Meet TRANSMED alumni: Katri Korpela, UH and EMBL

In addition to a MSc in Translational medicine, Katri Korpela has another Master’s degree and two PhDs. She is currently doing research on gut microbiota by the Academy of Finland funding.

After completing MSc degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, Katri Korpela felt that medical research would make it possible for her to really make a difference and improve people’s lives. Therefore she applied to TRANSMED programme.

With also two PhD degrees (from ecology and evolutionary biology and bacteriology and immunology) under her belt, Korpela is currently doing observational research on human gut microbiota and health, particularly on children.

In her current work she needs expertise from many fields and for that reason a broad background in biology is helpful. TRANSMED was a well-suited addition to that and also good as an introduction to medical research in general.

Also statistics and bioinformatics are important as well as an open mind to develop new ideas and ability to express your ideas or results clearly to others, Korpela says.

Korpela’s research is funded by the Academy of Finland and she splits her time between research at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Medicine and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany.

Korpela’s current daily duties consist mainly of analyzing data, writing papers, attending meetings and discussing via email with collaborators.

The toughest challenge related to her position is the workload, but at the same time she feels that the workload and the possibility to do many types of projects is also a positive thing.

Most rewarding is to find out how things work and that’s also what keeps me motivated. I have never planned my career but I’m happy where I am now and have enjoyed the process of getting there, Korpela says.

Korpela has achieved a lot but that has required plenty of academic work, and she has found that regardless of the field of study the number of publications is important when applying for funding or a position.

In the future she’ll most likely continue researching the child gut microbiota as she finds it interesting and enjoyable.

Publications by Katri Korpela can be accessed in TUHAT research database.