Nutrition Winter School 2023

Perttu Arkkila is a professor of gastroenterology at University of Helsinki and the head physician at the Department of Gastroenterology at Helsinki University hospital in Helsinki. He is an active clinical researcher. In recent years, his main research topics have been fecal transplantation and inflammatory bowel diseases. He has led several RCT studies on the efficacy and tolerability of fecal transplantation (FMT) for the treatment of various intestinal, neurological and metabolic diseases. He teaches medical students and is the responsible trainee for specialization for gastroenterology. He has organized several post-graduate courses in gastroenterology, endoscopies and liver diseases. He has written several chapters for text books, and has participated in the work of national guidelines (NAFLD, cirrhosis). His clinical work includes different endoscopic procedures, out-patient work at the department of gastroenterology, and on-call work at the emergency room and intensive ward.


Stephan C. Bischoff is Director of the Institute of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart/Germany since 2004. He is a trained physician (1989) specialized in Internal Medicine (1997), Gastroenterology (1999), Allergy/Clinical Immunology (1992) and Clinical Nutrition (2001). His research interests are obesity and related diseases, disease-related malnutrition, adverse reactions to food and the gastrointestinal barrier including mucosal immunology and the microbiome. He is member of the Germany societies of Gastroenterology (DGVS) and Clinical Nutrition (DGEM), and of the European societies of Gastroenterology (UEG) and Clinical Nutrition (ESPEN). He served as DGEM president (2012-14), as ESPEN officer (since 2010) and as UEG board member (since 2018). He received numerous awards, e.g. the Pharmacia Allergy Research Award, and published more than 300 papers (PubMed May 2022).


Robert-JM Brummer studied medicine at Nijmegen University, the Netherlands and performed his PhD studies in Göteborg, Sweden (PhD 1992) and continued clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at University Hospital Maastricht, the Netherlands. He became professor at Maastricht University 2002 and was acting director of the nutrition research institute (NUTRIM) of the University. Subsequently, he became research director at the “Wageningen Centre for Food Science”, later “TI Food and Nutrition”, the Netherlands. From 2008 he joined Örebro University, Sweden as professor of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition and senior consultant at the University Hospital. Brummer was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health during 6 years and currently is Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University. In that role he also is director of the Örebro University Food & Health Programme. He leads both the interdisciplinary “Nutrition-Gut-Brain Interactions Research Centre” at the University as well as the recently governmentally funded national research excellence centre “Plant-based Proteins for Health and Wellbeing – PAN Sweden”. Furthermore, he is engaged in national boards and strategies regarding food and nutrition research and innovation and acts as reviewer for several international research councils and represents Sweden in the European Universities Association expert group on innovation. His main field of interest in research is the nutrition/microbe-gut-brain interactions with special reference to human application and still performs all research endoscopic investigations himself.


Philip Calder is Professor of Nutritional Immunology and Head of School of Human Development and Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton in the UK. Professor Calder is an internationally recognised researcher on the metabolism and functionality of fatty acids with an emphasis on the roles of omega-3 fatty acids in immunity, inflammation and cardiometabolic disease. He has also conducted recognized research on amino acids, antioxidants, prebiotics, probiotics and natural products. His research addresses both life course and translational considerations and includes research in cell and animal models and in healthy humans and patients. He has received many awards and prizes for his work including the Normann Medial from the German Society of Fat Science (2009), the Ralph Holman Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Oil Chemists’ Society (2015), the prestigious Danone International Prize for Nutrition (2016), the DSM Lifetime Achievement Prize in Human Nutrition (2017) and the European Lipid Scientist Award (2021). Professor Calder was President of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (2009-2012), Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) (2012-2016), President of the Nutrition Society (2016-2019) and President of ILSI Europe (2019-2021). He is currently President of the Federation of European Nutrition Societies. He was Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Nutrition (2006 to 2013) and is currently Associate Editor of Clinical Science, Journal of Nutrition, Nutrition Research, and Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. He previously served on many editorial boards of journals in the nutrition, lipidology and biochemistry fields.


Richard Forsgård obtained his PhD focusing on intestinal barrier function from the University of Helsinki in 2018. In 2019, he moved to Sweden to work as a postdoctoral researcher in Örebro University’s newly launched, multidisciplinary Food & Health initiative. At Örebro, his primary research project examines the effects of dietary fiber intervention on intestinal barrier function and inflammation. Dr Forsgård has also led a research project investigating the effects of probiotic supplementation on SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody response. In addition to these projects, he has been involved in other research projects focusing on intestinal barrier function and dietary fiber. Dr Forsgård received the EU Commission’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Grant in 2020 and currently works as a MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow.


Professor Karl-Heinz Herzig is specialized in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Physiology. He teaches physiology at the Medical School of Oulu University.His research interests are cross-organ communication (gut-liver-brain-muscle-fat) in the metabolic syndrome utilizing different model systems, human intervention trials and cohort studies (e.g. Northern Finland Birth Cohort). His team belongs to the ProNORD consortium on Personalized Nordic lifestyle to promote healthy ageing (NordForsk).


Professor Riitta Korpela chairs the Medical Nutrition Physiology research group at the Department of Pharmacology, Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki. She is also a PI in the Human Microbe Research Program at the Helsinki University. Her main research interest has been the role of intestine in health and disease: lactose intolerance, IBS, dietary fibre, probiotics, intestinal permeability, intestinal steroid synthesis but also role of bioactive peptides and vascular function. Her group has vast experience both from preclinical models and clinical trials and is known of being able to set up joint research projects with preclinical and clinical scientists. High scientific ethics has always been a core value in her work. She has supervised 24 PhD thesis and 38 MSc thesis. Her active role in society includes several pioneering initiatives as well as numerous, both national and international, positions of trust including the membership of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.


Hanna Launonen is a PhD candidate in the group of Prof. Riitta Korpela and Emeritus Prof. Heikki Vapaatalo at the Department of Pharmacology at University of Helsinki. She has a master´s degree in translational medicine from the University of Helsinki (December 2020). In her PhD thesis she investigates the local renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system in the intestine and its effects on the intestinal epithelial permeability. 


Dr. Hanne Salmenkari is a biochemist and a postdoctoral researcher at the Folkhälsan Research Center in Helsinki, with a strong background in the study of intestinal inflammation. She did her PhD research about intestinal renin-angiotensin system in the Medical Nutrition Physiology group at the University of Helsinki. Currently, she is studying the effects of gut inflammation and gut microbial products on renal inflammation and injury, particularly in a setting of diabetes, in the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy group, FinnDiane. Her other topics of interest are dietary choices, dysregulation of metabolism, and what they got to do with each other.


Professor Seppo Salminen received his MS degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Washington State University, USA and MSc degree in Food Chemistry and Microbiology from University of Helsinki, Finland and his PhD degree in Biochemistry and Toxicology from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom.  He did his post-doctoral training in Food Toxicology at RMIT University, Melbourne Australia where he has been a visiting professor for several periods since 1990. Dr Salminen worked as a research/senior scientist at the National Board of Health and then Ministry of Agriculture in Helsinki Finland. He then served as a nutrition specialist at the Research Centre of Valio Ltd before joining the University of Turku as associate professor of food chemistry, then professor of Food Development and the Health Biosciences Program and later Director of the Functional Foods Forum, Faculty of Medicine. His research has focused on gut microbiology and health, probiotics and prebiotics and functional foods.  Since the establishment of the European Food Safety Authority he served as a member of the NDA panel for 9 years and another 3 years as a member of the Novel Foods working group.  He has been a visiting professor and faculty member at the Australian Key Centre for Toxicology and the BOKU University in Vienna, Austria. He has been given an honorary doctorate from the University of Tartu, Estonia and he is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.  He received several prizes among other the Swiss Price of Modern Nutrition and the IDF Institute Pasteur Elie Metchnikoff Prize. He has also acted as vice president and later president of the International Society of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). He is an author of over 400 scientific peer reviewed publications and several books.


Dr Simrén’s main research areas are the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI), as well as the treatment of these. He has published more than 350 original articles and written several book chapters on GI motility diseases and DGBI and is currently supervisor for fifteen PhD students and eight post-docs. Dr Simrén has served as council member for several international organizations, including UEG and the Rome Foundation. Professor Simrén has also been working as Deputy Editor and Associate Editor of Gut, and as the Clinical Editor of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. Currently, Professor Simrén is Associate Editor of Gastroenterology.


Diana M. Toivola, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Cell Biology, especially biological imaging, experimental models and animal physiology, at Biosciences in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU), Turku, Finland. She has established leading international expertise on the stress-protective roles of epithelial cytoskeletal keratin intermediate filaments in the gut, especially intestine and endocrine pancreas (http://www.toivola-lab.org/). Her focus is on the molecular and physiological understanding of disease in these organs, namely intestinal inflammation, colorectal cancer and diabetes. Her team is also working on novel non-invasive pre-clinical and clinical in vivo imaging modalities and biomarker innovations for inflammatory intestinal diseases. She coordinates the Intestinal diseases Unit at the Turku center for Disease modeling, and her work is part of the ÅAU Center of Excellence in Mehanostasis and the Academy of Finland Flagship InFlames in Turku. On European level she has been involved in several COST-actions. At ÅAU she is running an international Master’s degree program in Biomedical imaging - a program run jointly with the University of Turku.


Professor Outi Vaarala, MD, PhD, is a medical doctor (University of Helsinki) and has a PhD in immunology. Outi Vaarala was appointed as a Professor of Pediatric Immunology, Linkoping University, Sweden, in 2000, and as a Professor of Autoimmune Diseases, Lund University, Sweden, in 2015. As of June 2020, she was appointed as Senior Vice President for Research and Development of the Orion Group and is a member of the Orion Executive Management Board. Vaarala has held the position of Vice President, Oncology Research in Orion’s Research and Development as of June 2019. Prior to Orion, Vaarala led drug discovery and development from target identification to clinical Phase 2 studies in Respiratory Inflammation and Autoimmunity therapy area, first at AstraZeneca, Sweden, and later at Medimmune/AstraZeneca, USA. Outi Vaarala has excellent background and experience from various leadership positions in Research and Development in the international pharmaceutical industry as well as a long experience of immunology and remarkable career in the academy. She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles in internationally renowned scientific journals. Her major scientific achievements include pioneering research on the role of gut immune system as a regulator of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Current key positions of trust: Member of the Board of Directors: Tampere University Foundation, Finland 2021- , Member of Steering Group, National Drug Discovery Development Platform, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 2022- , Member of Steering Group, THL Foundation, Finland 2022-. Former key positions of trust: 2005-2014 Permanent expert at the European Medicines Agency (EMA).