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University of Helsinki Annual Report 2004
Faculties in the campus :
Veterinary Medicine
Agriculture and Forestry
Independent Institutes:

Institute of Biotechnology
Neuroscience Centre

Campus key figures 2005:
Students 6457
Staff (in person-years)
Teachers & researchers 767
Total 1350
Doctor 92
Spacialist's degrees 3
Licentiate 17
Higher 419
Lower 166

Campuses - The Viikki campus

In close-up: Marja Mutanen

Well-being from nutrition

Marja Mutanen, Professor of Nutritional Physiology, emphasises the significance of nutrition research conducted in the University to society and its well-being. “The right kind of nutrition maintains the health of an individual and prevents diseases”, explains Professor Mutanen. “Therefore nutrition and nutrition research have a profound effect on national health and, by extension, on the national economy.”

Mutanen, who works at the Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, argues that political decision-makers and authorities should recognise that research-based nutrition education should be offered as early as from kindergartens and comprehensive schools. “Lack of knowledge is the single most important factor in malnutrition as well as undernourishment and overeating. People should be helped to find a naturally correct way of eating”, says Mutanen.

Professor Mutanen’s own research group is engaged in basic research in nutritional molecular biology. The research aims at using experimental models to study the connection between diet and colon cancer. The group particularly studies the effect of berries in preventing colon cancer. “Even though the results on the effect on health are so far promising, the food industry has unfortunately not yet expressed interest in utilising domestic berries in this respect”, states Mutanen.

The nutritional research conducted in the multidisciplinary Viikki Campus also aims at finding nutritional means to ensure that people remain healthy and independent as long as possible as the life expectancy of the population is continually increasing. The University researchers also study the factors relating to the development of osteoporosis and coronary artery disease and their connection to lifestyle and nutrition.

“However, one should not expect too quick results from nutrition research“, stresses Professor Mutanen. “The human body is such a complex whole that researching even a small detail takes time. In addition, people’s ways of eating are constantly changing.”

In September, Professor Mutanen was elected as the candidate for Europe and the Nordic countries to the board of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS). “The international recognition of the high quality of Finnish nutrition research is reflected in my nomination”, says Mutanen and continues, “Finland is one of the leading European countries in nutrition and the promotion of health.”

IUNS was established in 1948 and it has members from 77 national nutrition research organisations worldwide. The aim of the Union is to promote the development of nutritional science and research through international co-operation and to encourage member organisations to distribute information on the research results on nutrition.

More information:

Viikki campus


Events in 2005:

Ilkka Hanski recognised for his work
Last year, Professor Ilkka Hanski received two significant...

Successful year for Jari Valkonen
Last year was a highly successful one for Professor Jari Valkonen...

The new building for veterinary medicine and food technology was inaugurated in Viikki
The teaching of Veterinary Medicine got a permanent home...

VITRI celebrates 25th anniversary
At the beginning of the year, the Viikki Tropical Resources Institute...

The topping-out ceremony of Clinicum
The topping-out ceremony of the new University of Helsinki Veterinary...