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Academy’s Research Council for Health funds 11 new posts as Academy Research Fellow

26 May 2016

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Health has decided to fund eleven new research posts as Academy Research Fellow based on applications submitted in the Academy’s September 2015 call. The Research Council received 89 applications for Academy Research Fellow funding, which puts the success rate at slightly over 12 per cent. According to reviewer feedback, the applications submitted were generally of a high quality, and the best ones were internationally competitive.

Research posts as Academy Research Fellow are intended for experienced researchers for independent scientific work according to a set research plan. The aim of the five-year funding is to provide a fixed-term opportunity for talented researchers to gain competence for the most demanding research posts or other expert positions.

Examples of funded Academy Research Fellows:

The adaptive immune system, composed of B and T lymphocytes, plays a critical role in the fight against infections and malignancies. This requires a careful balance between efficient recognition of hostile pathogens while preserving self-tissues untouched. Cellular changes interfering with this balance can lead to several life-threatening conditions, such as immune deficiencies, autoimmunity disorders and cancer. Pieta Mattila and collaborators at the University of Turku have shown that the cellular cytoskeleton plays an important role in regulating the threshold for B-cell activation during the immune response. Mattila was granted funding for a research post as Academy Research Fellow to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. The results of Mattila’s research will yield new information that will improve our understanding of the immune system and immune disorders, as well as of the control of receptor signalling in general.

Dysfunction in glial cells and their inability to clear toxic beta-amyloid accumulation are significant contributors to neuronal death in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Prevention of the toxic cycle of neuroinflammation has been proposed to be an efficient treatment strategy for AD, yet targeting these pathways is difficult due to a lack of knowledge of pathways regulating microglial functions at the level of gene transcription. Tarja Malm was granted funding for a research post as Academy Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland to identify which RNA molecules regulate microglia in healthy brains and during AD development.

Johannes Kettunen was granted funding for a research post as Academy Research Fellow at the University of Oulu to study the molecular mechanisms behind strong biomarkers of all-cause mortality and assess their utility in patient care. Kettunen aims to elucidate the mechanisms underlying biomarkers of mortality (alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, citrate, albumin and the diameter of very-low-density lipoprotein particles) and assess the possibility of their clinical utility in high-risk patient groups. He will utilise the biomarkers to evaluate whether they would contain added value for risk assessment and treatment decisions in a high-mortality-risk patient setting.

More information

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
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Last modified 26 May 2016
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