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Academy’s Research Council for Health grants postdoctoral funding to 14 researchers

21 Jun 2016

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Health has decided to fund 14 new research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher. The three-year funding periods will start in September 2016.

This year the competition for funding was exceptionally tough – the success rate was only 9 per cent. All applications that received rating 6, the highest rating, and one-third of applications that received rating 5 in the international peer review process were granted funding.

The funded researchers represent a broad range of fields, such as biomedicine, brain research, pharmacy, bioinformatics, genetics and public health medicine.

Examples of funded researchers:

Mervi Ristola received funding for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Tampere to study demyelinating disesases, which damage the myelin sheath protecting nerve fibres in the brain. Demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis, are the most common disabling neurological diseases of young adults worldwide. There is currently no cure for these diseases, and our knowledge about the underlying mechanisms of myelination defects is insufficient. Ristola aims to generate a novel in vitro myelination model. The model will provide a new working tool for myelination research and drug development and thus contribute to achieving a better understanding of related disease mechanisms. Multiple sclerosis will be used as a model disease in the project. The resulst of Ristola’s project have potential to improve treatment options for demyelinating disorders.

Elisa Närvä was granted funding for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher at Turku Centre for Biotechnology of the University of Turku. Närvä studies cell adhesion and integrin activity in cancer and stem cells. Integrins are cell adhesion molecules that play a critical role in both human development and cancer progression. They are cell surface receptors that mediate adhesion to the extracellular matrix. Närvä’s objective is to increase our understanding of integrin and adhesion regulation in cancer and stem cells.

Niina Sandholm received funding for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Finnish nongovernmental organisation Folkhälsan to study genetic risk factors for diabetic complications. One-third of the world’s 347 million people with diabetes develop chronic diabetic complications such as kidney disease, blindness, amputations and cardiovascular disease, yet the genetic background of these complications is poorly understood. Identification of the genetic factors would help to understand how the complications develop. This in turn would open up translational opportunities such as development of biomarkers for detection of at-risk patients, or identification of therapeutic target molecules and pathways. Sandholm will also be researching the genetic factors behind dyslipidemia, a metabolism disorder, and the role of dyslipidemia in diabetic complications. Her study encompasses the full spectrum of genetic variation from the common variants modestly affecting the disease risk to the low-frequency and rare variants with large effects, and to the mutations that entirely block the function of a gene.

More information

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 131
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Last modified 21 Jun 2016
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