Medical Nutrition Physiology group investigates intestinal and cardiovascular health from various different perspectives.

The individual projects under these themes are listed below.

Commensal bacteria in the attenuation of inflammation

The intestine is home to a vast ecosystem of microbes which have proven to be important regulators of host physiology and metabolism.

We aim to identify commensal bacterial strains and novel bacterial effector molecules with potential to attenuate intestinal inflammation. 

Main researchers: Veera Kainulainen, Tuomas Heini

Intestinal permeability

Intestinal permeability refers to the translocation of large molecules through the intercellular spaces of between the intestinal cells. Increased intestinal permeability has been associated with several gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases and disorders.

Our group examines the role of intestinal permeability in gastrointestinal health and how it is modulated by different stressors.

Main researchers: Richard Forsgård, Riitta Korpela

Cardiovascular health from nutrition

Increased blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular events. Besides pharmacological therapy, lifestyle and nutritional factors play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and related disorders.

We study the mechanisms how milk-derived components regulate blood pressure and vascular function.

Main researchers: Aino Siltari, Heikki Vapaatalo

Intestinal RAS

Renin-angiotensin system is a well-known regulator of blood pressure but recent studies have also characterized local production of RAS components in various organs including the intestine.

Our research aims to expand the current knowledge of intestinal RAS and investigate its role in intestinal inflammation.

Main researchers: Hanne Salmenkari, Lauri Pasanen

Gut-brain axis

The gut-brain axis refers to the extensive neural network that connects the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. Recent research in this area have revealed several insights how intestinal function, nutrition, and intestinal microbes can impact our brains.

We investigate the role of intestinal microbiota in alcohol addiction and also how short-chain fatty acids modulate intestinal serotonin production.

Main researchers: Richard Forsgård, Aino Siltari, Tuomas Heini, Sofie Schubert 

Clinical studies

Our group have robust experience from clinical trials studying the effects of nutrition and probiotics on human health. This experience enables excellent potential to  to prove the experimental findings in clinical settings.

Main researchers: Reijo Laatikainen, Riitta Korpela