Group

For collaborations, research inquiries, and dissertations, please feel free to contact:

Docent Aki Sinkkonen (ADELE, HEDIMED, ImmunoGarden, KOTA, REMSOIL)

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +358503321110
aki.sinkkonen@helsinki.fi

Docent Riikka Puhakka (NATUREWELL)

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +358503199363
riikka.puhakka@helsinki.fi

Docent, leader

Docent Aki Sinkkonen is the head of the research consortium ADELE (Autoimmune Defense and Living environment, funded by Business Finland) that employs fifteen persons at three universities. His main research interest is the effects of our everyday living environment on health. ADELE consortium includes Professor Heikki Hyöty's research group at the University of Tampere as well as Professor Juho Rajaniemi's research group at Technical University of Tampere. One of the central goals of ADELE is to utilize cross-disciplinary metadata to reveal novel associations between living environment and health. ADELE consortium and Docent Sinkkonen are collaborating with Principal Investigators at DIPP (Diabetes Prediction and Prevention; Professors Mikael Knip, Jorma Ilonen, Jorma Toppari, Riitta Veijola) and Ikihyvä (Good Ageing in Lahti region) projects as well as Professor Ari Jumpponen and PhD Raisa Valve.

Docent Sinkkonen’s long-term research interests cover the impacts of pollution on microbial communities and plant growth, soil remediation and the ecology of autumn leaf colors. His PhD thesis concentrated on the effect of phytotoxins on plant biomass at varying plant densities. His later studies have covered studies on soil remediation and the ecology of soil microbial communities in collaboration with Professors Rauni Strömmer and Martin Romantschuk. Together with University Lecturer Anna-Lea Rantalainen he has found out that low toxicant concentrations can shape plant populations even though mean size is not affected. Today, this research direction continues in collaboration with PhD Regina Belz. Together with Professor Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer, he has been exploring the consequences of density-dependence of pollutant effects on plants. Sinkkonen has also worked with plant invasiveness in collaboration with Professor Heikki Setälä, associate professor Vesa Hytönen and Professors Kitichate Sridith and Krittika Kaewchumnong. Autumn leaf colors belong to the most impressive displays in nature. As they may play a central role in tree growth and defense, Sinkkonen has investigated them in his spare time and collaborated with Professor Simcha Lev-Yadun and University Lecturer Juha Mikola. Sinkkonen’s other collaborators include Senior Researcher Pertti Pulkkinen, Dr. Tomasz Płociniczak, Dr. Sergio Sorbo, Dr. Magda Pacwa Plociniczak and Professors Polina Galitskaya, Svetlana Selivanovskaya, Onderj Cinek and Zofia Piotrowska-Seget. Sinkkonen is also co-operating with several enterprises, which have led to mutual benefits, i.e., new business models in the form of novel environmental technologies and possibilities to control environmental quality.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +358503321110
aki.sinkkonen@helsinki.fi

Docent, Academy Research Fellow

While Ph.D. Riikka Puhakka’s background is in cultural geography, she has experience of working in multidisciplinary research projects. Currently she is studying the health and well-being impacts of outdoor recreation among youth in NATUREWELL project. Recently she has studied how greening of the kindergarten yard affects children, and how interested are consumers towards novel health-enhancing products. She has also studied the perceived health and well-being impacts of Finnish protected areas, and young people’s outdoor recreation and relationships with nature. Before starting at the University of Helsinki in 2013, Ph.D. Puhakka worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oulu and studied different aspects of nature-based tourism. In 2007 she finished her Ph.D. research related to the role of tourism and recreation in national parks in the University of Joensuu. Her list of publications includes 30 peer-reviewed research papers which examine human relationships with nature from different perspectives.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +358503199363
riikka.puhakka@helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral researcher

Ph.D. Mira Grönroos is interested in the interplay between environmental quality, microbiota and human health. For instance, she studies how urbanization affects the microbiota in the surroundings of homes and the microbiota of the human residents. Further, she examines how the diversity and composition of the environmental and human microbiota affects human health parameters. She has a broad background in biological sciences including community ecology, aquatic invertebrates and limnology. Before starting her post doc in ADELE-project, Ph.D. Grönroos worked in Finnish environment institute in Oulu where she also prepared her PhD-thesis. Grönroos defended her thesis in University of Oulu in 2015. In her thesis, she studied the metacommunity structuring of stream organisms.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +3584488884
mira.gronroos@helsinki.fi

 

Doctoral student

MSc Marja Roslund is a PhD student in Environmental Sciences with a focus on connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, urbanization, pollution and human health. She has interdisciplinary education and boundary-crossing skills that are needed to synthesize knowledge from different disciplines and to develop  sustainable solutions todays problems.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
marja.roslund@helsinki.fi

MSc Mika Saarenpää’s PhD project looks into the connection between outdoor recreation and human microbiota, both in urban and natural settings. Topics that are of interest to him include connectedness to nature, health effects derived from nature experience, and sustainability. He has an interdisciplinary background in environmental sciences, accompanied with experience in circularity, environmental legislation and education, GIS, Green Care, and biodiversity issues. With his research he wishes to emphasize the importance of biodiversity and well-functioning ecosystems for human health.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
mika.saarenpaa@helsinki.fi

 

Doctoral student

MSc Laura Soininen is a PhD student focused in environmental microbiology. She has also studied fungal science and worked with insects such as weevils and ants. In this group she is focused on microbiomes of different kinds of natural materials and their immunomodulatory properties.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
Phone: +358505560363                                                                                                                 laura.soininen@helsinki.fi

TUHAT Research Portal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Doctoral student

MSc Yan Sun is a PhD student specialized in remediation strategies for polluted soils and sediments. She has been engaged in this field since her master’s degree studies.  In her bachelor’s thesis, MSc Yan Sun studied a type of nanomaterials used in a detecting instrument for indoor air quality inspection. MSc Yan Sun is an enthusiastic scholar who has her own PhD project with her own original ideas and funds. In the meanwhile, she is committed to promoting cooperation between Finnish and Chinese researchers in the field of Environmental Protection.

  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Studies
  • Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti
FINLAND
yan.sun@helsinki.fi

Tuhat Research Portal 

Docent

Dr. Nan Hui defended his PhD thesis in the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki in 2010. The PhD study, supervised by Prof. Martin Romantschuk and Prof. Rauni Strömmer, is about Microbial Diversity in Pb Contaminated Forest Soil. As a researcher, he worked very efficiently, showing great initiative both in reporting the results in scientific articles and applying research projects. Although Dr. Nan Hui has spanned a wide area of microbial and environmental issues (e.g. heavy metal contamination, compost, soil pollution and bioremediation, urbanization, plant functional groups), he has always been the expert in the area of statistics (R and SAS), DNA sequencing analysis (NGS), bioinformatics (Mothur, Galaxy) and DNA based microbial community analysis. Of particular interest for the microbial ecology is that he has been responsible for screening the bacterial communities in relation to environmental health. Here he has found, in collaboration with his coworkers that the abundance and community composition of proteobacteria in the environment appears to play an important role in the wellbeing of the local residents.

TUHAT research portal →

Postdoctoral researcher

Anirudra Parajuli’s Master’s degree involved the investigation of biotechnological and therapeutic potential of bacterial natural products. In his Ph.D study, he aimed to utilize his previous knowledge in Pharmaceutical science and microbial biotechnology to explore the dynamic relationship between environmental pollution, human and environmental microbiome and human health. Specifically, he is interested in studying how persistent organic anthropogenic pollutants like the polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) affect the abundance and diversity of the bacteria associated with the human immune system, both in the living environment and in human body.

 

 

Postdoctoral researcher

Ph. D. Selonen was responsible for plant community inventories in the Adele strategic research opening; this information is being utilized in analyzing the associations related to the incidence of type 1 diabetes, allergies and other immune system disorders in the ADELE research. After completion of the task, Selonen has focused on the remediation potential of meat-bone-meal. He has successfully – together with Docent Kari Steffen – investigated the potential and fine-tuned the technology needed for soil remediation.

Tampere University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Research group of virology

  • Professor Heikki Hyöty
  • Docent Olli Laitinen
  • Ph.D. Sami Oikarinen
  • MSc Noora Nurminen

Tampere University, Faculty of Built Environment

  • Professor Juho Rajaniemi

Helsinki Innovation Services

  • Director Kari Sinivuori