FIMM and EMBL: 15 years of an exciting scientific journey

EMBL Director General Edith Heard, Head of International Relations Plamena Markova and Chief Operating Officer Matti Tiirakari visited the University of Helsinki and FIMM at the end of May.

FIMM, the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, warmly welcomed the EMBL delegation to Finland to meet with the University of Helsinki leadership to examine and discuss opportunities and framework for interactions of life sciences research and training in Finland with EMBL. 

"It was a great pleasure to discuss with University of Helsinki Rector Sari Lindblom, Vice Rector Jouni Hirvonen, and Director of Development Ritva Dammert the future of our partnership and collaborations. EMBL is very excited to develop even closer ties with the University of Helsinki with its incredibly wide range of expertise in science, to further strengthen FIMM’s position and contribution to research, services and training in the Nordics and Europe." 

EMBL Director General Edith Heard


The visit also included discussions with several leaders of Finnish life science research units and initiatives, including Helsinki Institute for Life Sciences Director Olli Silvennoinen, FIMM Director Mark Daly, and Finnish EMBL Council delegate Sirpa Nuotio, about enhancing the connections of researchers in Finland to EMBL. 


"It was an honor to host Director General Heard in Helsinki, hear her vision for EMBL and discuss how FIMM and the Nordic EMBL Partnership, along with our partners in life sciences at the University of Helsinki, can play a leading role in advancing this vision." 

FIMM Director Mark Daly


The occasion was celebrated with an afternoon minisymposium marking 15 years since the founding of FIMM and the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, and capturing the unique translational science impact that FIMM, EMBL and their partners have made. The open event drew >100 attendees online and on-site. 

With a warm atmosphere and talks by FIMM founding director Olli Kallioniemi, FIMM interim director Jaakko Kaprio, current FIMM director Mark Daly, former chair of FIMM Scientific Advisory Board Kai Simons, and FIMM founder Marja Makarow the audience was treated to a story-style historical perspective of the establishment and first 15 years of the institute and EMBL in Finland. FIMM Research Directors Aarno Palotie and Caroline Heckman, Vice Director Samuli Ripatti and Senior Researcher Nina Linder, along with their international collaborators highlighted FIMM research in three main grand challenge areas and its impact nationally and around the world. Professor Jonathan Knowles reflected on the impact of scientific research on medicine and health management as well as the unique and exciting intersection of molecular technologies, health data, robotics, drug screening and artificial intelligence expertise at FIMM.


"The EMBL Partnership Program aims to help nations build and host centers of excellence modeled on EMBL. FIMM has undoubtedly succeeded in becoming a beacon for science in Finland and in Europe. Celebrating its achievements 15 years after the creation of the Partnership was truly rewarding. FIMM is not only an integral part of the Nordic and European scientific landscape, but an indispensable part of the Finnish research ecosystem that played an important role in helping Finland fight the pandemic. This is the type of commitment to advancing science that EMBL stands for. We are very proud to have FIMM and Finland as close allies, and look forward to what the future will bring for our collaboration."

EMBL Head of International Relations Plamena Markova


A recording of the full minisymposium is available for viewing below.

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