Profile and Activities

Want to know what we're all about? On this page, we've gathered information on our research profile and the research fields involved in the programme. Here, you will also find information on the studies and the type of activities and networks that await if you join the doctoral programme.


The Instructions for Students website, aimed at current and old doctoral students, offers advice related to funding your studies, doing doctoral-level research and all the other information you need to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki.


ILS is an international doctoral program providing structured training in life sciences areas requiring multidisciplinary skills and capability engage in multiprofessional cooperation. 

The Life Science areas in Finland share a strong component of multidisciplinary approaches bridging research in basic biosciences, computational sciences and medicine. The research groups affiliated in ILS represent the highest quality life science research in Helsinki. Their research interests cover nearly all aspects of modern life sciences ranging from molecular medicine and developmental biology to biophysics and systems biology.

The integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used.

Research and doctoral training in ILS includes the following fields of science:

  • Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Developmental Biology and Physiology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

The date and time when registration for a particular course opens in WebOodi is given in the course announcement. Once the call is opened a deadline for registrations is given. Usually the call for applications opens approximately one month and closes approximately two weeks before the course starts. These are only guidelines – always check the deadlines for the course you are interested in! Please follow your email and the doctoral programme homepages to stay up-to-date on courses.

Studies are completed flexibly on courses and through means other than traditional coursework: conference presentations, scientific and popular articles etc. Want to know more? Visit our study planning instructions for current doctoral students at the university's Instructions for Students -service.

Courses in research ethics and transferable skills are offered throughout the academic year by the Doctoral School in Health Sciences.

To get started:

See Instructions for students website for more information about

  • Registering courses and activities completed elsewhere (conferences etc) and
  • Registering study modules.
  • Doc­toral can­did­ates´trans­ition to the new de­gree sys­tem: More information on Instructions for students webpage.

Cell Biology Club

The Cell Biology Club seminar series will be organized on selected Thursdays at 14.15-15.30.
In Autumn 2020 the Cell Biology Clubs will be organized in Zoom

Cell Biology Club Seminars: 2:15-3:30 PM

Oct. 8:
Shentong Fang (group Kari Alitalo):
 The protective role of VEGF-C on the bone marrow vascular niche.
Behnam Lak (group Eija Jokitalo): FAM134C promotes ER membrane curvature and has a functional role in autophagy.

Oct 29:
Leah Biggs:
Reconstructing regulatory principles of stem cell niches and cell fate dynamics using organoids.

Nov 26:
Taru Hilander (group Hongxia Zhao):
A novel GTPase is required for mitoribosomal biogenesis and mitochondrial translation
Sandra Harjuhaahto (group Henna Tyynismaa): Modeling neurodegeneration in late-onset spinal muscular atrophy with iPSC-derived motor neurons

Janne Purhonen (group Jukka Kallijärvi): will decide later
Shrikant Kokate (group Pekka Lappalainen):
L-Caldesmon controls stress fiber organization and contractility in non-muscle cells

Organiser: Dr Hongxia Zhao
See also WebOodi: ILS-113 and ILS-114

Molecules Club

Molecules Clubs are up and running on Autumn 2020. They are organized in Zoom

The Structural Biology and Biophysics (SBB) Molecules Club has been held monthly (since Autumn 2016), normally on Tuesdays 9.15-10 am, and feature the talks from Viikki campus research groups on molecular biosciences and structural biology and biophysics, as well as from invited guest speakers. The club is held in Biocenter 3 3rd floor, seminar room 3401 (unless otherwise specified). The meetings are open to all. Credits will be available for students (instructions coming soon).

Updated programme here

Developmental biology journal club (ILS-109)

The journal club sare organized on selected Thursdays at 9-10. The meeting on 1.10. will be online-only (zoom link in Moodle page).  The seminars on 29.10, 12.11 and 26.11. will be held in the lecture room 2012 in Viikki Biocenter 2. The lecture room fits 23 participants following the social distancing regulations. It will also be possible to join those seminars by zoom.

All speakers and participants: please follow the instructions below when preparing your presentation.



1.10.     Talha Quereshi (Kuure lab): online only seminar (Zoom link in Moodle)
29.10.   Verdiana Papagno (Mikkola lab)
12.11.   Hao Li  (Kuure lab)
26.11.   Daria Razmadze (Di Poi lab)

Course Moodle for materials and info:

Link to WebOodi: ILS-109

Credits: 1-2 ECTS, maximum 2 ECTS (1 from attendance, 2 from presentations).
Organizer: Dr. Kaia Achim (kaia.achim(at)

Genome Club

Due to the state of emergency, and following the University of Helsinki guidelines, the upcoming Genome Club seminar (March 19th), and following seminars are postponed, until the University recommendations for planned public events are updated.

On selected Thursdays at 15:15 in Biocenter 3, room 3402 (unless otherwise mentioned).

Organizer: Susana Garcia,

  • Microbiology seminars (by MBDP doctoral programme)
  • Virus Club (by MBDP doctoral programme)
  • NorDoc network (Scandinavian network in health sciences)
  • NOVA network (Scandinavian network for veterinary medicine, agriculture & forestry)
    • The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are members of the NOVA (The Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network). Students of member faculties may participate on NOVA courses free of charge (travel and accommodation not included).
  • CSC, IT-center for sciences

  • Na­tional courses FinBioNet page (→ FinBioNet course calendar)

PhD candidates have many opportunities to participate in planning activities and influence on decision-making in doctoral education.

Further information on student council activities is available in the instructions for students on the article Doctoral students and student organisation activities, and on other organization activities in the instructions for students on the article Doctoral students as student representatives.

Read more about ILS Student Council

Read more about The University of Helsinki PhD Students organisation (HYVÄT)