1.1.2010 - 31.12.2014 and 1.1.2015 - 31.12.2019
Evolutionary developmental biology
University of Helsinki
Academy Professor Jukka Jernvall (University of Helsinki) is a recognised pioneer in the interdisciplinary field of evolutionary developmental biology. Using mammalian tooth development as a model, Jernvall has explored the biological principles that lie behind the individual’s three-dimensional phenotype. Jernvall and his team have an innovative and creative approach to bringing together disciplines that are traditionally considered very different from one another, from molecular and developmental biology through medicine to ecology and palaeontology. Jukka Jernvall’s appointment is an extension to his current Academy Professorship.
Jernvall’s research centres around the question of how to predict the shape evolution of different organisms. His interests include understanding why certain dentition patterns arise several times during the course of evolution, while other patterns occur only rarely. Palaeontological discoveries of a tooth of an ancient human or some other mammal, for instance, can thus be dated according to its shape on the mammal’s evolutionary timeline.
Jernvall’s current research focus is on sequencing the genome of the Saimaa ringed seal. Dentition varies widely among seals and the Saimaa ringed seal therefore lends itself well to an exploration of the principles of shape regulation.