Professor Leena Palotie receives the title of Academician of Science

The President of the Republic has awarded Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie the title of Academician on the nomination of the Academy of Finland.

Professor Leena Palotie receives the title of Academician of Science

The title of Academician can be awarded to highly distinguished Finnish or foreign scientists. A maximum of twelve Finnish scientists may hold the title at any one time.

Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie, D.Med.Sc., has forged an impressive career as a researcher in genetics and she is currently considered to be one of the world’s leading researchers in human genetics. Her research combining basic molecular biology and medicine has produced a great deal of new and important knowledge on many diseases and their underlying mechanisms, and has contributed to the development of new diagnostics and treatment methods.

When Finns are asked which living Finnish researcher they know, Leena Palotie’s name is the one that is mentioned most frequently. Leena Peltonen-Palotie has also played a significant role in training young researchers and she has made a concerted effort to develop Finnish researcher training and has been a leading figure in science policy both in Finland and on the international stage.

“My own continuous source of inspiration and subject of pride is the group of over 70 doctoral students that I have trained,” says Peltonen-Palotie.

Leena Peltonen-Palotie worked as a professor at the National Public Health Institute from 1991 to 1994 and at the National Public Health Institute and the University of Helsinki from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, she was invited to the University of California (UCLA) in the US to set up a new research institute. On completing this assignment, she returned to Finland in 2002 and worked until 2007 as an Academy Professor at the University of Helsinki and the National Public Health Institute.

Since autumn 2007, Peltonen-Palotie has worked in Cambridge heading up the human genetics programme of Europe's leading genome research institute, the Sanger Institute, and has also worked part-time as a research director at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Professor Peltonen-Palotie has been awarded numerous major science prizes and has held a large number of positions of trust in the fields of science policy and science.

“I wish to consider the title of Academician as an acknowledgement and recognition by the Finnish nation to a genetics researcher. I accept it with great pride and gratitude,” says the new Academician.

Text: Päivi Lehtinen
Photo: Academy of Finland, Communications Unit

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