Areas of expertise
I studied biochemistry and plant biology as major subjects at University of Turku (Turku, Finland) and graduated with MSc degree in biology in 1994. The following five years I worked as doctoral student at University of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) with prof. Eija Pehu and Dr. Kirsi Lehto, During my Phd studies I visited Agrotechnological Research Institute (Wageningen, Netherlands; with Dr. Chris van der Schoot) and The James Hutton Institute (Dundee, UK; with Dr. Lesley Torrance). I obtained my PhD degree in the field of plant virology in 1999. As a post-doc, I first did a short visit to cancer cell biology in Turku Bioscience (in 2000; with Dr. Päivi Koskinen), before a four-year period as Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher. During those years, I worked with FLP/FRT gene editing system in plants with a twist to plant virus movement processes in Joint Biotechnology Laboratory at University of Turku. Following that period, I made a slight career turn from plant virology to human picornavirus research, and joined the group of prof. Timo Hyypiä to become a university staff member in Institute of Biomedicine (Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku). Currently, I am in a position of university lecturer in medical biotechnology and microbiology. My work history also includes research visits to diagnostic companies in Finland (2015 and 2017) and abroad (2015), two years as project manager at Turku University of Applied Sciences (2012-2013), and expert work in Tykslab clinical virology unit (2006-2012). I have co-founded two start-up companies.
My research has always been connected to molecular biology, microbiology and biotechnology. I am particularly interested in the relationship between picornavirus genome evolution, cellular infectivity and disease mechanisms, which are the key elements in therapy development. My current projects include NGS sequencing of human picornaviruses, receptor search for entero- and parechoviruses, and developmenf novel diagnostics to rhinoviruses in SPARK Finland program. I am also developing novel enterovirus vectors for cancer therapy.