The plant biology community of the Viikki Campus, University of Helsinki, is vibrant. The Campus itself feels like a little village surrounded by a nature reserve and fields, but it is actually only 20 minutes away from the Helsinki city centre. Students have the opportunity to do field work in the University's field stations, reaching from the shores of the Baltic Sea to Lapland and the Taita mountains in Kenya.
The Plant Biology Master's programme at the University of Helsinki gives the student the possibility to study plant biology from all the relevant aspects. The ecology team is interested in a wide range of topics within ecology, including evolution and microevolutionary events such as adaptation to disease.
"We also have a really strong team looking at the molecular biology of plants," explains Professor Anna-Liisa Laine from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.
The Plant Biology Master's programme also has expertise and offers courses on applied aspects such as food production and plant breeding.
"So you can really get the viewpoint of just marvelling at the diversity of plants in nature, or of thinking of them as a tool we need to survive, as well as thinking at different hierarchical levels, from molecules to individuals to populations and then to global distributions of biodiversity. I think that's the real strength here," Anna-Liisa Laine continues.
Plants help understand how life works
Plants can also give a lot of information about other organisms, not just the plants themselves.
"We can really get a peek into the inner machinery that makes the cell function and makes cells function together. We can ask precise questions about all the processes that make life work," says research group leader Michael Wrzaczek.
Viikki – a plant biology hub with close connections all over the world
Viikki Campus, just 20 minutes away from the Helsinki city centre, is the hub for plant biology studies. In addition, the Plant Biology Master's programme is closely connected with three different University of Helsinki field stations, from southern Finland all the way to the northernmost field station in Europe, in Kilpisjärvi, Lapland .
The University of Helsinki also has a field site in the tropics, in the Taita mountains, so students have the opportunity to study biodiversity and how the ecosystem is functioning in different parts of the world.
The international atmosphere of the Viikki Campus is reflected at all levels, from the undergraduate level to the level of researchers. International students are well integrated into the student community and Helsinki.
"This is a pretty exotic place for many coming outside Finland, but Helsinki is a well-proportioned city with a lot of urban city culture and events. The public transport functions well. And Viikki is a great base for students – this is the community we feel right at home in," says plant biology student Mikko Jalo.
University of Helsinki field stations connected with plant biology: