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Researchers and Research groups involved in the on­go­ing COVID-19 pan­demic in Finland.
Jing Tang

Tenure-track Assistant Professor in statistics

My group is focusing on data integration for clinical decision making. For covid-19 we can offer biostatistics/bioinformatics/software development to enable the data integration on the prediction of diagnosis/prognosis/treatment of the disease.

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Anna Hielm-Björkman

Adjunct Professor (Docent in Clinical research in companion animals), PI, DVM, PhD

Anna works as a researcher and teacher at the department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She is the leader of the DogRisk research group and is also part of the One Health network. Her multidisciplinary group has two main research areas: Firstly, they are working with scent detection dogs and are now doing research on how well the scent detection dogs can diagnose Covid-19 individuals from healthy ones, and how long before and after the clinical disease. This is a new research area and Finland has been on the forefront of this research. Before, the used dogs have been detecting prostate, breast and mammary cancer in humans and dogs, and chronic pain attacks in humans. Secondly, the research group is looking at the role of nutrition, and especially the processing of foods, in chronic diseases that are seen both in dogs and humans. They use the home-living pet dog as a model for human and dog diseases. These diseases are e.g. cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, chronic intestinal and skin diseases, hypothyroidism, arthritis, allergy/atopy, heart diseases and several types of metabolic and inflammatory disorders. The research group does nutritional epidemiology, nutrigenomics, metabolomics, EV-research, studies on gut and food microbes, food hygiene, and nutritional profiling of both foods and individuals. Anna is a keen supervisor and lecturer worldwide. Her research group is currently focusing on developing both canine and technical solutions that are tied to Covid-19. On these topics she works together with Anu Kantele (HY; HUS), Olli Vapalahti (HY), Seppo Vainio (Oulu uni) and Jouko Vepsäläinen (Uni of eastern Finland). 

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Sakari Kuikka

PhD, professor 

Sakari Kuikka works as a full professor in fisheries biology. He is specialized to Bayesian decision analysis and probabilistic, interdisciplinary modelling of socio-biological systems. In addition to fisheries science, an important part of his research is focused on oil spill risk analysis.  He is the head of Fisheries and Environmental Management Group (FEM group).

In WISE project, his work will be re-directed to COVID19 related risk analysis. The aim is to describe the uncertainties related to epidemiological questions in a realistic way, including alternative hypothesis, and to use this probabilistic information to estimate the possible socio-economic outcomes.  Models will describe the uncertainty at the time when decisions must be made, but they can also be used to plan studies so, that critical uncertainties decrease. 

Janne Hukkinen

PhD, professor of environmental policy

Janne I. Hukkinen studies the cognitive aspects of sustainability assessment and strategy, with empirical applications in participation, expertise and risk in environmental policy. Hukkinen is the leader of the Strategic Research Council project WISE (Creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions, 2018-2023). WISE approaches and results are directly applicable in COVID-19 pandemic management. 

Emmy Verschuren

PhD, Research Coordinator, FIMM

We take a comprehensive approach to tackle challenges in the field of lung cancer research, progressing from mouse model systems of cancer to human disease cohorts. First, tumour-initiating events are identified in murine lung cancer cohorts, comprised of validated and putative driver combinations expressed in tissue progenitor cells. Second, we apply pathology-specific functional and immune profiling studies to identify drivers of malignancy. Third, we implement a mouse-to-patient comparative personalised medicine study, establishing the ability of cultured cells and tissue explants to reliably predict or validate in vivo drug sensitivities.

Laura Hokkanen

Professor, Department of Psychology and Logopedics

Our project on the current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic RECOVID-20 aims to study the persisting changes in brain and lung function and particularly symptoms relating to memory, attention and mood in 3 and 6 months after COVID-19 infection. We are interested in different  mechanisms that can lead to long term effects on health and cognitive abilities as well as psychological well-being and quality of life. The potentially unmet need of services during recovery is also surveyed. The results will help in targeting the existing support services better and in planning new intervention measures.

We are currently recruiting patients who have been treated at the ICU and will compare them to patients who have been on regular wards or at home following COVID-19. The study is a joint collaboration project between researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Hospital district of Helsinki and Uusimaa. In addition, we are collaborating with researchers from Norway and Sweden. The results will increase our understanding of the new coronavirus.


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