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Online event: COVID-19 research in Helsinki

Mark Daly

During an online event, June 11th, organized by the Helsinki Institute of Life Science four researchers will speak about their current research and discuss how the COVID-19 crisis could be solved.

Are certain people more susceptible than others to COVID-19? How does the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread on surfaces and in the air? Can we develop a vaccine against COVID-19? University of Helsinki researchers will answer these questions and more during an online event organized by the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE) on Thursday June 11th 2020 at 10-11 am.

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The researchers will introduce their COVID-19 research, sharing their views on how to solve this acute crisis, as well as find solutions for similar kinds of future challenges.


Vin­cenzo Cerullo

Cerullo is Professor of Biological Drug Development, Faculty of Pharmacy, Head of Drug Research Program, HiLIFE fellow, Translational Immunology Programme. He started the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab in 2012, after being awarded the tenure-track professorship at the University of Helsinki. In these years, IVTLab has raised more than 5 million Euros for research, including the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant, HiLIFE fellow and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation grant, to research how viruses can be used as platforms to induce and/or orchestrate the tumor-specific immune response. The group has produced tens of scientific papers and patents, and has co-founded a multimillion spin-off company together with the University of Helsinki (VALO therapeutics). During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Cerullo has also been working on developing a prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine for SARS-COV-2.

Leena Maunula

Maunula is Senior scientist, university lecturer, docent in Food and Environmental Virology. She leads a group of food and environmental virology at the Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She is a microbiologist with over 30 year-expertise in virology research including virus diagnostics. She made her PhD thesis on rotaviruses in children in Meilahti campus. Now in Viikki Campus, her group is striving to understand how pathogenic viruses like SARS-CoV-2 spread through food, water and environment.

Nina Atanasova

Atanasova is Senior scientist, visiting scientist, Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher, docent in Microbiology. She is an environmental microbiologist, working both at the University of Helsinki, as a visiting scientist, and at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, as a senior scientist at the Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling group. Her current research focuses on the viability and infectivity of atmospheric microorganisms, particularly the detection of viruses from air samples. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Atanasova’s work has focused on gaining more information about the droplet transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Mark Daly

Daly is Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) at HiLIFE, University of Helsinki. He retains also active affiliations at the Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute. Dr. Daly focuses on development and application of statistical methods in human disease genetics and has made major contributions to gene discovery in inflammatory bowel disease, autism and schizophrenia. At FIMM, he explores research and translational uses of Finnish biobank, registry and genome data. Dr Daly is a co-architect of the FinnGen project, a landmark public-private effort to integrate decades of medical registry data with genomic data in 10% of the Finnish population. During the current pandemic, he has also been involved in launching the COVID-19 host genome initiative, which he is currently coordinating together with Dr. Andrea Ganna from FIMM.

Read more: FIMM has launched a COVID-19 host genetics initiative

The event will be hosted by freelance journalist Jari Hanska, and streamed from the Think Corner and through Facebook-live. Watch the stream here.

You can send your questions even before the event at the following WhatsApp number: 050 311 9811. Please send your questions in English.

Photo of Mark Daly, Director FIMM. Photographer: Veikko Somerpuro