Viikki Campus


Viikki – Green Campus for Life Sciences


The Viikki Campus of the University of Helsinki is an important concentration in the field of biosciences, and it is often called the “green campus”.

The Campus is home to four faculties (see the links to their web pages on the right), two independent research institutes of the University of Helsinki and the Viikki Science Library. It has more than 6,500 students and 1,600 teachers in such fields as environmental science, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, food research and economics in addition to biosciences.

The Research Cooperation Programme on Viikki Campus aims to increase multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research cooperation, as well as research support activities.

Read more: The Research Cooperation Programme (word)

Business of the future

The Campus also attracts an increasing number of businesses to the Makery. The Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and a part of the MTT Agrifood Research Finland are also situated in Viikki.

Natural beauty

The Campus also has a unique tropical garden, Gardenia, co-owned by the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, and the Viikinlahti conservation area, which is particularly popular among bird watchers.The residential area emphasizes ecological values.The natural surroundings, including recreational areas and nature reserves, form an unique combination with the other functions of the area.

Photo Liisa Lähteenmäki

Helsinki Challenge


A selection of news from the Viikki units' main web pages:

aquatic food webs, photo: Neo Martinez

Overfishing increases fluctuations in aquatic ecosystems

Professor Ilkka Hanski, a holder of the honorary title of Academician of Science, is the first ever ecologist and evolutionary biologist to receive the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in addition to the Balzan Prize and the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences.


Ilkka Hanski

Professor Ilkka Hanski receives the esteemed Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Professor Ilkka Hanski, a holder of the honorary title of Academician of Science, is the first ever ecologist and evolutionary biologist to receive the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in addition to the Balzan Prize and the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences.


Vincenzo Cerullo photo: Elina Raukko

A virus in tumours clothing

Cancer vaccine PeptiCRAd, developed by Assistant Professor Vincenzo Cerullo in the Faculty of Pharmacy, will be the first ever customisable immunotherapy. A virus covered with peptides from cancer cells directs the body’s anti-viral immunity towards the tumour.


Baltic Sea ecosystem modeling picture Asta Audzijonyte

Models help to predict the future of the Baltic Sea

Ecosystem modelling tools are necessary to explore how various human effects might affect Baltic Sea. But how complex the models should be? And how far into the future can we forecast? What will the future Baltic Sea look like?


young vulture photo Andrea Santangeli

Stepping up for vultures

Conservation scientists have so far largely focused on the biological side of conservation, but clearly almost no conservation project can succeed without considering the human dimension. Studying farmers’ behavior and decisions could help the conservation of species, such as vultures, that are strongly affected by the activities of humans.


Satu Kuure Institute of Biotechnology

Research in kidney development can provide solutions for many renal insufficiency patients

Supported by the Academy of Finland’s high-risk funding, Satu Kuure is studying the development of the kidneys and lower urinary tract.The research could help patients with congenital kidney disorders, cancer and diabetes.


Ville Hietakangas Institute of Biotechnology

Fruit fly research reveals genetic mechanisms of dietary sugar sensing

Scientists have identified a sugar sensing regulatory network, which is composed of several genes. Deregulation of this sugar sensing network leads to severely disturbed energy metabolism. The new insight gained in this study may also benefit research into human metabolic diseases.


Anamaria Balic Institute of Biotechnology

Growing whole teeth

Bad or missing teeth are not only an aesthetic matter, but they also contribute to the person's total health. MD and PhD Anamaria Balic aims at finding a way to grow tooth enamel and eventually whole teeth both in vitro and in vivo. She is one of the three recipients of the Academy of Finland special risk-taking funding in the Institute of Biotechnology for 2015–2016.


A man taking a photo. Photo: Anna Hausmann

Social media data could contribute to conservation science

Planning conservation actions requires up-to-date information on biodiversity, but also on human pressures. Scientists who collect data are few and far between on a global scale, but nature enthusiasts are everywhere. Spending time on social media might be helpful for biodiversity conservation.



Hope for antivirals against parechoviruses

The Butcher lab as part of the Airopico consortium has recently published an article providing an atomic model of human parechovirus 1. The atomic model was then used to define the epitopes and modes of neutralization for two potential therapeutic antibodies against human parechovirus 1.


Ari Pekka Mähönen SPPS

Tropical garden Gardenia to be closed

Gardenia Helsinki on Viikki Campus, owned jointly by the City of Helsinki (90%) and the University of Helsinki, has been decided by the Helsinki City Board to be closed by the end of 2015. Operaatio Gardenia (Operation Gardenia) has left a claim for rectification in this matter.

Gardenia home page »»

Viikki Plant Science Centre

Faculty limits cannot hold back Viikki's botanists

The Viikki Plant Science Centre, ViPS, takes care of plant-related research, research training and basic education cooperation on the Viikki campus. ViPS includes 31 research groups and more than 120 researchers.



Weak spot in malaria-causing protozoan found

The cell membrane of the protozoan that causes malaria has an enzyme that humans lack. Researchers are now designing a drug that would block the functioning of this enzyme in an effort to destroy the protozoan without impacting its human host.


Ari Pekka Mähönen SPPS

SPPS Early Career Award to Ari Pekka Mähönen

Societas Physiologiae Plantarum Scandinavica (SPPS) Early Career Award is a monetary award to an early career scientist based in Scandinavia.


Working group established to assess marine traffic risks in the Baltic Sea

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


Boosting the immune system of city dwellers

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


Pathogen strains competing for the same host plant change disease dynamics

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


Heikki Setälä becomes visiting professor in China

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


Grant for Mart Saarma group for researching the regeneration of dopaminergic neurons in vivo

Professor Mart Saarma, Yulia Sidorova and Merja Voutilainen from the Institute of Biotechnology are to receive £35,000 over 8 months for the research of small molecules mimicking GDNF for regeneration of dopaminergic neurons in vivo.


Juho Kellosalo

Viikki Research Group Organisation's dissertation prize to Juho Kellosalo

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


Petri Ala-Laurila

Petri Ala-Laurila to receive an award for scientific courage

Academy Research Fellow Petri Ala-Laurila receives an award for scientific courage. The award is given by the Academy of Finland. Biophycisist Petri Ala-Laurila focuses on the limits of vision by trying to understand the absolute limits of the signal processing capacity of small neural circuits. The results can be utilised for example in designing better equipment for night vision.


Yrjö Ykä Helariutta

Professor Yrjö Helariutta's team recruited to Cambridge

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.



Integrins losing their grip activate T cell immune responses

Susanna Fagerholm in the Institute of Biotechnology has found out that when integrins let go of their ligands and the actin cytoskeleton inside the dendritic cell, the activity of another cell surface receptor, the GM-CSF receptor, rises.

– This increased signaling induces the dendritic cells to head to lymph nodes to activate T cells.


southern white rhino photo Enrico Di Minin

A legal trade in horn would improve rhino protection and help sustainable development

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, says Enrico Di Minin from the Department of Biosciences.

Rhino horn is made of the same material as human hair and fingernails and grows back in 2–3 years.


FDA funding to Finland 2014

Finnish research into ocular medication: FDE funding secured for the first time

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.


Plethora protein

Core mechanism of root growth has been identified

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


mouse tooth

Evolutionary steps of teeth reproduced in the laboratory

Academy Professor Jukka Jernvall's group in the Institute of Biotechnology has fine-tuned mouse tooth morphology and produced step-wise transitions observable in the fossil record.



Developmental regulation of important plant phloem components discovered

Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology have combined traditional genetic approaches with 3D reconstructions from scanning electron microscopy to discover and characterize genes regulating the development of plant sieve elements.



Plant swap, expert presentations and things to do for the whole family in Gardenia, Saturday 17th May

All those interested in plants are welcome to Viikki's Gardenia on Saturday 17th May between 11:00 and 14:00. The Fascination of Plants event for all the family combines presentations from experts on campus with the traditional plant and gardening equipment swap. Bring your extra plants and seedlings and take home something different for your garden and home, get to know medicinal/herbal plants, learn something new from the teaching aids and have a go at flower pressing.

Programme »»


Academy Professors Ilkka Hanski and Jukka Jernvall: new members of EMBO

European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) has newly elected 106 outstanding researchers in the life sciences to its membership. Amongst the new members are two Academy Professors from Campus Viikki: Ilkka Hanski from the Department of Biociences and Jukka Jernvall from the Institute of Biotechnology.



3D measuring system to revolutionise research into the effects of plant genes

An extensive measuring system is being constructed in Finland to allow researchers to measure the properties of plants effectively.


Electron Microscopy Unit personnel

Occupational safety award to The Electron Microscopy Unit

The Electron Microscopy Unit of the Institute of Biotechnology received the Occupational safety award 2013 of the University of Helsinki  for its personnel’s long-standing work to improve the work safety.


MTs and actin filaments, ER

Interactions with the actin cytoskeleton are essential to create the architecture of the ER network in mammals

The research group led by Eija Jokitalo have revealed the interplay between actin cytoskeleton and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in mammalian cells.


Brain injury

New form of treatment to reduce risk for surgery-related ischemic brain injury?

A University of Helsinki study indicates that a simple pre-surgery diet could mitigate brain damage caused by blood clots associated with surgery.


Sarah Butcher

Sarah Butcher's team initiates a new picornavirus research consortium

Research Director Sarah Butcher’s structural biology team in the Institute of Biotechnology is a founding member of the AIROPico research consortium. Consortium will develop fast, high quality diagnostic tools and therapies against picornaviruses based on a better understanding of the basic biology of infection.


Päivi Tikka

Aiming for an electronic application process for doctoral education

Päivi Tikka began her work as coordinator for the Doctoral School in Biological, Environmental and Food Sciences in mid-January. Adapting fully to the new system will take its time, but the intention is to simplify the work of doctoral students at the University.


Count Festetics

Count Festetics – grandfather of genetics

Most of us have learned at school that Gregor Mendel was the founder of genetics. Count Imre Festetics, a renowned sheep breeder that preceded Mendel by half a century, remains, however, mostly forgotten.


conferment, Faculty of Philosophy

Artist M.A. Numminen and Professor Per-Edvin Persson to receive honorary doctorates (27.2.2014)

At its conferment ceremony to be held in May 2014, the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, will confer honorary doctorates on 13 prominent figures from academia, culture and various sectors of society. The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmacy on the Viikki Campus are members of the Faculty of Philosophy.


mathematical biology

Digital ears listen in the rain forest (27.2.2014)

A Finnish-Brazilian project is constructing a system that could estimate the dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings, statistics and scientific computing.


nerve cell

Neuroscience Viikki Day: what's new in neuroscience research on Viikki Campus (17.2.2014)

Researchers from the Neuroscience Center, Institute of Biotechnology, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy gather on 28th February to presents their research subjects and share ideas about the future of neuroscience.

Neuroscience Viikki Day programme »»

Irma Thesleff

Irma Thesleff is the new Academician (14.2.2014)

Professor Irma Thesleff working the Institute of Biotechology has been given the honorary title of an Academician. The title can be held by no more than twelve Finnish scientists and scholars at a time and it is conferred by the President of the Republic of Finland. Three of the 12 Finnish Academicians are women.


Launch of the Institute of Biotechnology Seminar Series (5.2.2014)

The first seminar of the new Institute of Biotechnology Seminar Series (BISSE) on Friday 24th of January attracted an impressive crowd and at the same time celebrated the recent 50th birthday of the Institute’s director, Tomi Mäkelä, with prominent surprise speakers.


Golden angle in plants: two hormone-based fields needed for robustness of leaf orientation (18.12.2013)

A recent article in the Nature by a research consortium including Professor Yrjö "Ykä" Helariutta and a previous post doc in his group, Anthony Bishopp, sheds light to the phyllotactic golden angle mystery - why each new leaf emerges from the shoot apical meristem at an exact 137.5 degree angle from the previous one.


Doctoral dissertation prizes to Jonna Saarimäki-Vire and Niina Suni (9.12.2013)

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

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

Mart Saarma

Alfred Kordelin Foundation prize for Academy Professor Mart Saarma

The biggest change in the University of Helsinki doctoral education reform is that soon all doctoral students at the University of Helsinki belong to a doctoral programme.


University of Helsinki

Doctoral students join doctoral programmes

The biggest change in the University of Helsinki doctoral education reform is that soon all doctoral students at the University of Helsinki belong to a doctoral programme.


BAR proteins Lappalainen

Freeze! A protein group affecting lipid dynamics at cell membranes discovered

BAR proteins can freeze the movement of certain lipid molecules in membranes almost completely. This finding by Pekka Lappalainen lab in the Institute of Biotechnology provides an important step towards understanding the functions and dynamics of cellular membranes.


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, Faculty of Pharmacy, synthesized and screened two sets of betulin derivatives 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.


protein alternative splicing

The protein version of alternative splicing discovered

Dr Hideo Iwai's group has discovered that proteins can be spliced in an alternative way. This discovery might open a way to develop new inhibitors of any enzyme.


RSV respiratory virus

One step closer to a vaccine for a common respiratory disease

The three-dimensional structure of respiratory syncytial virus has been solved by an international team from Finland and Switzerland.


Saimaa ringed seal genome project

The Saimaa ringed seal genome to be sequenced

The first ever mammalian species to be sequenced in Finland is the Saimaa ringed seal. Living in the lake Saimaa only, it has been isolated from the other seal species since the the ice receded from the northern areas about 900 seal generations ago.


Sarah Butcher

The Maikki Friberg Equality Prize to Sarah Butcher

The modern university should offer everyone equally the best possible opportunity to succeed,” says Sarah Butcher, who on 5 June 2013 received the University of Helsinki Maikki Friberg award for work promoting equality.


Sarah Butcher

The long arm of virus evolution

The viruses that cause human disease are connected to ones found in some of the most extreme environments on Earth.



Easy prevention of brain damage induced by neonatal asphyxia?

The brain of a newborn may be irreparably damaged if the baby suffers from both oxygen deficiency and excessive carbon dioxide levels at birth. A Finnish study based on a rodent model indicates that changes to current resuscitation practices could markedly reduce brain defects.


Marie-Estelle Hokkanen and Tomi Rantamaki

Aivoverkko (Brain Net) project promotes communication between scientists and other professionals

The interaction between science and society promotes innovative thinking both in academic research and social systems and practices such as education and healthcare.


Yrjö Ykä Helariutta

Basic research and applications: all in one

Professor Yrjö "Ykä" Helariutta has been a plant person right from the start of his scientific career. His focus, however, has shifted from the flavonoid biosynthesis in gerbera to wood development. Arabidopsis thaliana roots have already revealed important details in cell signalling.

BI Research News >>

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.

Faculty of Pharmacy pages >>

Pekka Lappalainen

Pekka Lappalainen started as the Professor of quantitative cell biology in the Institute of Biotechnology

Pekka Lappalainen has been a familiar face at BI since 1998. Now he starts as the Professor of quantitative cell biology.

BI Research News >>

Maria Vartiainen

The role of the actin in the nucleus: getting solved

Dr Maria Vartiainen (Institute of Biotechnology) has been awarded with a 1,5 million euro ERC starting grant for her nuclear actin research.

BI Research News >>