People

The Zoonotic Antimicrobial Resistance Group consists of the group leader, DVM, PhD Annamari Heikinheimo, two PhD students Marie Verkola and Paula Kurittu and post doc researcher DVM, PhD Satu Olkkola. The group is located on Viikki campus.

I am DVM, PhD Annamari Heikinheimo, principal investigator of the Zoonotic Antimicrobial Research Group. I am fascinated about the microbes, trying to understand the behaviour of teh bacteria in the extremely complex phenomenon and major global health threat; antimicrobial resistance (AMR). I am thrilled about bacterial genomes and phenotypes, as well as human behaviour causing the rise of AMR. How to keep antimicrobials effective and how to avoid bacteria becoming resistant?

Although I love my job, there is something I even love more - my family. They make me happy and busy when I am away from the work. I also love outdoor sports, scouting and dancing.

Annamari Heikinheimo's University of Helsinki research portal profile

I am a veterinarian and graduated from the University of Helsinki in 2016.  Since autumn 2016 I have been writing my PhD thesis in Annamari Heikinheimo's group. My thesis deals with multiresistant zoonotic bacteria in Finland with the focus on the molecular epidemiology and prevention of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 (LA-MRSA). I have a keen interest in both veterinary and human medicine and thus I am very excited about this one health topic.

I also hold a master of social sciences degree from my previous studies and have a passion for language, history and literature. In my free time I enjoy audio books, cooking and baking, pilates and horse riding.

Marie Verkola's University of Helsinki research portal profile

I graduated as a licentiate of veterinary medicine from the University of Helsinki in June, 2017. During my veterinary studies, my main topics of interest have always been the interlinked health between animals, people and the environment. I started working with my PhD project a few months before graduation and have been learning the quirks of the scientific world ever since then. In my PhD work I focus on plasmid-mediated resistance, such as enterobacteria producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases.

During my free time I enjoy everything that has something to do with the outdoors and sports. Hiking, snowboarding, running with my dog Hilma, fishing.. you name it!

Paula Kurittu's University of Helsinki research portal profile

I have graduated as DVM in 2008 and ever since worked with antimicrobial resistant bacteria in Prof. emerita Marja-Liisa Hänninen’s research group until 2016 when I finished my PhD thesis on antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in campylobacter. I currently work as a senior researcher at the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto). My tasks include for example data collection and compiling of the annual report in the Finnish resistance surveillance programme FINRES-Vet, and involvement in various resistance-related research projects as well as basic upkeep of the laboratory routines for resistance-related duties.   

My professional interests include the epidemiology and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria and I feel fortunate to be able to work in an era that sees the transition from traditional phenotyping methods to modern technologies such as whole-genome sequencing.

When I am off work, I enjoy spending time with my two children that also keep me busy from immersing too deeply into the fascinating world of antimicrobial resistance.