Principal Investigators
Principal Investigators looking for new postdocs to join their groups.

Potential candidates will be selected by the Principal Investigators of 

  • Faculty of  Agriculture and Forestry
  • Faculty of  Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Institute of Biotechnology
  • HiLIFE Helsinki Institute of Life Science
  • The Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS).

The experienced UH research support staff will advise and coach the selected candidates in the application process.

Please note: You are submitting an Expression of Interest to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship jointly with one of the listed supervisors. This is one way to find a supervisor at the University of Helsinki. In case you already have a PI contact at the UH, you are welcome to proceed without this EoI. Moreover, this is not a job application.


Please take a closer look at the selected Principal Investigators in alphabetical order.

Ahola Tero

Tero Ahola: Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry 

RNA viruses cause devastating infectious diseases, and new epidemics continue to emerge. We aim towards deep understanding of RNA virus replication at the molecular level. Through the discovery of basic mechanistic principles, we also hope to develop new and general antiviral strategies. We work with alphaviruses, and other positive-strand RNA viruses including coronaviruses.


Candolin Ulrika

Ulrika Candolin: Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Program, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

We investigate how organisms respond to rapid human-induced environmental changes, and the consequences the responses have for populations, communities and ecosystems. Our research topics range from effects of eutrophication and climate change on fishes to the impact of light pollution on insects. In addition, we synthesise the field through reviews, both traditional and systematic, and build conceptual frameworks to generate predictions and guide empirical and theoretical work. 

Cardoso Pedro

Pedro Cardoso: Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS

Having hosted two MSC during the last five years, I am proposing projects on global biogeography and conservation problems. Often building on big data, our lab is developing new tools to measure and compare phylogenetic and functional diversity across scales. We are also working on several machine learning algorithms to mobilize and analyse existing spatial and temporal data sources.

Di-Poi Nicolas

Nicolas Di-Poï: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

Research in our group investigates a number of questions central to understanding animal evolution, ecology, development and regeneration. Our general objective is to shed light onto the multiple paths taken in the evolution of vertebrates, by providing a new evolutionary context to the key genetic program and signaling pathways of biological patterning and regeneration. In particular, squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes) represent ideal model systems to assess fundamental questions about phenotypic diversity and vertebrate evolution, as this geographically widespread and species-rich group displays an exceptional array of life-styles, ecologies, morphologies, and regeneration capacities.    


Duplouy Anne

Anne Duplouy Academy Reseach Fellow, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

We investigate ecological and evolutionary processes in host-symbiont interactions. For example: we look at the effects of environmental changes (climate change to habitat degradation) on microbial communities associated to their insect hosts; or the effect of symbiotic association on the evolution of their hosts (eg. sympatric speciation, reproductive system evolution, population genetics). We are also interested in symbiont diversity, from microbiome studies to metagenomic studies.

Fagerholm Susanna

Susanna Fagerholm: Research Programme of Molecular and Integrative Biosciences, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Integrin-mediated cell adhesion, migration and signalling is crucial for proper immune system function. Integrins regulate leukocyte functions such as lymphocyte recirculation, access of leukocytes into inflamed tissue, phagocytosis, immune cell signaling, T cell activation and effector functions. Investigations of the regulation of integrins are therefore fundamental for our understanding of immune system function in health and disease. In addition, integrins are recognized therapeutic targets in the intervention with human disease. Our group is interested in the in vivo roles and regulation of leukocyte beta2-integrins in a healthy and dysfunctional immune system. We utilize cutting edge in vivo immunological methods and cell biology approaches, combined with multi-omics approaches to study integrins in immunity.

Frilander Mikko

Mikko Frilander: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

We study mRNA processing regulation by the minor spliceosome, which is a paraller pre-mRNA splicing machinery in the cells of most metazoan organisms. It functions together with the marjor spliceosome during nuclear pre-mRNA processing phase of gene expression, targeting approximately 700 genes in humans. Our recent work has demonstrated that this gene expression machinery is particuarly associated with regulation of cell proliferation/differentiation decisions.  We are particularly interested of the regulation of minor spliceosome activity and human diseases caused by mutations in the minor spliceosome components. We work primary with various mammalian cell lines and use  molecular biology, RNA biochemistry, cell biology and bioinformatics/genomics methods.


He Xiaolan

Xiaolan He: Finnish Museum of Natural History

Our research is in the field of bryophyte taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary history, and early land plant evolution. Our aim is to understand bryophyte biodiversity, evolutionary processes leading to the extant species diversity, as well as plant terrestrialization. We use phylogenetic comparative methods to address our research questions using data from morphology to genome levels. 

Heinonen Mari

Mari Heinonen: Department of Production Animal Medicine,  Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and One Health

We investigate the development of microbiota of pigs and things associated with it. We are trying to find microbiota which is beneficial for the health of pigs and could possibly be used as a probiotic for them. In addition to that we study the use of antimicrobials in pig herds.  

Huiskonen Juha

Juha Huiskonen: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

Our research in the Laboratory of Structural Biology aims at understanding the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their complexes, such as those involved in cellular cargo transport, protein folding, cell-cell contacts and viral infection. We strive to decipher basic principles in their assembly and function by structural biology methods, notably cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). We are also actively developing computational data analysis and sample tagging and capture methods for cryo-EM. Detailed mechanistic understanding of proteins involved in disease is informing rational design of therapies.

Jokitalo Eija

Eija Jokitalo: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

The Jokitalo group studies structure-function interplay of organelles in mammalian cells. Our main model organelle is the endoplasmic reticulum. We employ a wide range of basic biological techniques and advanced imaging techniques, and have developed imaging software for multidimensional imaging. Our research can shed light on the connection between the endoplasmic reticulum and many diseases, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Juhola Sirkku

Sirkku Juhola: Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences HELSUS

UEP research group is a multidisciplinary group with a focus on understanding sustainability challenges in the urban context. We focus on understanding climate risks and other hazards regarding how they manifest in the urban context. We also focus our research on climate and other environmental policy in order to understand how cities can mitigate and adapt to environmental change and provide a healthy and sustainable living spaces for residents.

Kajander Tommi

Tommi Kajander: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

Our research focuses on studies on the molecular structure and mechanism of proteins, in particular protein complexes, recently in structural biology of neuronal adhesion and regulation of ER stress response, currently we are looking to strengthen our research team in either structural studies of novel synaptic adhesion protein complexes (Karki et al 2020, 2018, Paatero et al 2016) or in the area of complement protein interaction with factor H  and ApoE (e.g. Kajander et al 2011, Haapasalo et al 2015) interactions with other immune response protein involved in regulation of inflammation related to ApoE and its role in atherosclerosis and e.g. Alzheimer’s disease with collaborators, here we aim to solve the structure of relevant protein complexes to understand regulation of inflammation involving ApoE and FH. We also collaborate on various structural biology projects with local bioscience research groups through the protein crystallography core facility.


Kangasjärvi Saijaliisa

Saijaliisa Kangasjärvi: Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Department of Agricultural Sciences,  Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

We are interested in basic and applied aspects of plant stress responses. We study the molecular mechanisms through which light affects the chemical composition and ageing of leaves. Many stress-induced phytochemicals affect the color, flavor and nutritional value of leafy vegetables. We apply this information with industrial partners to forward cultivation in domestic table gardens and vertical farms.

Kratochwil Claudius

Claudius Kratochwil: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

The diversity of form and function that we can observe on all levels of biological complexity is one of the most fascinating phenomena of the living world. The Integrative Evolutionary Biology (IEB) lab uses coloration phenotypes of tropical fish species (mainly cichlid fishes) as a model to understand the genomic, developmental, and cellular mechanisms that underlie their spectacular diversity as well as the forces that shape their evolution. Our system offers a wide range of methodological approaches ranging from genome sequencing, to CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis, single-cell RNA-sequencing and 3D electron microscopy that permit us to address unique questions related to how animal coloration forms and evolves.


Laaksonen Timo

Timo Laaksonen: Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Faculty of Pharmacy (also Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Tampere University)

We want to improve drug delivery by using new nanomaterials and photochemical tools. For example, nanocellulose is used to make controlled drug release formulations and liposomes are studied for light-activated drug release. We are affiliated with the Academy of Finland Flagship GeneCellNano, work closely with a photochemistry group at Tampere University, and have access to both pharmaceutical and photochemical laboratories. Our website has an updated list of ongoing projects (incl. an ERC-grant).

Lauri Sari

Sari Lauri: Neuroscience Center, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

Our research focuses on the development and plasticity of limbic neuronal networks involved in memory encoding. We aim to understand how developmental plasticity mechanisms and kainate-type glutamate receptors contribute to network functions underlying normal and aberrant behavior, particularly related to developmentally originating neuropsychiatric disorders and early life stress. Furthermore, we aim to test whether the unique effects of KARs on circuit excitability and remodeling could be exploited as a common therapeutic strategy against neurological disorders involving alterations in network excitability. Our experimental approach involves the use of electrophysiological techniques in combination with pharmacological and local genetic manipulation in various neuronal preparations and with behavioral testing.


Lehikoinen Aleksi

Aleksi Lehikoinen: Finnish Museum of Natural History

The research group is broadly interested in ecology using birds as a study taxon. The main study themes are how climate change and other human induced environmental changes are affecting populations of species and what factors explain species-specific responses. The studies have often practical applications and support conservation and management. The main data source of the studies are long-term national and international time series of bird monitoring data collected especially by volunteer birdwatchers.

Lengefeld Jette

Jette Lengefeld: Institute of Biotechnology and Karolinska Institutet

The failure to regenerate tissue with age is a major health issue. A contributor to this decline is the loss of stem cell function. Despite the essential role of stem cells, it is still unclear how they fail to maintain their functions during ageing and disease.

We discovered a new aspect of stem cell ageing in vivo: cellular enlargement. With age and damage, stem cells increase in size causing their functional decline. However, we are only beginning to understand how size impacts stem cell fitness and the physiological importance of this process remains unsolved.

Lilley Thomas

Thomas M. Lilley: Finnish Museum of Natural History

BatLab Finland takes a holistic approach to understanding unresolved questions in bat biology. Our topics range from hibernation ecology of bats in the far North, to understanding how bat communities respond to anthropogenic change, observing how disease has molded the genomes of bats in the past, and what this can tell us about the susceptibility of bats to pathogens. Please view our webpage for further information and publications.


Lundell Taina

Taina Lundell: Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and  Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) 

Eco-physiology, genomics, transcriptomics and metabolism of wood-decaying forest fungi are our topics of research. We aim at opening fungal interactions and microbial activities on decaying wood and on lignocellulose substrates. Currently, we are exploring fungal bioconversion abilities for production of bioactive natural compounds and antioxidants from plant-based wastes.  



Mappes Johanna

Johanna Mappes: Ecology and Evolution of interactions, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Our lab has long-standing interests to understand the behavioural and genetic processes th at underscore variation in animal interactions.

Our main line of questioning investigates the evolution of polymorphism within populations and divergence between populations.

Some projects focus on the relationships between species, from the conflict between predators and prey to the mutualistic cooperation of symbiotes. Other projects look to the relationships among members of the same species, such as those involved with sexual selection.



Mikkonen Kirsi

Kirsi Mikkonen:  Department of Food and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry  

The multidisciplinary research group contributes to developing a more sustainable food system. The group’s research interests include valorization of industrial side streams for food and packaging materials, focusing on wood and grain hemicelluloses and fungal biomass. The group also studies vegetable shelf-life and develops active packaging materials to prevent food waste.

Mäkelä Miia

Miia Mäkelä: Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forest and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)

Research themes:

  • Role of sugar transport in filamentous fungal plant biomass degradation to improve microbial cell factories.
  • Regulatory systems that control plant biomass degradation in basidiomycete fungi.
  • Conversion of natural and waste biomass by fungi and their enzymes into value-added compounds.
  • Comparative (post-)genomic studies on fungal plant biomass conversion strategies.
Niku Mikael

Mikael Niku: Veterinary Biosciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Helsinki One Health

We investigate the earliest host-microbe interactions in mammals: how the maternal intestinal microbiota impacts the fetal and perinatal development of the immune system and brain. Our research currently focuses on the characterization and effects of microbial metabolites and bacterial extracellular vesicles. We study several mammalian species, from mice to large production animals and humans

Norkko Alf and Gustafsson Camilla

Alf Norkko (Supervisor): Tvärminne Zoological Station, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University  

Camilla Gustafsson (Co-host): Tvärminne Zoological Station, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences 

The research themes of CoastClim and the Marine Ecosystems Research Group include different aspects of carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems. These range from exploring organic matter degradation, carbon turnover and temporal and spatial carbon pools in for example benthic and macrophyte communities, pelagic biodiversity, habitat mapping, sediment biogeochemistry, pelagic biogeochemistry (including real-time continuous greenhouse gas (GHG) flux measurements), atmospheric sciences (atmospheric GHG, aerosol formation, sea spray dynamics) and ecosystem modelling. The work in CoastClim will include manipulative field and laboratory experiments, where for example, carbon uptake and release of macrophytes (aquatic plants, algae) are investigated and heatwaves are simulated to explore how elements of carbon cycling (e.g. respiration, GHG emissions, organic matter degradation) change in seafloor communities. The interdisciplinary group of CoastClim includes expertise on benthic and pelagic ecology, sediment and pelagic biogeochemistry, atmospheric sciences and ecosystem modelling and thus, allows for a wide range of novel research topics to be explored and provides a vivid, supportive, and stimulating research environment for early-career researchers interested in different topics in relation to coastal ecosystems and climate change research.

(Group website Centre for Coastal Ecosystem and Climate Change Research, COASTCLIM under construction, finalized in Feb 2022)

Näreaho Anu

Anu Näreaho: Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Our veterinary parasitology research has been focusing in zoonotic foodborne parasites, but at the moment research is done in companion animal parasites too. The research group is small and consists of supervising professor, university lecturer and the licentiate or PhD-students with research partners co-operating in the projects. The specific area of the post doctoral visit will be tailored according to the interests and expertise of the fellow, as far it is in line with the topics going on at that time. In addition to the up-to-date laboratories and other facilities for research, we offer a possibility to collect experience in teaching.

Pajari Anne-Maria

Anne-Maria Pajari: Department of Food and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry  

My research group is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which diets, foods, and diet-derived compounds mediate their effects on health and prevention of non-communicable diseases. Our main focus is on gut physiology, metabolism and microbiota. We are particularly interested in the effects of plant-based foods, berries and their polyphenols as well as dietary proteins on the metabolism as a whole and the risk of colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. Our methodological approaches include human clinical trials, animal models and cell cultures.


Pitkänen Tarja

Tarja Pitkänen: Department of  Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare/Expert Microbiology Unit   

Tarja Pitkänen’s group research interests focus on environmental health and environmental microbiology. Specifically, the group expertise covers water microbiology in terms how waterborne microbes might endanger the health of water users. This entails microbes and methods used for water quality monitoring and fecal source tracking, and pathogens causing waterborne and zoonotic infections.

Poczai Péter

Péter Poczai: Finnish Museum of Natural History and Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

My research is centered around phylogenomics, molecular evolution, and comparative genomics. I am integrating both applied and theoretical aspects of plant biology into a complex scientific framework. I am interested in i) crop wild relatives and orphan crops ii) plant invasions and genetics of adaptation, and iii) plastid genome diversity. I have a special interest in the economically important nightshade family (Solanaceae). My recent methodology is centered around museomics using herbarium material for genome skimming, target capture sequencing, SNP genotyping in a hologenomic approach.

Pyhäjärvi Tanja

Tanja Pyhäjärvi: Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forest

Our major goal is to understand what evolutionary mechanisms lead to genetic and phenotypic variation that we observe among species and populations. We work on forest tree population genomics, tackling problems relating to local adaptation, population demographic history, effects of domestication and breeding and identifying genetic footprint of natural selection. Studying especially the outcrossing species with large population sizes, such as forest trees is important for understanding how adaptation to various environmental conditions arise. As methods to answer these questions, we use DNA sequencing, gene expression studies, crossing experiments, bioinformatics, and other computational methods such as simulations.

Rikkinen Jouko

Jouko Rikkinen: Finnish Museum of Natural History and Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences 

Multidisciplinary studies on the diversity, ecology and evolution of cyanobacteria, eukaryotic phototrophs and fungi. Active research lines currently include diversity and ecology of cyanobacterial photobionts in lichen symbioses, diversity and ecology of termite-associated fungi with special emphasis on ecosystem interactions and paleoecological potential, and diversity, ecology and evolution of resinicolous ascomycetes.

Saarikangas Juha

Juha Saarikangas: Helsinki Institute of Life Science and Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Our research focuses on the spatial and temporal regulation of cellular proteostasis in yeast and neuronal models. Our goal is to describe how dynamic alterations in protein folding and assembly states regulate cellular information flow in fundamental processes such as differentiation, aging and memory. Our overarching hypothesis is that spatial differences in protein folding and assembly states contribute to non-genetic cellular diversity and play an important role in confining cellular activities during asymmetric cell division and synaptic individualization.


Sarin Peter

Peter Sarin: Molecular and Integrative Biosciences Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

The RNAcious laboratory is interested in how RNA-based mechanisms modulate translation. We focus on the multifaceted role of post-transcriptional nucleoside modification (PTM) on transfer RNA and investigate how changes in PTM dynamics influences a myriad of functions ranging from host-pathogen interaction, stress responses, cellular development, aging, and tumor formation. To this end, we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with experience in RNA biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, and/or bioinformatics to complement the team on one of two focus areas: host-pathogen interaction or bioproduction systems (see web page for further information).


Sharma Vivek

Vivek Sharma: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE and Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

We study the molecular mechanism of proteins involved in biological energy conversion and mitochondrial function/dysfunction. We apply multi-scale computational approaches such as atomistic and coarse-grained MD simulations, DFT calculations and hybrid QM/MM simulations to understand enzyme mechanism in great depth.

For this purpose, we rely on high performance supercomputing infrastructure (CSC, Finland and PRACE) and on extensive collaborations with experimental groups in Finland and abroad. Our research bridges the two campuses of the University of Helsinki, Viikki and Kumpula, fostering close collaboration, networking and teaching.

Talman Virpi

Virpi Talman: Drug Research Program and Division of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Faculty of Pharmacy

We aim at discovering new ways to treat heart diseases by investigating the molecular mechanisms of cardiac regeneration and thereby identifying new potential drug targets, which could be targeted to promote cardiomyocyte renewal after a myocardial infarction. In particular, we are interested in metabolism and the cross-talk of cardiomyocytes and vascular endothelial cells as regulators of heart regeneration. We are also interested in finding treatments that inhibit pathological cardiac remodeling, i.e. hypertrophy and fibrosis. In collaboration with medicinal chemists, we develop, screen and characterize new compounds with potential to enhance the regenerative capacity of the heart or to inhibit cardiac remodeling.

Tammela Päivi

Päivi Tammela: Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Faculty of Pharmacy

The research programme of my group centres on advancing antimicrobial drug discovery from multiple aspects, covering the discovery of new antimicrobial agents, validating new targets and strategies, and development of screening tools from a comprehensive perspective, by utilising both biochemical assays and complex cell-based assays in a complementary fashion. We place special emphasis on using natural products (NP) and NP-inspired synthetic compounds in screening to facilitate their integration into high throughput screening campaigns. 

Thorogood Rose

Rose Thorogood: Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE and  Research Programme in Organismal & Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biological & Environmental Sciences

We study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of social interactions and information use, particularly in response to rapid environmental change. Wild birds are our focal organisms and our model systems include (cuckoo) brood parasite-host interactions undergoing range expansions, predator-prey interactions, and conservation of threatened species. We offer an international environment within a research constellation of diverse research interests.


Varjosalo Markku

Markku Varjosalo: Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE

Our longstanding interest is the global and comprehensive understanding of how key cellular signaling molecules; protein kinases, protein phosphatases and transcription factors mediate their signaling potential and how the signaling is changed in diseases in the immunology and oncology axis. In our research we employ systems biology toolkit (proteomics, sequencing and high-throughput screening), which allows us to generate global and systems level understanding on how disease-causing mutations mediate their effects, enabling also the development of therapeutic or diagnostic approaches.

Väliranta Minna

Minna Väliranta: Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU)Ecosystems: Environment Research ProgrammeFaculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)  

A topical question is how climate warming is changing peatland processes, thus carbon cycling. My team is approaching peatlands from multiple angles: on-going lateral peat expansion (potential additional carbon sink), initiation of new organic soils in the Arctic (overlooked carbon sink?), permafrost peatland succession processes (carbon sink or source?) and are peatlands drying and if yes, why? (potential carbon source). We combine various methodology from plant and microbial analyses to carbon accumulation rate modelling. My group welcomes expertise, novel openings and ideas especially on molecular/isotope methodologies and GIS/remote sense know-how applicable for the research questions. 

Yli-Kauhaluoma Jari

Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma: Drug Research Program, Faculty of Pharmacy

By applying and developing drug discovery methods, my team focuses on synthetic medicinal chemistry of antimicrobial and anticancer agents, protein kinases as well as medicinal chemistry of induction of cellular reprogramming and differentiation by means of small molecule compounds.