Juha Huiskonen appointed as Director of Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki

Huiskonen will assume the position in September and alongside his director duties continues structural biology research.

Associate Professor Juha Huiskonen has been appointed as Director of Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki. His five-year term starts on 1 September.

– Both the Appointment Committee and the HiLIFE Scientific Council unanimously found associate professor Huiskonen as the most qualified and suitable person for the Director position. Huiskonen´s international experience at University of Oxford, his motivation and clear and ambitious vision for future development of the Institute, as well as proven scientific excellence at structural biology, one of key disciplines at the Institute placed him as our top candidate among several excellent applicants, says Professor Olli Silvennoinen, Director of Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE and former Director of Institute of Biotechnology.

In the international call for the applications, particular emphasis was placed on candidates’ vision for the institute and strong track record in innovative research. A total of seven individuals applied for the position.

– Over the years the Institute of Biotechnology has made a very strong impact in life science research and in the training of the next generation of researchers. The institute continues to be one of the most dynamic and successful research environments in Finland. The quality and renewal of research is ensured by open international calls for new group leaders and evaluations conducted by an international scientific advisory board, explains Huiskonen.

Knowledge on different biological systems, ranging from viruses and bacteria to birches, seals and humans, has great value to the society. Understanding of the fundamental biological processes in a range of living creatures helps us to fight disease and to better protect our environment, Huiskonen believes.

– Research may lead to applications that are often unforeseen at the time of coming up with the original research question. To remain agile for these opportunities, we will be ramping up our efforts in creating an environment that supports increased valorisation of research findings, he states.

Huiskonen graduated with a doctoral degree from the University of Helsinki in 2006. He worked at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich 2007–2009 and at the University of Oxford from 2010 onward. Huiskonen was recruited to HiLIFE and the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences as Tenure Track Associate Professor in Structural Biology in 2017. He has also served as a Deputy Director in HiLIFE.

Institute of Biotechnology is an operational unit in the Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE. The institute houses 37 research groups that are organized in three research programs: Cell and Tissue Dynamics, Genomics and Evolutionary Biology, and Structural and

Quantitative Biology that carry out research and develop infrastructures at the highest international level and actively apply the results for societal benefit.

Further information:

Director Olli Silvennoinen
Phone: +358 50 359 5740

Associate Professor Juha Huiskonen
Phone: +358 50 318 3918