Research profile

Centres of Excellence

In 2018‒2025 the Faculty of Medicine hosts three Centres of Excellence:

Aaltonen, Lauri: Centre of Excellence in Tumor Genetics Research
Katajisto, Pekka: Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism, coordinated by Institute of Biotechnology
Ripatti, Samuli: Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics

In 2014‒2019 the Faculty of Medicine hosts three Centres of Excellence:

Alitalo, Kari: Centre of Excellence in Translational Cancer Biology
Ikonen, Elina: Centre of Excellence in Biomembrane Research
Jacobs, Howard: Centre of Excellence in Research on Mitochondria, Metabolism and Disease (FinMIT), coordinated by the University of Tampere

In 2012‒2017 the Faculty of Medicine hosts two Centres of Excellence:

Aaltonen, Lauri: The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Cancer Genetics Research
Knip, Mikael: Centre of Excellence in Molecular Systems Immunology and Physiology Research

Centres of Excellence in University of Helsinki

Academy professorships

Aaltonen, Lauri 1 January 2008 ‒ 31 December 2012 and 1 January 2013 ‒ 31 December 2017
Cancer Genetics
The mission of the research group is to improve the treatment and prevention of cancer.

Alitalo, Kari 1 August 1998 ‒ 31 July 2000 and as of 1 August 2000 permanently
Translational Cancer Biology
The research group examines the operation of cancer genes in intercellular communication, particularly the role of blood vessels in malignant tumours.

Ikonen, Elina 1 January 2010 ‒ 31 December 2014 and 1 January 2015 ‒ 31 December 2019
Cellular and developmental biology
The research project investigates how cholesterol behaves in cell membranes in both normal circumstances and in human cholesterol-related disorders.

Kaprio, Jaakko 1 January 2013 ‒ 31 December 2017
Genetic epidemiology
The research group investigates tobacco addiction and its significance to public health.

Räikkönen-Talvitie, Katri 1 January 2015 ‒ 31 December 2019
Developmental psychology
The research group investigates the effects of the fetal environment on the individual’s subsequent life outcomes.

Wartiovaara, Anu 1 January 2017 ‒ 31 December 2021
Clinical medicine
The research group focuses on mitochondrial diseases.

FiDiPro professorship

The Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro) is a funding programme jointly launched by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) for recruiting international or Finnish top-level researchers with extensive international experience and the qualifications of a professor to Finland on a fixed-term basis.

Further information can be found on the FiDiPro website.

Vladislav V. Verkhusha
Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, USA
Recruited in 2012, funding period approximately five years (Academy of Finland)

Verkhusha is the leading expert in the development of fluorescent proteins; he develops red fluorescent proteins and proteins whose fluorescence can be switched on or off in a controlled manner. These have many applications.

Finnish host: Academy Professor Elina Ikonen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki.

The research programs coordinated by the Faculty's Research Programs Unit are selected on the basis of an external assessment for a period of six years. An international Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), the members of which include distinguished international researchers, has been appointed for this purpose.

The research programs for the period 2013‒2018 include the following: Diabetes and Obesity, Genome-Scale Biology, Immunobiology, Translational Cancer Biology, and Molecular Neurology.

The Faculty of Medicine is a nationally and internationally renowned research and teaching unit and partner that takes into consideration both societal needs and the changing array of diseases. The quality of Faculty operations is maintained, developed and assessed with a quality assurance system that covers all areas and is based on the quality policy of the University of Helsinki. The Faculty trains a wide range of health care professionals and experts, aiming for optimal treatment and diagnostic quality.

Further information: