to harvest horns in a controlled manner through a legal trade. Rhino horn is made of the same material as human hair and fingernails and grows back in 2–3 years.

Janne Sundell Lammi biological station

Janne Sundell appointed as the Director of the Lammi Biological Station (10.10 2014)

PhD Janne Sundell has been appointed as the Director of the Lammi Biological Station in Hämeenlinna. He has been the acting director of the station since 2009. Janne Sundell did his doctoral thesis on the effect on the population dynamics of the voles in 2002. He also researches the predators of the voles, such as stoats and weasels, and is interested also in brown bears and beavers.

bacteria compost

A plethora of useful microbes to be found in composts (8.10 2014)

By examining microbial communities in composts it might be possible to find new suppressive microbes against the soil-borne plant pathogens Pythium and Fusarium.

actin structure

Actin plays an important role in the nucleus (18.9 2014)

Kari-Pekka Skarp used a confocal microscope in finding out the active import and export methods of actin in the nuclei of living cells. The details on a biochemical level are also included in his doctoral thesis.

Glanville fritillary photo Tari Haahtela

Glanville fritillary genome sequenced (5.9 2014)

The Glanville fritillary is now the third species of butterfly in the world for which the full genome sequence and a high-resolution genetic map are available.

micronuclei Ghita Falck

Direct analysis of micronuclei may help assess chromosome alterations in vivo (26.8 2014)

Micronuclei are used as a biomarker of human genotoxic effect. The recognition of the contents of the micronuclei is of utmost importance. The direct analysis of micronuclei in uncultured peripheral T lymphocytes, combined with centromeric FISH, may provide a new possibility for the assessment of chromosome breakage and numerical chromosome alterations occurring in vivo, says Ghita Falck in her doctoral dissertation.

root growth Plethora

Core mechanism of root growth has been identified (25.8 2014)

Ari Pekka Mähönen and his colleagues have demonstrated how PLETHORA proteins and plant hormone auxin together orchestrate root growth.

tooth photo 123rf

Lab-grown teeth: maybe not a mission impossible (22.8 2014)

Maria Jussila's doctoral dissertation shows that there is potential in the human tooth tissue to create new teeth. The inhibition mechanism for this is, however, not yet known. Tooth stem cells could in the future be used for example treating hereditary tooth diseases.


Sequence databases are growing fast – new methods needed for operating (18.8 2014)

More and more sequences are submitted to public databases, so faster and computationally lighter methods are needed for sequence retrieval. Patrik Koskinen presents in his doctoral thesis a computationally more efficient tool a hundred times faster than the most commonly used BLAST. He also introduces new methods for the calculation of information content value so that it is possible to separate informative and uninformative annotations.