Health research receives €14 million boost in Academy Project funding

22 Apr 2015
The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Health has granted Academy Project funding to 31 research projects. In this year’s funding round, the success rate was 16 per cent.

Academy Project funding is the Academy’s key funding opportunity, designed to support scientifically ambitious research of the highest quality. The projects funded by the Research Council for Health are aimed at generating new research knowledge for future application in treating diseases and injuries, promoting health and welfare, developing novel pharmaceuticals and making decisions on health policy.

Academy Project funding was granted to, for example, the following projects:

Satu Mustjoki (University of Helsinki) heads a research project investigating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, where the pathogenesis of the disease is poorly understood. Mustjoki and her team are studying whether the abnormal white blood cell populations often found in patients with autoimmune disorders originate from genetic mutations and whether they play a role in how the disease develops. Mustjoki’s team will investigate the presence of acquired mutations with next-generation sequencing techniques. In addition, their aim is to understand which factors cause such mutations and the importance of mutated cell populations in disease biology. The results obtained will potentially lead to more targeted and efficient therapy options for patients with autoimmune disorders.

Leila Karhunen (University of Eastern Finland) is the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary research consortium that also includes the teams of Johanna Närväinen (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Mika Tarvainen (University of Eastern Finland). The consortium is investigating interrelations among food-induced reward experiences, implicit and explicit reactions to food and eating, food intake and psychometric features, such as eating behaviours. The methods used include subjective evaluations, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and measurements of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function, metabolism and psychometric measures. The results may provide a background for novel tools and targeted treatment methods to support balanced dietary solutions and eating practices, which could ultimately be applied in the prevention of obesity and other eating-related problems.

Sampsa Vanhatalo (University of Helsinki) heads a project studying the mechanisms of how brain injuries in newborn babies change early brain activity and how they lead to lifelong neurocognitive disabilities. Vanhatalo’s project examines early brain activity using measures of electric network connectivity and cortical mechanisms in early sensory functions. It builds bridges between experimental and clinical neuroscience, opening novel pathways for translational work on early-life interventions. In addition, the project aims to implement several new methodological innovations in clinical work on the infant brain, thereby validating new ways to provide personalised medicine to infants.

More information:

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

More information

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

Last modified 22 Apr 2015
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