Three consortia at the University of Helsinki receive funding in Academy Program
The Academy of Finland has granted funding for the research consortia of Professor Satu Mustjoki, Professor Kirsi Pietiläinen and Professor Sampsa Vanhatalo at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. The consortia are granted an additional funding for two years in the Health from Science (TERVA) Academy Program.

TERVA highlights the importance of scientific research in solving public health challenges. The program seeks bold, new research initiatives that can solve health issues related to major public health diseases.

Research enables more individualised diagnostics and personalised treatment

Professor Satu Mustjoki is principal investigator of a consortium exploring the disease mechanisms underlying rheumatoid arthritis. Based on their results, the researchers aim to develop novel, more effective and better tolerated treatments. Working in collaboration with rheumatologists, Mustjoki’s consortium has already developed a mathematical model to predict drug-induced side-effects. The results of the research could enable more individualised diagnostics and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and thus benefit both patients and society.

Professor Kirsi Pietiläinen heads a research project that aims to develop new personalised treatment strategies for obesity. The goal is to create a tool that can predict weight loss and develop personalised and effective treatments. The tool will be based on mitochondrial capacity in subcutaneous fat tissue: the consortium has observed that mitochondrial energy metabolism predicts success in weight loss.

Professor Sampsa Vanhatalo leads a consortium developing solutions for early neurological diagnostics and remote monitoring and treatment of infant brains. The consortium has already developed medical infant wearables for detecting neurological abnormalities in infants more reliably and more accurately than before so that rehabilitation can be started earlier.

Innovativeness was one of the main funding criteria

The program’s first funding period was three years, and the extension covers two years. In the follow-up call, the main funding criteria were the progress made so far, the scientific quality, innovativeness, novelty and impact of the research, and how the project implements the program’s objectives. An international panel of experts reviewed the applications.

The total funding, a joint pot between the Academy of Finland, the Foundation for Pediatric Research, the Finnish Medical Foundation and the Finnish Brain Foundation, comes to 3.45 million euros for two years.

More information on the TERVA program websit.