Professor Olli Silvennoinen recruited as Director of the Institute of Biotechnology

Professor Silvennoinen has made groundbreaking discoveries in immunology and has developed innovative ways to lead research centres in Finland and internationally.

The Rector of the University of Helsinki has appointed Professor Olli Silvennoinen as Director of the Institute of Biotechnology (BI) for a five-year term starting 1 January 2018. The Institute of Biotechnology operates within the new Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE.

“Based on the responses during the interviews, the staff of BI is as thrilled as I am with the appointment of Silvennoinen,” notes Tomi Mäkelä, Director of HiLIFE and Chair of the appointment committee. 

“The Scientific Council recognized Silvennoinen’s wide expertise in molecular biology and biotechnology as well as his vision to innovate in new ways.”


Silvennoinen participated in a panel discussion at the Institute of Biotechnology on Tuesday.   

“It’s an exceptional opportunity to take the lead of BI, which is the pioneer of Finnish biocenters,” says Silvennoinen.

“I have high appreciation for its scientists and, for me, BI’s activities represent a good balance of familiar and new approaches. The cornerstone of BI remains in its commitment to high-quality research which provides a solid basis for development of start-ups to exploit this expertise. I’m also looking forward to working together with the larger life science community on the Viikki campus and in HiLIFE."

Currently, Silvennoinen is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Tampere. He was trained at the University of Helsinki followed by a highly successful postdoctoral period with Yossi Schlessinger leading to the identification of the JAK-STAT pathway.

He has wide leadership experience e.g. from the Institute of Medical Technology at the University of Tampere, and the Biocenter Finland where he has acted as the Chair of the Board and the Stem Cells and Biomaterials Network. Silvennoinen has spent several years in the United States at St Jude’s Children's Research Hospital, UCSF, and Yale University, and in China as a visiting professor of the Tianjin Medical School.


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