Medical Nutrition Physiology Group is a happy bunch of people with varying educational backgrounds from dietitians to neuroscientists and microbiologists.

Our group aims to maintain a positive working environment where help and support are always available.

You can find us at the Pharmacology department in the 2nd floor of Biomedicum 1. If you are interested joining or collaborating with us, feel free to contact us at

Riitta Korpela

PhD, Research Director, Professor

Riitta's main research interest is on intestinal health but also in the effects of diet on vascular responses. She has supervised 21 PhD and 35 MSc theses. Her publication record includes 304 scientific articles, 62 popular articles, and 7 patents. Her Hirsch-index is 51. Her portfolio includes a number of both national and international positions of trust. At the moment she is the President of the Finnish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. In 2017, she was nominated a Member of Academy of Science and Letters.

Riitta Korpela's Research Portal profile

Heikki Vapaatalo

Emeritusprofessor of Pharmacology, MD, PhD, specialist in Clinical Pharmacology

Heikki took his first steps in Pharmacology in 1962 during his MD curriculum and did his post-doc training mainly in Germany. During his academic career, his interests have varied from the role of autonomic nervous system in experimental hypertension to inflammation generally and further to inflammation in vascular endothelium and intestinal epithelium. Eicosanoids, cyclic nucleotides, nutritional bioactive peptides, renin-angiotensin system, and bradykinin are the key words. Heikki has authored around 600 scientific and popular articles and supervised or co-supervised 60 PhD theses.

”All the tubes in the body are regulated locally in similar manner, either by endothelium or epithelium.” 

Heikki Vapaatalo's Resarch Portal profile

Veera Kainulainen

PhD, Postdoctoral researcher

Veera's research focuses on host-microbe interactions, especially the adhesion mechanisms of intestinal bacteria and interactions of commensal bacteria with the epithelium i.e. effects of bacteria to epithelial barrier function and their anti-inflammatory potential.

Veera Kainulainen's Research Portal profile

Richard Forsgård

PhD, Postdoctoral researcher

Richard defended his doctoral thesis in March 2018 after which he has continued working on the group’s research projects. His research focuses on the role of intestinal permeability in health and disease.

Richard Forsgård's Research Portal profile

Aino Siltari

PhD, Postdoctoral researcher

Aino defended her doctoral thesis in February 2018 after which she spent seven months as a postdoctoral researcher in the Medical University of Innsbruck. Currently, she is working in Prof. Murtola’s research group in the University of Tampere, however, she still guides students and is part of the scientific board of the next Nutrition Winter School in Prof. Korpela’s group.

Aino Siltari's Research Portal profile

Reijo Laatikainen

PhD, dietitian, Postdoctoral researcher

Reijo defended his thesis on grains and irritable bowel syndrome in September 2018. His primary research interest is the role of dietary fibre in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Hanne Salmenkari

Msc, PhD student

Hanne's PhD projects examines local corticosterone and ACE production in the intestine. She is currently on maternity leave. 

Hanne Salmenkari's Research Portal profile

Tuomas Heini

B.E., MSc student in Biotechnology

Tuomas is currently finishing his Master’s thesis related to the project: Commensal bacteria in the attenuation of inflammation – isolation of novel strains and molecular mechanisms of their functionality. 

Sofie Schubert

BSc, MSc student in Neuroscience

Sofie is studying neuroscience and nutrition at the University of Helsinki, and is now working on her Master's thesis. Sofie is especially interested in short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and the gut-brain axis.

Hanna Launonen

B.E., MSc student in Translational Medicine

Hanna is studying translational medicine at the University of Helsinki. She did her bachelor of engineering thesis in the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy on tight junction proteins in the intestine. She is now focusing on the intestinal RAS-system and intestinal permeability. 

Lauri Pasanen

Medical student

Lauri is a medical student investigating the local production of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system components in the intestine.