Strategic funding for Biocenter Oulu spearhead projects 2024 – 2027

The University of Oulu’s strategy strengthens its role as a high-level international science and innovation university that contributes to solving global challenges through the selected focus areas of research. Tackling the identified global challenges requires multidisciplinary approaches and research excellence. The University of Oulu supports the strategy through evaluation of its research, as well as regular open calls and external evaluation of projects supported by the university's focus institutes.

Biocenter Oulu is one of the four strategic focus institutes at the University of Oulu. Biocenter Oulu supports high-quality research in life sciences and biomedicine, and it coordinates multidisciplinary research activities and doctoral training on the University´s strategic focus area Lifelong health promoting interdisciplinary networking of research groups as well as co-operation with national and international partners. Biocenter Oulu’s research generates a greater understanding of the factors that affect health and help promote lifelong health. The research explores human life from fetal development to old age by looking at molecular and physiological characteristics, as well as environmental, social and psychosocial factors. Lifelong health also combines technological and medical know-how to create innovations in digital health.

The University of Oulu opened the call for Biocenter Oulu research projects for the period of 2024 – 2027 on December 12th, 2022. The call was closed on February 28th, 2023, and 31 researchers submitted their application in due time. An independent scientific evaluation panel was appointed by the Rector of the University of Oulu to evaluate the applications remotely based on criteria used by the Research Council of Finland in June - August 2023. The focus of the evaluation was on the scientific quality of research, scientific impact, and impact beyond academia as well as scientific renewal and diversity.

Based on the recommendations given by the evaluation panel the Rector approved the following 14 research projects to the Biocenter Oulu for a period of 2024 – 2027 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Ala-Korpela, Mika, and Mäkinen, Ville-Petteri: Innovative multi-domain metabolomics paradigm to disrupt metabolic health profiling and to improve cardiometabolic disease prevention
  2. Chen, Zhi: The essential role of Th17/Treg cells in inflammation and tumorigenesis
  3. Eklund, Lauri, and Kiviniemi, Vesa: Waste clearance in the brain: Pathophysiology in Alzheimer’s disease and novel treatment strategies
  4. Huang, Jian-An, and Farrahi, Vahid: Digital Raman assay for single-molecule protein sequencing in single live cells
  5. Karppinen (Koivunen), Peppi: Oxygen and 2-oxoglutarate sensing enzymes as novel therapeutic targets in metabolic, neurological and other disease
  6. Kietzmann, Thomas: Beyond hypoxia-inducible factors: New molecules interacting in hypoxia-signaling and metabolism
  7. Lehtiö, Lari: Activation mechanisms and inhibition of human mono-ADP-ribosyltransferases
  8. Manninen, Aki, and Wei, Gong-Hong: The ECM control of the prostate cancer genome
  9. Pirinen, Eija, and Herzig, Karl-Heinz: Mitochondrial targeting strategies for the treatment of obesity and metabolic diseases
  10. Pylkäs, Katri: Deciphering inherited breast cancer susceptibility- Integrating diagnostic and novel genomic approaches
  11. Ruddock, Lloyd: Identification and molecular characterization of novel pathways for disulfide formation
  12. Saarakkala, Simo, and Jansson Miia: Novel Raman-based reagent-free diagnostics for arthritic disease
  13. Tapiainen, Terhi, and Reunanen, Justus: Gut microbiome in obesity from birth to adulthood
  14. Tiulpin, Aleksei, Tikkanen, Jani, and Nevalainen, Mika: Low-cost screening for future cardiovascular disease incidence with opportunistic CT

The evaluation panel reported to the Rector: “The panel recognized the high level of scientific quality amongst the proposals, which made ranking very difficult. Biocenter Oulu should be very proud of their intense and world wide-reaching research and impact!”

These 14 projects will be targeted for strategic support in the form of postdoctoral researcher and doctoral researcher positions. The projects are expected to contribute to joint activities coordinated by Biocenter Oulu, including supporting multidisciplinary research activities and doctoral training in the focus area of Lifelong health.

Last updated: 12.9.2023