About the Institute of Biotechnology

The Institute of Biotechnology (BI) is a dynamic unit with the mission to advance fundamental discoveries in biosciences for the benefit of people and the environment. BI operates in a wide scientific landscape from plants and microbes to seals and molecular pathogenesis and treatment of human diseases and developes cutting-edge life science research infrastructures. 

The Institute of Biotechnology operates at the highest international level and its researchers have been very successful in obtaining for example ERC grants and Academy of Finland Center of Excellence funding. Research in BI spans from fundamental research to applied biotechnology and includes cytoskeletal and membrane dynamics; morphogenesis, stem cells and regeneration; plant, animal, microbial genomics and evolution; and structure and function of membrane protein complexes.

BI has pioneered the development of Finland’s life science research infrastructures and currently houses core facilities for biological imaging, proteomics, protein crystallization, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), NMR, genomics and bioinformatics.

The research findings are actively applied for the benefit of society through valorisation of innovations and spinout companies. Several success stories including Herantis Pharma Ltd and Mobidiag Ltd originate from the Institute.

Dr Juha Huiskonen is the director of the Institute of Biotechnology and associate professor at Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).

Huiskonen’s research group - Laboratory of Structural Biology (LSB) – aims at understanding the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their complexes, such as molecular machines and viruses.

Juha
Huiskonen
Director
Helsinki Institute of Life Science
Field of science Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

Vice director Marja Mikkola is a research director at the Institute of Biotechnology and the vice director of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Experimental and Computational Developmental Biology (2014‒2019).

Mikkola's research group studies the molecular and cellular regulation of organ development, with focus on epithelial morphogenesis and cell fate specification.

 

Marja
Mikkola
Research Director
Institute of Biotechnology
Field of science Genetics, developmental biology, physiology, Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

Research at BI is organised in three research programmes, which include one or more research groups. Each research programme has a Research Programme Director who is one of the Principal Investigators (PI) of the programme. The Research Programme Directors for the term 20 May 2020 − 31 July 2021 are:

Eija Jokitalo, Cell and Tissue Dynamics Programme
Mikko Frilander, Genomics and Evolutionary Biology
Ville Paavilainen, Structural and Quantitative Biology

  • Director Ewan Birney, European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI, UK (Chair)
  • Professor Marja Jäättelä, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • Professor Urban Lendahl, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Professor Poul Nissen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Professor Olivier Pourquié, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US 
  • Professor Anne Spang, University of Basel, Switzerland 
  • Professor Joan Steitz, Yale School of Medicine and HHMI, US
  • Professor Miltos Tsiantis, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany 

Alumni:

  • Professor Sheena Radford, The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds (01/2019-10/2020)