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Funding granted to new Academy Research Fellows in biosciences and environmental research

27 Apr 2017

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences and Environment has decided to fund twelve new posts as Academy Research Fellow.

Within the Academy’s September 2016 call, the Research Council for Biosciences and Environment received 108 applications for funding for Academy Research Fellow research posts. The success rate was 11 per cent. The Research Council’s total funding for the research posts amounts to some 5.2 million euros.

The most important selection criteria were the scientific quality of the research plan and the researcher’s independent status and positive career development.

The new Academy Research Fellows are Praplan Arnaud (Finnish Meteorological Institute), Henrike Hartung (University of Helsinki), Jussi Hepojoki (University of Helsinki), Jenni Hultman (University of Helsinki), Teemu Ihalainen (University of Tampere), Paula Jouhten (VTT Oy), Eva Kallio (University of Oulu), Patrik Karell (NOVIA), Jukka Kekäläinen (University of Eastern Finland), Anssi Malinen (University of Turku), Miia Mäkelä (University of Helsinki) ja Liisa Nevalainen (University of Jyväskylä).

Examples of funded Academy Research Fellows:

Eva Kallio (University of Oulu) studies tick-borne diseases. The health risks associated with ticks are based on the ability of ticks to transmit severe diseases to animals and humans. Ticks depend on blood meals from their vertebrate hosts to develop and reproduce. Likewise, tick-borne pathogens depend on their competent host species, without whom the transmission and persistence of the pathogen is not possible. The epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens depends on complex interactions between multiple species. Kallio aims to investigate the role of different factors in the transmission and abundance of tick-borne pathogens in nature. She will use this information to predict the risk to humans.

Engineered microbial cells offer a sustainable production alternative for a variety of industrially interesting molecules. Paula Jouhten (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd) aims to search for new solutions for the modulation of resource distribution in cells to achieve economically attractive and sustainable production. Designs will be evaluated in Baker’s yeast, a widely used cell factory. Among other things, the project will produce new knowledge on cellular regulation. The methods developed in the project will offer major solutions to speed up the entering of new cell factories into industrial processes, and provide a competitive edge for Finnish industrial biotechnology.

Jukka Kekäläinen (University of Eastern Finland) conducts research into infertility. Kekäläinen aims to test the idea that reproductive failure is not always just a pathological condition, but part of the natural ‘quality control’ of gametes. In this scenario, infertility problems reflect the molecular or immunological incompatibility between gametes. Infertility affects approximately 15 per cent of reproductive-aged couples. Modern assisted reproductive techniques often improve the chances of becoming pregnant, but they also bypass many natural quality control mechanisms of the sperm. Kekäläinen’s project can help improve the accuracy of infertility diagnoses and facilitate the development of next-generation fertility treatments that are better tailored to individual couples.

 

More information

  • Science Adviser Harri Hautala, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi, tel. +358 295 335 019
  • Science Adviser Annika Raitala, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi, tel. +358 295 335 097
  • Senior Adviser Timo Kolu, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi, tel. +358 295 335 044
  • List of funding recipients

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 131
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

The Academy of Finland’s mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research.In 2017, our funding for research amounts to 437 million euros. Part of the Academy’s funds (€70.7m in 2017) come from proceeds of Finland’s national gaming company Veikkaus.

Last modified 3 May 2017
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