Our multidisciplinary research group consists of talented and innovative researchers with varying backgrounds, but shared passion for learning research.
Ilona Södervik

Project manager, Senior lecturer

My research deals with conceptual learning together with conceptual change particularly in context of life sciences. Additionally, I am interested in the development of university teachers' discipline-specific pedagogical expertise in supporting students’ learning. I utilize various research methodology such as eye-tracking and augmented reality. During my free time, I love to listen audiobooks when jogging in beautiful parks of Helsinki.

Nina Katajavuori

Principal investigator, Docent

My research deals with questions concerning the development of expertise particularly in contexts of life sciences. In addition, my research concerns teaching and learning in higher education. My own expertise relates to qualitative research methods, but I think that it is important to utilize also process-level methodology, when invetigating learning. During my freetime, I do sports like jogging, biking and horse-riding. I also love gardening and baking.

Leena Hanski

Principal investigator, Docent

My research activities deal with pharmaceutical microbiology, focusing on treatment strategies on persistent bacterial infections. I also act as the director of the Bachelor in Pharmacy curriculum and am thus actively involved in the planning and implementation of teaching for students aiming to become Pharmacy professionals. On my freetime, I am addicted to trying new receipes and every now and then even manage to prepare good food on them.

Neea Heinonen

Doctoral candidate

My dissertation deals with questions concerning the development of university teachers’ pedagogical expertise particularly in contexts of life sciences. My research concerns especially university teachers’ ability to notice and interpret significant events in teaching-learning situations, i.e. their professional vision capability. In addition, I am also interested how university teachers’ professional vision is connected to their conceptions of teaching and learning. In my research, I utilize a mixed-method approach e.g. eye tracking methodology. During my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies and observing of birds.

Henny P. A. (Els) Boshuizen


My research interest deals with conceptual change, expertise development and training people for emerging professions especially in contexts of medicine and teacher education.

Tomi Kiviluoma

Doctoral candidate

As a biology teacher I am passionate about education and understanding the processes behind learning. In the research group I study conceptual change among undergraduate biology students. My freetime is dedicated to playing the drums for two bands or running and cycling around the Helsinki outskirts.

Helena Åström

Vice-dean, University lecturer

My research deals with plant biology, the overwintering of plants in a warming climate, morphological adaptations of plants to winter conditions and learning of these contents. As a vice dean responsible for teaching affairs, I am dedicated to advance learning and teaching at university especially in life sciences. In addition to CELLS project, I am involved in developing subject teacher and in-service teacher education in biology.

Riitta Savolainen

University lecturer

My research deals with ecology and evolutionary biology. I am particularly interested in investigating the interrelation between social parasites and their host organisms. I am also interested in learning research related to biosciences, because future experts of this area need to be able to solve complex, global, ecological challenges.

Master's theses

Vera Liippala: Farmasian opiskelijoiden epistemiset uskomukset ja asiantuntijuuden kehittyminen ensimmäisen opiskeluvuoden aikana. April 2020. Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku.

Tomi Kiviluoma: Identifying Misconceptions and Conceptual Change of Undergraduate Biology Students During Their First Academic Year. August 2021. University of Helsinki.

Tiia Laisi: Life science -alojen yliopisto-opettajien tilannekohtainen asiantuntijahavainnointi ja käsitykset ennakkotiedon merkityksestä oppimisprosessissa. Joulukuu 2021. Helsingin yliopisto.

Satu-Frediksson-Nurmi: Luhtavilla vai tupasvilla?: Opettajaopiskelijoiden lajinhavainnointi ja -tunnistustaidot. Toukokuu 2022. Helsingin yliopisto. 

Mathilda Carpelan: Missuppfattningar och konceptuell förändring hos studerande i kandidatprogrammet i miljövetenskap. Tammikuu 2023. Helsingin yliopisto.

Funding & Collaborators