The emerging infections research group is lead by Tarja Sironen, associate professor of emerging infectious diseases at faculties of medicine and veterinary medicine, University of Helsinki.
Tarja Sironen

PhD, Associate Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases

I am part of Helsinki One Health network and work both at the Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. My research focuses on emerging infectious diseases, viral zoonosis, virus diagnostics and phylogenetics. I also lead projects on detection, diagnostics and prevention of veterinary infectious diseases. Find out more through Tarja Sironen Orchid account.

I teach and supervise students at both faculties. I also train personnel for work in BSL3-laboratory (EE-building, Viikki campus), and coordinate the use of Illumina MiSeq at our laboratory in the Meilahti campus.

Follow Tarja on Twitter

Ravi Kant

PhD, Docent in medical microbiology, senior researcher

I am a researcher in the group with background in IT, NSG, bioinformatics, and microbiology. My current research focus is on genomics and evolution of various pathogens. I am also interested in development of various animal models to study emerging infectious diseases.

More details on my research and publication can be found on my Homepage or through the Ravi Kant Research Portal profile.

Lara Dutra

PhD, post-doctoral researcher

Fathiah Zakham

PhD, post-doctoral researcher

I am a microbiologist and molecular biologist. My main topic of research is the development of a highly specific assay for the rapid and accurate detection of Alkhurma Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (an emerging and tick-borne zoonotic  flavivirus ), by the application of protein recombination technology.

Kirsi Aaltonen

MSc, PhD student in clinical veterinary medicine.

My PhD project is to study the Fur animal Epidemic Necrotic pyoderma which is a severe skin infection found mainly in the fur animal population. I’m characterizing the pathogens and their virulence factors and developing a vaccine as well as bio safety measures to stop the spread of the disease. My other research interests are currently parvoviruses and vaccine development, and study of emerging pathogens and microbiomes especially through NGS techniques. Links to my previous studies can be found through my Orchid account or through the Kirsi Aaltonen Research Portal profile.

Jenni Vir­tanen

MSc, PhD student in clinical veterinary medicine

My research topic is Aleutian mink disease virus (AMDV) which causes a severe infection in mink and infects several other carnivores and mustelids as well. I’m studying virus epidemiology and evolution, and diversity in Finland by sequencing Finnish virus strains. I am also studying disease tolerance. My previous studies can be found through Jenni Virtanen Orchid account.

Joseph Ogola

DVM, PhD student

I am a PhD student working on emerging zoonotic viruses in wild small mammals in Kenya. This work aims to answer three key research question;  which viruses are hosted by these small mammals, what are their phylogenetic relationship to known emerging and re emerging infections (EIDs), what are the transmission routes and lastly are bats and rodents transmitting viral pathogens to livestock?

Hus­sein Al­burkat

MSc, PhD student in medical virology

I am a PhD student in the team studying rodent-borne viruses. I did my Master thesis on Mammarenavirus LCMV that infects humans in Southern Iraq, which led to the detection of two novel LCMV strains. Currently I am working in projects studying rodent-borne viruses from both field caught rodents and patient samples from three different environments: Finland, Kenya and Iraq. The study interest includes serology diagnostics (to screen the samples to viruses, such as arenaviruses, flaviviruses, hantaviruses, and orthobunyaviruses), virus detection, distribution and molecular epidemiology. We study these pathogens using NGS techniques. 

Mert Erdin

MSc, PhD student

Vinaya Venkat

MSc, PhD Student

Ilkka Kiv­istö

MSc, PhD Student

Ella Ahvenainen
Robert Castren
Johanna Martikainen

Technical staff


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