Areas of expertise
MSc, PhD in Biochemistry
Adjunct professor in Molecular biology/Molecular virology
Current position: University lecturer
Former positions: university teacher at University of Turku; senior researcher and earlier post-doctoral researcher at University of Tampere; post-doctoral researcher at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Doctoral student at University of Turku, department of Biochemistry
Major funding: Academy of Finland, Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation
Student supervision: 4 PhD and over 20 undergraduate theses
Publications: over 40 refereed original research articles, 7 review articles or conference proceedings
- Lectures: Enteric viruses, Virus life cycle, Picornaviruses
- Tutoring (Case Based Learning): Water and food borne viruses
- Lab courses: Microbial diagnostics
Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) belong to the Picornavirdae family. They are small, non-enveloped and have a positive strand RNA genome of about 7300 bases. HPeV type 1 is a common virus infecting mainly children; practically everyone contacts it by the age of 3 years. HPeVs cause usually mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, but also severe central nervous systems infections, like meningitis, encephalitis and sepsis-like disease, have been detected in new-born babies. Mainly these severe symptoms are caused by HPeV3.
We have studied the HPeV epidemiology and disease connections and confirmed that HPeVs are common and the severe diseases do occur also in Finland. We were the first to identify HPeV4 as a serious disease causing type of these viruses in children with sepsis-like disease. Our studies focus on the disease causing abilities of these viruses and why the causative type is mostly HPeV3. The studies are done in human neuronal cell models, in vitro. The virus-cell interactions are studied and how the changes in virus genome affect virus infectivity, speed of virus replication as well as cellular metabolism and morphology.