Tiina Sikanen: Customized Micro Total Analysis Systems to Study Human Phase I Metabolism, 2013–2019
Academy researcher Tiina Sikanen develops inexpensive, high-throughput technology to screen the thus far unexplored metabolic interactions between environmental and household chemicals and clinically relevant drugs. Sikanen has received an ERC Proof of Concept Grant to commercialise her quick test of liver enzyme activity.
Sikanen is also part of a research project, which aims to solve environmental problems associated with drug manufacturing, consumption and disposal.
Kaius Tuori: Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934–1964, 2013–2018
Professor Kaius Tuori studies the European crisis of the 1930s, which led to the rise of Nazism, fascism and communism.
In his ERC Starting Grant funded research, Tuori demonstrated that even in Europe the rights tradition is a conscious construction by a group of legal scholars reacting to contemporary events. The study is about a group of innovators who are forced to reinvent themselves and their science abroad after being exiled by Nazi Germany. This reinvention meant that they had to first rethink all that they had previously done and then to address a new audience in a new language, simultaneously trying to make sense of the catastrophe.
Tuori currently works with ERC Consolidator Grant funding.
Maria Vartiainen: Actin as the Master Organizer of Nuclear Structure and Function, 2012–2018
Research Director Maria Vartiainen studies how actin regulates gene expression. In the cytoplasm, actin has a well-established role as a component of the cytoskeleton, and plays important roles for example in cell motility and morphology. Nuclear actin has been linked to many processes related to gene expression, such as RNA polymerase function and chromatin remodeling. In addition, actin regulates the activity of specific transcription factors, including SRF.
With their ERC funding, Vartiainen and her group studied the nucleus which is a compartmentalized organelle. Vartiainen thinks that the true potential of nuclear actin has not been fully appreciated and the key questions concerning it could be studied by manipulating actin specifically in the nucleus, and by identifying nuclear actin binding partners, respectively.
Hélder A. Santos: Multistage-Multifunctional Porous Silicon Nanovectors for Directed Theranostics, 2013–2017
Associate professor Hélder A. Santos develops microscopically small drug carriers, which can deliver medicine to precisely the right place in the body to be released at precisely the right time.
Santos has also received ERC Proof of Concept funding to commercialise his nanovaccine discovery.
Ville Hietakangas: Transcriptional networks in glucose sensing, 2012–2017
Professor Ville Hietakangas studies the body's messages about nutritional.
In his ERC funded project he and his team studied the messages that the organism of a fruit fly sends about its nutritional status. Among other things, the team has discovered a genetic mutation in a fly that severely disturbs glucose metabolism.
Hietakangas' group has discovered that protein PWP1 acts as a critical link between cellular nutrient sensing and ribosome biogenesis. They have also found that the ability to use sugar as food varies strongly between closely related species and identified the genetic basis of this variation. The study also provides a starting point for an investigation into whether human populations with different dietary histories respond differently to modern sugar-rich diets.
Iiris Hovatta: A cross-species neurogenomics approach to anxiety, 2012–2017
Professor of behavioural genetics Iiris Hovatta studies anxiety. Hovatta specializes in Anxiety disorders which are the most common mental disorders within the EU and cause considerable disability due to high prevalence, early-onset and chronic nature. The major questions in anxiety disorders are which molecular events lead to and maintain pathological anxiety, and how this pathology can be normalized.
In her ERC funded project, Hovatta studied which gene networks are involved in the regulation of anxiety, in addition to identifying individual susceptibility genes.
Mikko Niemi: Transporter pharmacogenomics – the contribution of transporters to variability in drug response, 2012–2017
Professor Mikko Niemi studies gene mutations linked to the response to cholesterol medicine and its side effects.
Niemi currently works with ERC Consolidator Grant funding.
Anna-Liisa Laine: Linking Pathogen Evolution and Epidemiology, 2011–2016
Professor Anna-Liisa Laine studies the development of disease resistance. Her ERC funded research focuses on plants, but the mechanisms of diseases and immunity are very similar in other species as well.
Laine currently works with ERC Consolidator Grant funding.
Tuomas Hytönen: Analytic-probabilistic methods for borderline singular integrals, 2011–2016
Professor of Mathematics Tuomas Hytönen studies harmonic analysis. In his ERC funded project, Hytönen advanced the understanding of singular integral operators of Harmonic Analysis in various situations on the borderline of the existing theory.
Hanna Vehkamäki: Role of Molecular Clusters in Atmospheric Particle Formation, 2011–2016
Professor Hanna Vehkamäki seeks to achieve a comprehensive understanding of atmospheric nanocluster and ice crystal formation based on fundamental physico-chemical principles.
Vehkamäki currently works with ERC Advanced Grant funding.
Atte Moilanen: Global Environmental Decision Analysis, 2011–2015
Research director Atte Moilanen studies the concepts, methods, theory and application of spatial ecology and conservation. He has developed ecologically based, operational computational methods for conservation resource allocation.
In the ERC funded research project Moilanen and his group focused on global environmental decision analysis. Their aim was to respond to growing environmental challenges with a project that provides improved conservation-oriented analytical methods and tools to underpin knowledge-based land-use planning and associated political decision making.
Hannes Lohi: Canine models of human psychiatric disease: identifying novel anxiety genes with the help of man's best friend, 2010–2015
Professor of molecular genetics Hannes Lohi studies human disease by the development of canine models of human complex diseases.Canine purebreeding has resulted in highly uniform genomes within each breed, in which the “noise” of background genetic variation is reduced making it easier to detect genetic “signals” that contribute to disease. With his ERC grant, Lohi studied canine neuropsychiatric diseases.
The research findings of Lohi's research group include, among others, the reason why many Rhodesian ridgebacks suffer from epilepsy, as well as a set of common denominators for dogs' fearfulness and human mental disorders.
Jukka Corander: Intelligent Stochastic Computation Methods for Complex Statistical Model Learning, 2009–2014
Professor Jukka Corander studies statistical machine learning, inference for intractable models and on evolutionary epidemiology using genomics.
Corander's ERC Strating Grant funded project focused on stochastic computational and modeling strategies. The research group developed methods that overcame problems associated with the analysis of highly complex data sets.
Sanna Lehtonen: Insulin resistance and diabetic nephropathy – development of novel in vivo models for drug discovery, 2009–2014
Professor of translational metabolism Sanna Lehtonen studies diabetes and diabetic nephropathy. In her ERC funded project, Lehtonen's group focused on the first stages of the disease.
Since then, Lehtonen has discovered a mechanism of action underlying the widely used diabetes drug metformin, which may expand its indications for use, as well as open new inroads in pharmaceutical development. Lehtonen demonstrated in cell cultures and in an animal model that metformin directly binds to the lipid phosphatase SHIP2, reducing its activity. The reduction in SHIP2 activity increased glucose uptake in muscle cells and decreased cell death in podocytes, or glomerular epithelial cells.
Akseli Hemminki: Oncolytic adenoviruses expressing monoclonal antibody trastuzumab for treatment of Her-2+ cancer, 2008–2014
Professor of Oncology Akseli Hemminki develops new treatments for cancer. Hemminki's group focuses especially on gene therapy and oncolytic viruses.
Otso Ovaskainen: Spatial ecology: bringing mathematical theory and data together, 2008–2013
Professor of mathematical ecology Otso Ovaskainen mathematical theory, statistical methods, and empirical research. Ovaskainen's emphasis is on linking theory to observational and experimental environmental data. In his ERC Starting Grant funded research Ovaskainen and his group study natural population dynamics.
Ovaskainen currently works with ERC Synergy Grant funding.