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Research at the Faculty of Medicine

Our strengths lie in translational research. Clinical and basic research are seamlessly combined bringing new results from research laboratories and clinical studies to the patient treatment.

The spearheads of Faculty of Medicine research can be found in the University’s Strategic Research and Education profile Health, diagnostics and drug development.

UTU Research Faculty of Medicine brings together all the prinicipal investigators in the Faculty.

Prerequisite for successful research work is internationally competitive research infrastruture which is built and maintained together with the Hospital District of Southwest Finland and BioCity Turku research organisation.

Flagships of the Academy of Finland

The Faculty takes part in both the Flagship programmes of the University of Turku funded by the Academy of Finland. The InFLAMES Flagship (Innovation Ecosystem based on the Immune System) is a joint project of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, in which the Faculty acts as a coordinating unit. The joint INVEST Flagship (Inequalities, Interventions and a New Welfare State) of the University of Turku and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare includes the Department of Child Psychiatry from the Faculty.


INVESt logo

Early diagnostics, prevention and interventions of non-communicable diseases (LIFE)

LIFE is part of the University of Turku thematic research profile Health, Diagnostics and Drug development. LIFE focuses on multigenerational health pathways for lifelong health. It has high scientific and public health importance and an innovative strategy to identify novel methods for early prediction, treatment and prevention of major non-communicable diseases (NCDs, e.g. obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, allergic diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and disorders of reproductive health) that pose the highest public health burden globally. 

Researchers at the University of Turku have already shown that interventions in childhood, where foundations for a healthy life are set, have delayed onset or reduced NCD risk. This path will be pursued further and more deeply than ever before in LIFE, with the goal of significant impact on individual health outcomes and sustainability of the healthcare system.

The goal of LIFE is to understand and prevent the early steps of disease development during not only the foetal period and childhood, but even earlier in the parental germline through multigenerational study designs in both humans and animals. 

LIFE brings together several strategic profiles of the University of Turku, involving the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Technology, as well as Turku Bioscience Centre and Turku PET Centre. LIFE supports the research in the University Flagships InFLAMES and INVEST. It also collaborates with Turku University Hospital. LIFE is funded by Academy of Finland.

Thematic research programmes

The Faculty has six internationally evaluated research programmes. Five of them are joint programmes with the BioCity Turku research organisation. BioCity Turku chose new programmes in 2022, and those will be updated on this page during the spring 2023. The sixth programme of the Faculty is a programme for Nursing Science.

Biomaterial and Medical Device Research Programme

The Biomaterial and Medical Device Research Programme with its nine principal research groups and three associated groups provides a unique collaboration, education and learning environment for researchers in different fields of science in their efforts to develop reliable and safe implantable medical devices for healing and regeneration of injured and diseased tissue. The programme bridges generic and clinical research with clinical practice and also provides a discussion forum with companies fabricating implantable medical devices. The research groups develop together future biomaterials and medical devices with the focuses on clinical solutions for tissue injuries and defects, on-line sensing of tissue healing, controlled drug release, adequate mechanical durability, and pre-determined, desired resorption matched to neotissue growth rate. The research group consortium enables a totally new multidisciplinary approach in developing medical materials.

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Diagnostic Technologies and Applications

The DTA research program consists of groups within University of Turku (UTU), Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU) and the Turku University Hospital. In order to translate the basic life science or medical findings into diagnostic biomarkers, assay formats and technology platforms applicable in highly variable and challenging real-life situations, competencies from several scientific areas such as chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biotechnology, clinical and laboratory medicine and engineering must be brought together. The research program specifically aims to promote and enhance this interdisciplinary collaboration, outlined also in the health sector growth strategy for research and innovation activities set by Finnish government and UTU and ÅAU in establishing the joint research profiling area on drug development and diagnostics.

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Lifespan of Cardiovascular, Inflammatory, Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders – LIFESPAN

We aim to facilitate a whole of life approach and provide the opportunity to join lifespan-related researchers across University of Turku (UTU) and Åbo Akademi University (ÅA).  The goal is to understand processes leading to normal and abnormal growth and prevent and treat the lifespan of cardiovascular, inflammatory, endocrine & metabolic disorders. We will combine both basic and applied research in life sciences, medicine, ICT, chemistry and physics. The goal will be achieved through molecular characterization and system-level understanding of specific biological processes and diseases, as well as discovering and testing novel diagnostic tools and therapies. The approaches are multi-disciplinary and unite expertise in basic, clinical and public health research.

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Receptor Programme

The research programme is focused on how cells receive and process signals. The research projects have a long record of high quality basic research on receptors to cell adhesion molecules, hormones, cytokines, death ligands, and growth factors, as well as cellular receptors for microbes. There is also a strong emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and transcriptional regulation, structure/activity relationships of ligand-receptor interactions, regulation of receptor expression, and on molecular pharmacology. These basic research areas have broad ramifications in different fields of health and disease-related research, including inflammatory, cell stress-related, and degenerative diseases as well as cancer and metastasis. Therefore, many of the individual research groups have active projects aiming at both technology transfer and applying their results to different health-related problems.

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Translational Infectious Disease and Immunity Research Programme

Translational infectious disease and immunity research programme is highly multidisciplinary and collaborative and it targets at all major areas of infectious diseases. The programme constitutes of three major work packages, which focus on microbes, their characteristics and development of novel diagnostic tools, host immune responses, their contribution to innate and adaptive immune responses and immune-mediated diseases and on clinical and experimental infectious disease research that has a strong translational approach. The programme includes 25 research groups with altogether ca. 130 senior scientists, postdoctoral research fellows and under and postgraduate students. The research programme is fully intertwined with the University of Turku priority areas of diagnostics, drug research and imaging, which are being developed and utilized in all work packages. In addition, the research groups within the programme have tight collaborations with the biotechnological industry in the Turku area and elsewhere in Finland and abroad. The research programme is likely to contribute to better knowledge in microbes and diseases caused by them, understanding of disease mechanisms in infectious and immune-mediated diseases and improvement of patient care and diagnostics of infectious diseases. The programme will also provide more rational patient care and economical savings for the health care sector and contribute to further development of local biotechnological industry.

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Empowering Population, Patients, Professionals in Health and Care
Nursing science in the University of Turku is a part of health sciences. The goal of nursing science is to produce knowledge for empowering patients and their families, professionals and population from the perspective of health and well-being. In the field of nursing science, we do both basic and applied research.  In basic research, we develop descriptive and explanatory nursing models and theoretical constructions, including concept analyses.  In applied research, we develop and test different working and teaching methods, measurement instruments and practical models to be used in clinical practice, teaching and health care administration. Use of information technology is a central part of research in many areas.