1.1. 2013–31. 12. 2017
Plant biology, developmental biology and physiology, genetics, cellular and molecular biology University of Helsinki
Yrjö Helariutta is Professor of Plant Developmental Biology at the University of Helsinki and Research Director of the university’s Institute of Biotechnology. His research fields are plant biology, developmental biology and physiology, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology. Helariutta and his research team focus their research on the development of vascular systems of plants. They will investigate how the plant stem cell population, called vascular cambium, is genetically controlled to pattern and promote the formation of the vascular tissues in a tree trunk. The research team uses the Arabidopsis root procambium as a model for cambial development. Helariutta’s team has greatly contributed to that Arabidopsis root development is widely seen as a key model for plant organogenesis.
During his term as Academy Professor, Helariutta will investigate cytokinin as a regulatory component in wood development. The research will focus on how hormone cytokinin regulates vascular growth and how the cell-to-cell move of cytokinin and other regulatory components regulates this process. Besides Arabidopsis thaliana, the team also uses poplar and birch as model organisms. The research results are expected to increase our understanding of individual regulatory mechanisms and also to provide new knowledge to benefit forest tree breeding and wood processing. Helariutta’s research is part of the EfFibre Programme within Forestcluster Ltd, one of the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation. The programme represents a totally new approach in the forest sector.