Contact Information

Faculty Office:
Viikinkaari 9 (P.O. Box 56)
00014 University of Helsinki
Phone +358-(0)294 1911 (University)


Flamma intranet


Drug Transport and Delivery
Symposium in Helsinki
August 26-27, 2014


Welcome to the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Helsinki!

Pharmacy is a multidisciplinary field of science. It specialises in medicinal treatment and studies drugs, medicines and their development, use and effects mainly from the point of view of natural sciences, health sciences, as well as social sciences.

The Faculty of Pharmacy offers Bachelor's, Master's and postgraduate programmes. The Faculty also provides professional postgraduate education in industrial pharmacy for those with a Bachelor or Master's degree in pharmacy and plays an active part in the continuing education in the field.

The Faculty is also nationally responsible for the Swedish-language Master's programmes in Pharmacy.




Pharmacy research Top10 index

World-class research in pharmacy at the University of Helsinki (3.12.2014)

Research in pharmacy was rated highly in the Academy of Finland Tieteen tila (The State of Science) report for 2014. Successful recruitments and new technology provide opportunities to further improve the University's international cooperation and funding base.



Hélder Santos

Reward for exceptionally productive research work for Hélder Santos (6.11.2014)

The Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy has decided to reward Dr. Hélder Santos for his exceptionally productive research work in 2014. Dr. Santos has published 29 articles in peer rewied journals by the end of October.

Hélder Santos Lab >>


€ 283.000 grant for a molecular nanomachine for Hongbo Zhang (28.10.2014)

Dr. Hongbo Zhang has been awarded a Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation grant to build a porous silicon-based multifunctional nanoshuttle for cancer therapy. The grant is for three years.

Hongbo Zhang in research database TUHAT >>


Vincenzo Cerullo awarded the Outstanding Young Investigator Award in Gene and Cell Therapy (27.10.2014)


Assistant professor Vincenzo Cerullo has been awarded the Outstanding Young Investigator Award in Gene and Cell Therapy 2014 by ESGCT, European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. The € 1,000 award is given to a young investigator from PhD through to 9 years post doc.

Vincenzo Cerullo's interview (2012) >>


A PhD position in Supramolecular Drug Delivery (21.10.2014)


A PhD position in Supramolecular Drug Delivery is available at the Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, University of Helsinki, together with the Biohybrid Materials group at Aalto University.



Monitoring steroids and vitamin D: new methods (2.10.2014)


For analyzing steroids, vitamin D and oxysterols, Linda Ahonen has developed new methods based on mass spectrometry. These compounds, members of the lipid group, are important in the function of the human body. In many cases, the monitoring of these analytes can be of high value.
"With some additional development, some of the presented methods could be implemented for example in routine laboratories", says Linda Ahonen in her doctoral thesis.




New tools for cell therapy developed


Leena-Stiina Kontturi found out in her doctoral dissertation that hydrogel made of cross-linked collagen and interpenetrating hyaluronic acid is promising in capsulating cells producing anti-angiogenic protein for the treatment of retinal neovascularization. She also developed a cell-encapsulating device and a PK/PD model that could be used to predict therapeutic responses after intravitreal anti-angiogenic drug delivery.



porous silicon-based multicomposite carrier

Porous silicon-based multicomposites can carry simultaneously different therapeutical molecules


There is a huge interest for creating multicomposites that could carry several different kinds of therapeutic molecules simultaneously for controlled drug delivery. Dongfei Liu's doctoral dissertation shows how a promising porous silicon-based multicomposite carrier was designed, prepared and characterized. Multicomposite systems represent a promising platform for future targeted combination therapies.



nanocellulose hydrogel liver cells

Wood-derived nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel suitable for 3D culture of liver cells


New organotypic liver cell cultures are needed to predict the metabolism, excretion, and safety of chemical compounds. Melina Malinen has in her doctoral dissertation developed 3D culture methods for licer cells. In 3D structure, the cells can function more normally than in nowadays more typical 2D cultures.



Heikki Ruskoaho

Professor Heikki Ruskoaho a new chairman of the Board of the Academy of Finland


Professor Heikki Ruskoaho has been appointed a chairman of the Board of the Academy of Finland. The term lasts till the end of 2018.

Academy of Finland >>


Finnish research into ocular medication: FDA funding secured for the first time (27.8.2014)

Research into ocular medication carried out in Finland has secured a significant 250 000 dollar funding from the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, which oversees the use of drugs and drug approval.



New peptides, new means to treate prostate cancer (25.8.2014)

Kristian Meinander has synthesized peptides which are able to activate a protein that limits the growth of prostate tumours.



liposome Aniket Magarkar's doctoral thesis

Molecular dynamics simulations help developing targeted drug delivery (22.8.2014)

Aniket Magarkar's doctoral thesis helps to understand how artificial bubbles of lipids called drug delivery liposomes (DDLs) can interact with proteins of the blood plasma and immune system. Once these interactions are better understood , the novel DDLs can be designed for specific drug delivery purposes.



eye photo 123rf

New hope for AMD patiets (20.8.2014)

Astrid Subrizi has in her doctoral thesis reconstructed a working retinal pigment epithelium using stem cells and synthetic polymer polyimide as supporting scaffold. Destruction of the retinal pigment epithelium is a cause of disabling age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which affects one in three people older than 75 years in western countries. The artificial pigment epithelium could in the future be used to replace the non-functional one. It is also useful for screening new drugs for AMD.



GPEN 2014

The tenth Globalization of Pharmaceutics Education Network (GPEN) meeting in Helsinki 27-30 August (23.7.2014)

Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty representatives from 50 member institutions across five continents will convene at the University of Helsink for GPEN 2014. The program presents global pharmaceutical research via student podium and poster presentations, and short courses delivered by academic and industrial experts.

Also CRS Nordic Local Chapter symposium on drug transport and delivery takes place in Helsinki in late August.

GPEN 2014 27–30 August >>
GPEN homepage >>
CRS Nordic Local Chapter Drug Transport and Delivery Symposium 26–27 August >>


Researchers discover Achilles' heel of cancer cells (2.5.2014)

Cancer cells can be stopped by shutting down their vital cell mechanism, explains Professor Marikki Laiho who leads this research project and works both at Johns Hopkins University in the United States and in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki.



Luis Bimbo

International doctoral thesis award for Luis Bimbo (30.4.2014)

Luis Bimbo has been awarded with the Award for the Most Outstanding Doctoral Thesis in the Pharmaceutical Sciences. The € 5,000 award was given by the International Association for Pharmaceutical Technology (APV).

Luis Bimbo's doctoral dissertation >>


heart attack

New heart and brain cells through medication (31.1.2014)

A new Finnish research project lead by Professor Heikki Ruskoaho aims to discover methods that enable the heart and brain to fix the damage themselves.



nanochrystak formation

Optimized wet media milling effective in producing nanocrystals (11.12.2013)

Poorly soluble drugs are often a challenging problem in drug formulation. Wet media milling is one of the most popular techniques to prepare the nanocrystals. Peng Liu optimized the preparation conditions and characterization methods of nanosuspensions for poorly water-soluble drug compounds, then formulated the nanosuspensions into suitable pharmaceutical dosage forms, and finally tested the efficacy in in vivo.

Peng Liu's dissertation >>


MAREX project

Doctoral dissertation prize to Niina Suni (9.12.2013)

Niina Suni (Faculty of Pharmacy) and Jonna Saarimäki-Vire from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences have receved the Viikki Research Group Organization's (VRGO) best dissertation prizes, both worth € 1,000.

Niina Suni's dissertation >>
Jonna Saarimäki-Vire's dissertation >>


MAREX project

The MAREX project trawls the world's oceans for useful compounds (5.12.2013)

The world’s seas and oceans may yield significant new products for the needs of pharmaceutical and other industries. Led by Professor Heikki Vuorela, an international project collects, analyses and processes samples from around the world.



Jouni Hirvonen photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Professor Jouni Hirvonen to continue as the Dean (2.12.2013)

Professor Jouni Hirvonen continues as the Dean of the Faculty for 2014–2017.

Dean and Vice-Deans»»


Hélder Santos

Hélder Santos's group joins Biocentrum Helsinki (20.11.2013)

Hélder A. Santos's group has been chosen to join Biocentrum Helsinki, a large umbrella organization hosted by the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Biocentrum Helsinki coordinates, establishes and supports research infrastructures on the campuses on which the memeber research groups are situated. It also coordinates research training by supporting weekly seminar series as well as relevant lectures and symposia in the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Hélder Santos's group is going to be a member of the BCH from 2014 till 2016.

Hélder A. Santos's web page »»
Biocentrum Helsinki »»


Structurally more simple group of C1 domain ligands found – possible effects for Alzheimer's research (4.11.2013)

Diacylglycerol (DAG) -mediated signalling controls many cellular processes that are often deregulated in cancer. The protein kinase C (PKC) family is the best-characterized member of DAG effectors with a DAG-responsive C1 domain. Activation of PKC is considered a potential future therapeutic strategy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The C1 domain thus represents a well-recognized drug target. However, the existing C1 domain ligands are extremely complex. Virpi Talman found out in her doctoral dissertation that derivatives of 5-(hydroxymethyl)isophthalic acid could be a promising novel group of C1 domain ligands.

Virpi Talman's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


New LAAPPI method for studying neutral and nonpolar compounds in MSI

Anu Vaikkinen focused in her doctoral dissertation on direct open air surface sampling and ionization mass spectrometry methods. She developed LAAPPI, a method using a novel laser ablation atmospheric pressure photoionization ion source. The method enables analyses of at  about 300 μm resolution.

Anu Vaikkinen's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


Drugs used for Alzheimer's activate the growth factor system in the brain

One promising approach to tackle the Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the protection of neurons and restoration of synaptic connections with neurotrophic factors. Henri Autio found in his doctoral dissertation that donepezil and galantamine, drugs commonly used to treat AD, activate neurotrophin receptors in the mouse brain.

Henri Autio's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


Steroid glucuronides found in the brain for the first time

Using the capillary liquid chromatography-electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry (CapLC-MS/MS) method, steroid glucuronides were observed for the first time in thebrain. Another method showed that the concentrations of 36 targeted steroids and steroid glucuronides as well as the mostly unidentified C21-steroid glucuronides clearly altered during the pregnancy. The concentrations of the steroids and steroid glucuronides gradually increased during pregnancy, decreased rapidly just before or during delivery, and returned to control sample level five days after the delivery, says Sirkku Jäntti in her doctoral dissertation.

Sirkku Jäntti's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


Marja Airaksinen

Professor Marja Airaksinen chosen as the Pharmacist of the Year 2013 (25.9.2013)

Professor Marja Airaksinen has been chosen as the Pharmacist of the Year 2013 by the Finnish Pharmacists' Association.

Finnish Pharmacists' Association: press release (in Finnish) »»


liposome nanoparticle

Polymer and lipid based nanocarriers are suitable for drug and gene delivery

The composition and architecture of nanocarriers have a crucial impact on DNA condensation, stability of the complexes and transfection efficacy. In liposomal cancer drug targeting, PEG shield may hinder the targeting efficiency of small molecular peptides. Julia Lehtinen states in her doctoral dissertation that Intraperitoneal administration of liposomal drugs seems to be promising route for targeting to tumors located in the peritoneal cavity.

Julia Lehtinen's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


SPR biosensor method

SPR and QCM excellent techniques for nanoparticle characterization

When in vitro characterization and evaluation of the targeting of nanoparticle drug delivery systems is needed, surface sensitive non-labelled surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) biosensors are excellent choices, says Huamin Liang.

Huamin Liang's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


doctoral dissertation picture V. Somerpuro

Feeling of pain has also a genetical background

People carrying a certain mutation of COMT gene can tolerate pain longer than the others. Substances preventing the COMT action can alleviate neuropathic pain which is generally difficult to treat.

Oleg Kambur's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


Birch trees

Betulin derivatives: antiviral and antibacterial effects in vitro

Outer birch bark has up to 30% dry weight triterpene betulin which can easily be isolated. Sami Alakurtti synthesized and screened two sets of betulin derivatives for antiviral, antileishmanial and antibacterial agents for his doctoral dissertation. Several derivatives proved effective against Semliki Forest virus and Chlamydia pneumoniae in vitro. Most of the derivatives also weren't toxic to the host cell lines.

Sami Alakurtti's doctoral dissertation in E-thesis»»


Arto Urtti

Professor Arto Urtti receives an EUFEPS award

European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS) has given for the first time the Distinguished Service Award.

The award was given to professor Arto Urtti for exhibiting exceptional and valuable
professional service to EUFEPS, also demonstrating initiative and dedication in their roles.  Arto Urtti was the editor-in-chief of European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the journal of EUFEPS, for 10 years.

Arto Urtti in research database Tuhat »»


Aniket Magarkar

Aniket Magarkar amongst the 30 under 30 in Scientific American

PhD student Aniket Magarkar from CDR is attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting together with PhD Tiina Sikanen. Aniket Magarkar, dealing with drug delivering liposomes, was chosen by the Scientific American to be amongst the 30 under 30 to be presented in the magazine.

Aniket Magarkar in Scientific American »»

Aniket Magarkar in research database Tuhat »»

CDR pages »»


Helder A. Santos

Hélder A. Santos receives the Faculty's Young Researcher's Award

This year's Faculty of Pharmacy Young Researcher's Award goes to Hélder A. Santos. The EUR 10,000 award was given now for the second time. Altogether six applications were sent to the nomination committee.
Doctor Hélder A. Santos has previously been awarded for example with the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for five years.

Hélder A. Santos's web page »»

Interview (ERC Starting Grant) »»



Doctoral dissertation 7th March 2013: The research of metabolic enzymes may enhance the development of new medicines

Many medicines and body's own molecules are soluble in fats. That's why they cannot easily be exctreted and may accumulate in the body. The human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs ) are able to modify fat-soluble substances towards being more soluble in water.
– The development of new medicines may be speeded up by results gained from the UGT research, says Nenad Manevski.

Nenad Manevski's thesis »»

Dissertations and other events on Viikki Campus »»


Petteri Heljo

Doctoral dissertation: A rare sugar is suitable for protecting protein-structured drugs

Melibiose is a disaccharide that can be extracted out of sugar beet commonly grown in Finland. In the future it may keep rheumatism and cancer drugs longer in good working order.

More »»


European Research Council

Doctoral dissertation: Nanofibrillar cellulose quarantees an even drug delivery


Nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC) is becoming an effective tool when slow and even release of medicinal substances is needed. NFC can be used for example in transdermal patches or gynaecological devices, says Ruzica Kolakovic in her thesis.

More »»


European Research Council

Two 1.5 million euro ERC starting grants to the Faculty of Pharmacy researchers

This year, first time ever, two of the researchers in the Faculty of Pharmacy get an ERC starting grant. Hélder A. Santos is focusing on nanovectors prepared of porous silicone. Tiina Sikanen received her grant for producing micro total analysis systems for chemical analysis.

More »»


Vincenzo Cerullo

New associate professor Vincenzo Cerullo: Personalized drugs are on the way

Vincenzo Cerullo started in the beginning of September as a tenure track associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy. He focuses on personalized drugs – drugs that work only for a specific tumor in a specific patient.

More »»