Profile & activities
Microbes have a major effect on the ecosystem and humans. Microbes run biogeochemical cycles of the elements, play a major role in the intestines of animals and biotechnology such as waste water treatment and food production, just to mention some. On the other hand, microbes cause diseases for plants, animals and humans.
Courses and studying

A doctoral degree in the programme comprises of a doctoral thesis and 40 credits of doctoral studies. The studies are divided into discipline-specific and transferable skills.

We also organise research seminars, where you get to present your own work, receive feedback and get to know your fellow doctoral researchers.

Courses in research ethics and transferable skills are offered throughout the academic year by the Doctoral School in Environmental, Food and Biologiacal Sciences (YEB).

MBDP of­fers sup­port to at­tend MOOC

MBDP offers the opportunity to complete the in depth MBDP thematic courses by attending MOOCs.

You may include a MOOC in your degree if you find a suitable course. In order to get the credits, you must obtain a course certificate. To obtain the certificate, you usually need to pay a fee. MBDP supports its doctoral researchers’ participation in field-specific MOOCs with approximately 50 Euro.

The financial support can be applied using this online application form. Before applying, please discuss with your supervisor about the course you are planning to take, to make sure it fits your study plan. The planning officer Mia will review the application and decide on the funding. You should first pay the course certificate fee yourself and MBDP will then reimburse the cost to you.

Here is a collection of links for you where you can find interesting courses that can be included in your degree.
MOOC courses at the university of Helsinki
ClassCentral MOOCs

If you have any questions about the funding, please contact the planning officer by emailing to mbdp-office(a)

Events and activities

Fridays at 9.15


16 September 2022 at Infocentre, room K1087       
Dr. Katileena Lohtander-Buckbee, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE): Access and benefit sharing – guidelines for accessing and using genetic resources.

28 October 2022 at Biocentre 2, room 2012      
Dr. Bartosz Adamczyk, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Stabilization of carbon in the soil - crucial role of microorganisms.

18 November, at Infocentre, room K1048
Doctoral Researcher Hongbo Zhao, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki. Mining the functional diversity of CAZyme AA3 family oxidoreductases from fungi

16 December, at Infocentre, room K1088
Dr. Taina Lundell,  Department of Microbiology, University of Helsinki. Fungal interactions and deadwood as a source and habitat.


13 January, at Biocentre 3, room 1402
Prof. Max Häggblom, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA. Fate of emerging pollutants (pharmaceuticals, personal care products and microplastics) in aquatic environments: Biodegradation, biotransformation and biofilm formation

17 February, at Biocentre 3, room 1402
Prof. Pekka Varmanen, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki.

Organiser: Miia Mäkelä, miia.r.makela(at)

10 attendances = 1 ECTS, own presentation = 1 ECTS

Maximum Microbiology Seminar credits = 3 ECTS

Thursdays at 14:15

Thu 29 September at 14:15-15:30 Biocentre 2, room 2012

 Ashwini Kedari PhD researchers (University of Helsinki): “Insight into rabies virus neutralization revealed by an engineered antibody scaffold”

Zlatka Plavec PhD researchers (University of Helsinki): “Structural studies reveal that endosomal cations promote formation of infectious CVA9 A particles, facilitating RNA and VP4 release”

27 October at 14:15-15:30 Biocentre 2, room 1015
Dr Alesia Levanova (Univ. of Helsinki): “Silencing herpes simplex virus with enzymatically produced small interfering RNAs”

17 November at 14:15-15:30 Biocentre 2, room 2012
Prof Susan Hafenstein (Penn State University, USA): “Structural studies of virus and host interactions”

15 December 14:15-15:30 Infocentre, room K1088
Dr Simon White (University of Connecticut, US): “Investigating the capsid structural diversity of the actinobacteriophages”


Organisers: Ausra Domanska, Alesia Levanova and Ilona Rissanen, e-mail: mbdp-office(at)
10 attendances = 1 ECTS, own presentation = 1 ECTS
Maximum Virus Club credits = 3 ECTS

To demonstrate their attendance, students are requested to write a short summary (5-10 sentences) of the talks in each of the sessions they chose to attend, and to submit these using Virus Club's Moodle page (course key for self-enrolment is: 2021VC).

MBDP annual meeting takes place every year during spring. The event consists of inspiring speakers and relaxed get-together. The annual meeting aims to gather MBDP students, supervisors and board members to meet in relaxed atmosphere once a year. Annual meeting participants are rewarded with one study credit.

The programme also organises annually First manuscript writing course. The course gives guidance on the academic writing process and enables during the course to write all the sections of a scientific manuscript. Participants will receive critical assessment by the course teacher and peers.

Other sem­inars in Viikki

Events taking place at the Viikki campus are listed in this calendar (however, most info is not up-to-date)

Courses and work­shops else­where

Many courses relevant for MBDP doctoral researchers are organised all over the world.

You may find interesting and useful courses among these:

  • PhD courses organised by the NOVA network
    The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are members of the NOVA (The Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network). Students of member faculties may participate on NOVA courses free of charge (travel and accommodation not included). Please find more information on Nova network here.
  • NorDoc – Nordic Doctoral Training in Health Sciences network provides doctoral training courses in health offered by the NorDoc partner organisations
  • PhD courses organised by other doctoral programmes and schools
  • Information skills courses by the Helsinki University Library
  • You may also find relevant courses in the Master’s Programmes of the University of Helsinki.
  • Or you can search from all University of Helsinki courses in English.
  • CSC – IT center for science arranges many kinds of courses and workshops
  • See national course list, for example, in FinBioNet (Finnish Doctoral Programme Network in Life Sciences) page → FinBioNet course calendar