Jari Koistinaho is the new director of HiLIFE

The rector of the University of Helsinki has appointed Professor Jari Koistinaho as director of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE). His five-year term will begin on 1 September 2022.

Koistinaho has previously served as director of Neuroscience Centre, a research unit under HiLIFE.

“Jari Koistinaho has a strong and multidisciplinary research background, and knows the University of Helsinki and HiLIFE very well. I am looking forward to working closely with him,” says Rector Sari Lindblom of the University of Helsinki.

Criteria emphasised in the appointment of the HiLIFE director included leadership skills, change management expertise, strategic thinking and community building skills.

“The role is challenging and important because life science is a significant, extensive and strong discipline at the University of Helsinki. I am very pleased to accept this position,” says Koistinaho.

The Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE) is a research centre established in 2017 that supports top-level life science research across the campuses of the University of Helsinki and its faculties involved in the field. Life science research encompasses a wide range of areas, from molecular and cellular phenomena to whole organisms and ecosystems.

“The life science disciplines are developing globally in leaps and bounds, thanks to new knowledge and the latest technologies,” notes Koistinaho.

Understanding the functioning of various life forms and organisms, including humans, is important to us not just as individuals, but also as a society, he claims.

“Breakthroughs in life science will change our view of ourselves as humans and our understanding of life, while enabling remarkable applications that can make our lives and environment safer, healthier, more predictable and more diverse,” he continues.

Taking into account the many global threats we currently face, this is no small matter.

“The University of Helsinki’s life science research is internationally excellent, and I see great potential for many significant scientific breakthroughs and applications in the future,” Koistinaho states.

Jari Koistinaho has worked as director of HiLIFE’s Neuroscience Centre since 2018. He is professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy, part-time professor of regenerative medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, and docent of neurobiology at Tampere University. He has had a long career at the University of Eastern Finland’s A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, for example, as dean, as director of Biocenter Kuopio and as professor of stem cell research. Koistinaho has worked as a researcher and visiting research professor at NIH, UCSF, Stanford School of Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine in the United States, and at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. He has established three startups in the pharmaceutical development industry and licensed research-based inventions to international pharmaceutical companies. Jari Koistinaho is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.