Hanna Oksanen
Senior scientist

Department of Biosciences

Viikinkaari 9
(P.O. Box 56)
00014 University of Helsinki


Tel: +358 (0)2941 59104
Fax: +358 (0)9 386 7170

Oksanen Group


Molecular details of prokaryotic viruses

Viruses and their prokaryotic host cells (archaea and bacteria) form the largest number of biological entities on Earth. However, while numerous pathogenic viruses have been extensively studied, our understanding of viruses in general and how the entire viral universe is structured remains largely unknown.

We are probing the molecular details of prokaryotic viruses and their interactions with their host cells. The viruses (mainly membrane-containing ones) are used to unravel the viral  functions (infection, replication, assembly) at the molecular and atomic level, and consequently answer to questions on structural and genomic diversity and relatedness.

We are currently integrating environmental approaches (isolation of new viruses and prokaryotes) to functional and structural analyses of them.


The research includes also the prokaryotic hosts of the isolated viruses and the microbe-derived antimicrobial toxins secreted by these cells isolated mainly from highly saline environments. Combining molecular and atomic data on viruses, their hosts and antimicrobial compounds, we will also obtain information on microbial ecosystems and virus evolution.

The work is part of the EU ESFRI Instruct initiative (Integrated Structure Biology Initiative for Europe), where we operate the Instruct Centre for Virus Production (Instruct ICVIR). In this context, we are developing virus production, purification and crystallization methods for academy and industry.

Further information in Tuhat database on Hanna Oksanen and her publications.