HiLIFE attracts top-level researchers to Finland

A new research institute, HiLIFE, at the University of Helsinki attracts top-level scientists in the competitive life science area.

"It’s great that we've managed to turn brain drain to brain gain. Especially young  top researchers have the opportunity to move with their funding both in Europe and in the US to the most attractive research environments," notes Tomi Mäkelä, the Founding Director of Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE.

HiLIFE  is currently recruiting more than ten top-level researchers from almost 350 high quality applicants together with the faculties of University of Helsinki. Recruitment for Tenure Track Assistant/Associate Professor positions started in the fall and the first appointments were just made by Rector Jukka Kola.  

"The University of Helsinki considers it important to further strengthen the internationally competitive life science area across the faculties and thereby ensure the success of the universities research success as a whole. The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary University of Helsinki invests in several ways in its strategic and profiled research areas," says Rector Kola.

Rose Thorogood from the University of Cambridge and Sara Wickström from Max Planck Institute of Biology of Ageing were among the first recruits.

Thorogood investigates how species respond to environmental changes and was appointed as Assistant Professor in Behavioural Ecology. Her main interest has been the hihi, a bird endemic to New Zealand, but undoubtedly her future interests will expand to Finnish species in her new setting in HiLIFE on Viikki Campus in affiliation with the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

"I’m very excited to be joining HiLIFE and the University of Helsinki. World-class facilities coupled with the inspiring natural environment on the doorstep will advance my research combining evolutionary biology with animal behaviour and conservation," says Thorogood.

Wickström studied medicine at the University of Helsinki but has thereafter built a successful career in Germany at their top research institute investigating how cells move and interact in tissues and in diseases. She was appointed as Associate Professor in Tissue Architecture and will start a lab in HiLIFE on the Meilahti Campus in affiliation with the Faculty of Medicine.

"HiLIFE is a perfect environment to continue my research with an innovative edge on stem cells and mechanobiology. Of course it was also great to find an internationally competitive position in Finland and come back after a long time abroad," notes Wickstöm.

With the new recruitments HiLIFE gets to a great start as an attractive international environment for top research. With an innovative approach to life sciences, from molecules and cells to entire organisms and ecosystems, HiLIFE forms a cornerstone of a leading Nordic life science hub in Helsinki where grand challenges in health, food, and environment can be solved together.

Contact information: Director Tomi Mäkelä, hilife-director@helsinki.fi, puh. +358 50 5286128, @HiLIFE_Helsinki

Five new HiLIFE Tenure Track Assistant/Associate Professors
  • Huiskonen, Juha, structural biology, associate, HiLIFE & Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Katajisto, Pekka, aging biology, associate, HiLIFE & Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Saarikangas, Juha, quantitative biology, assistant, HiLIFE & Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Thorogood, Rose, behavioural ecology, assistant, HiLIFE & Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Wickström, Sara, tissue architecture, associate, HiLIFE & Faculty of Medicine

Additional six assistant/associate professor nominations in negotiations.