Celebration of the Next 10 Years of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine

We cordially invite you to join us in celebrating the start of a new and exciting decade of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine! The University of Helsinki, in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), is thrilled to host a special event to celebrate the signing of the renewed agreement between EMBL and the Universities of Aarhus, Oslo, Umeå and Helsinki.

The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine is a unique network of forefront national research centres with complementary research expertise. The centres combine the longstanding tradition of basic and translational molecular medicine in the Nordic countries, with a focus on core research infrastructures and implementation of the governance and operational models of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). 

The Nordic EMBL Partnership was initiated as a collaboration between EMBL and FIMM at the University of Helsinki (Finland), MIMS at Umeå University (Sweden) and NCMM at the University of Oslo (Norway) in 2007. The initiation involved the establishment of national partnership Nodes in the three countries. The Nordic EMBL Partnership expanded in 2013 when the Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE) at Aarhus University in Denmark became the Danish Node. The impact and success of the Nordic EMBL Partnership was formally recognized in 2013 with the signing of a renewed partnership agreement for an extended period of 10 years (2013-2023).

Now it is time to celebrate the renewal of the Partnership agreement for the next 10 years!

May 2, Main Festivities

The festivities are hosted by the Rector of the University of Helsinki, Sari Lindblom.

Time and venue:

Date: 2 May 2023, 13.00 – 16.00  

University Great Hall, Unioninkatu 34, Helsinki 



Welcome words, Rector of the University of Helsinki Sari Lindblom

Keynote presentations: 

  • EMBL and the Nordic Partnership: a new era of Life Sciences in Europe, EMBL Director General Edith Heard  

  • FIMM and EMBL Partnership: maximizing Finnish impact in molecular medicine worldwide, Former Speaker of the Nordic EMBL Partnership and  Outgoing FIMM Director Mark Daly 

Signing Ceremony of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine agreement 

Reception in the foyer and adjacent halls


Please register by 24 April, 2023:

Signing Ceremony Keynote Speakers

Professor Edith Heard was born in London. She was introduced to biology while taking the Natural Sciences Tripos for her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Cambridge in the 1980’s. Inspired by her teachers at the time, she switched her focus from physics to biology and graduated in Genetics. Edith then went on to obtain her PhD from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (later Cancer Research UK) at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in London. Thereafter, she spent nine years at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a permanent researcher, before undertaking a one-year sabbatical at Cold Spring Harbor in the USA. In 2001, she set up her own group at the Institut Curie and in 2010 became Director of the Institute’s Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit. Edith was appointed as a Professor of the Collège de France in 2012, holding the Chair of Epigenetics and Cellular Memory. In January 2019, Edith started as Director General of EMBL. Her current research focuses on understanding how chromatin and chromosome organisation participate in gene regulation.

Mark Daly received his B.S. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in human genetics from Leiden University, Netherlands. Mark Daly is the founding chief of the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School. He was appointed Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) in February 2018  and he worked as the FIMM Director until April 2023. Mark Daly is considered a pioneer in the field of human genetics, and is amongst the most cited scientists in the field. He has been listed multiple times by publisher Thomson-Reuters as one of the top 10 most cited scientific authors. His research primarily focuses on the development and application of statistical methods for the discovery and interpretation of genetic variation responsible for complex human disease. In addition to foundational work in human genetics methodology, his lab has made major contributions to gene discovery in inflammatory bowel disease, autism, schizophrenia and COVID-19 susceptibility - primarily through catalyzing global collaborative research efforts which he continues to help lead. With Dr. Palotie, he has helped design and launch the FinnGen study as a transformative public-private partnership. He received the Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics in 2014 and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017. In 2019 he was awarded Aarhus University's Honorary Doctorate at the Faculty of Health.

May 3, Scientific Symposium

Nordic EMBL Partnership: Looking forward to the next ten years of Molecular Medicine research

This symposium will highlight some of the outstanding Molecular Medicine research by Leaders and National Partners of the EMBL network - providing an overview of what has been achieved, with an emphasis on core infrastructures and international collaboration - some of the key characteristics that make EMBL research special.

In addition, the Symposium will look forward to what is to come in the area of Life Science cooperation and Molecular Medicine research in the next 10 years of the Partnership.

Time and venue:

Date: 3 May 2023, 09.00 – 13.00  

Biomedicum Helsinki, Lecture Hall 2, Haartmaninkatu 8, Helsinki 


The Symposium on May 3rd can also be followed via Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.

Please register by 24 April, 2023:



9.00-9.10 Opening words

Mark Daly, Broad Institute and the University of Helsinki, former Director of FIMM

9.10-9.30 Molecular Epigenetics in Development and Disease: the case of the X chromosome

Edith Heard, EMBL Director General

9.35-9.55 Informing molecular medicine by neurobiological insights

Poul Nissen, Director of DANDRITE

10.00-10.20 Long COVID collaboration across borders

Hanna Ollila,  FIMM-EMBL Group Leader


10.25-10.55 Coffee break


10.55-11.15 The future of genome medicine

Ewan Birney, EMBL Deputy Director

11.20-11.40 Inherited errors of immunity - from molecular mechanisms to cell therapy

Janna Saarela, Director of NCMM

11.45-12.05 Tandem talk: Applying metabolomics expertise across Nordic borders

Björn Schröder, MIMS Group Leader & Anni Nieminen, Head of the FIMM Metabolomics Unit

12.10-12.25 Molecules to Ecosystems: conservation genomic approaches for promoting biological resilience

Craig Primmer, Vice Dean Research, HiLIFE/Institute of Biotechnology & the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

12.30-12.50 Understanding pathogen biology to design new interventions

Oliver Billker, Director of MIMS, Speaker of the Partnership

12.55-13.00 Closing words