The board of the organization is comprised of the chair, vice-chair, coordinators and vice-coordinators of the programs.

Chair: Jukka Jernvall

Vice-chair: Susanna Fagerholm

Cell Biology
The Cell Biology Program aims at stimulating interaction between research groups addressing basic questions on the structure and function of eukaryotic cells. The participating groups of the program represent a wide spectrum of modern molecular cell biological research:
* Biogenesis and regulation of cellular structures
* Vesicle-mediated transport
* Cytoskeleton
* Molecular mechanisms of cellular communication and intracellular signaling

The program organizes monthly seminars, called Cell Biology Club, on the Viikki campus where PhD students, postdocs and new group leaders tell about their results. We also organize the Annual Finnish Cell Biology Symposium where cell biologist from the whole country have the chance to meet and present their research projects.


Developmental Biology

This research program brings together research groups interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of embryonic development, in stem cells and regeneration, and in evolutionary and computational developmental biology.
The Developmental Biology Program provides a fruitful environment for research training. The Program organizes a popular weekly Journal Club where graduate and postdoctoral students present new scientific articles in the field. In addition, the Developmental Biology Program organizes a 2-day retreat every spring at the Tvärminne research station where the graduate students are responsible for planning the program. The Developmental Biology Program at the Viikki Campus is by far the largest program in the field in Finland, and is active in organizing the annual meeting of the Finnish Developmental Biology Society in Hyytiälä research station.

The research groups in the Developmental Biology Program have specific expertise in the use of various model organisms and in their genetic and structural analysis. The groups at the Institute of Biotechnology are responsible for running the histology core facility.

Drug Discovery
Drug Discovery is an interdisciplinary research programme within the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Helsinki. The objectives of the programme are to establish a strong environment for drug discovery research, to develop key technologies, to discover new drug candidates and to educate researchers. The research programme in Drug Discovery integrates the research activities of several pharmaceutical, pharmacological and chemical disciplines.

We arrange a biweekly seminar series on topics closely related to drug discovery . The lectures are open to all. Welcome!


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Research Program brings together researchers interested in how ecological and evolutionary dynamics are played out in natural populations. The represented research fields include behavioural ecology, community ecology, conservation planning, evolutionary genetics, host-parasite coevolution, mathematical biology, metapopulation biology, and urban ecology. The research themes of the PIs belonging to the program encompass scales that range from molecules, to individuals, populations and species communities with both basic and applied approaches.

Environmental Sciences and Management
Sakari Kuikka (coordinator)
Martin Romatschuk (vice-coordinator)


Food and Nutrition
The Food Science Research Program  brings together research groups of food chemistry, food microbiology, food technology, food biotechnology and nutrition. It focuses on two main areas, i.e., 1) food quality and healthy nutrition and 2) food production chains.
Food quality and healthy nutrition.  The impact of food constituents and their reactions on healthiness and taste of food is investigated. We also focus on factors, which are associated with the choice of food and impact of diet in sustaining health. The following questions are thus studied:  bioactive compounds and dietary fibre and their reactions; chemical food safety; microbial quality of food; heritability and changes of  food
preferences in different consumer segments ; nutrition and health from both epidemiological and experimental points of view.
Food production chains. Food processing, especially management of the processing  chain of domestic food raw materials is on focus.  The questions studied include, e.g: production and optimising  levels of health beneficial compounds using bioprocessing; properties of food constituents, their reactions and interactions in food matrices; maintaining chemical, microbiological, nutritional and sensory quality.

Genetics and Genomics
The Genetics and genomics research program brings together researchers representing a wide range of different specialities in genetics and genomics. The represented research fields include bioinformatics, genetics (plant genetics, developmental genetics, microbial genetics, human genetics, and cancer genetics), epigenetics, genomics and research on gene expression and its regulation. The aim of the research program is to encourage interaction and collaboration between research groups in this broad and rapidly developing research discipline.

The Research programme in Microbiology brings together researchers that study microbes, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, and their interaction with host organisms and the environment. Represented in the programme are groups with a wide variety of research interests: from structural and molecular biology to microbial ecology. Examples of aspects covered by the Programme are ecology, physiology, taxonomy, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology of viruses, archae, bacteria and fungi, and microbe-host interactions. The degree of basic and applied research varies considerably within the Programme. Applications of microbes in basic research and industry are represented by e.g. use of microbial bioactive compounds in medicine and biocatalysis, impacts of beneficial and pathogenic microbes and their metabolites on man, in food and nutrition, and in various natural and man-made environments.

The Research programme in Microbiology arranges meetings to give opportunities to create new contacts and change information between member groups. The aims of the Programme are e.g. to coordinate, inform about, and arrange upcoming seminars and lectures intended for students in microbiology. The programme facilitates research and teaching through the arrangement of common core facilities, microbial literature and journals.

The Research programme in Microbiology is the only organized multidisciplinary meeting forum for microbiologists in the Viikki Biocenter.


Mikko Airavaara (coordinator)
Tian Li (vice-coordinator)
Pirta Hotulainen (vice-coordinator)

Plant Biology
The Research Program in Plant Biology brings together nearly 100 researchers dedicated to plant research in the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and in the Institute of Biotechnology. The Program aims to encourage collaborative interaction and to synergize research, not only in the basic research of plant functions on the molecular and cellular levels and of plant interactions with the biotic and abiotic environment, but also in the biotechnological applications of such research.
We arrange a monthly seminar Plant Club for postdocs and graduate students in house and a larger seminar once every 18 months where group leaders are presenting their research.

Structural Biology
The Research Program in Structural Biology encompasses research groups dedicated to structural biology and biophysics research in the Faculty of Biosciences and in the Institute of Biotechnology.

Structural Biology uses interdisciplinary approaches and state-of-the-art technology to investigate the structural basis for biological function and dynamics of biomolecules and biomolecular complexes and assemblies. A broad range of biophysical techniques, including x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, NMR and other forms of spectroscopy and computational methods, is represented within the program.

The Program promotes collaboration and has emphasis on research training.


Virology as a study field connects the different research units and departments working in the fields of biology, biotechnology, microbiology, agriculture and forestry, veterinary sciences and pharmacy at University of Helsinki. All of them are located at the Viikki campus. Viruses are important parasites in all cellular organisms. They cause economically significant diseases in domestic animals and cultivated plants. Therefore, understanding of the origin and molecular evolution of viruses is crucial for the control of viruses. However, the current knowledge on viruses is biased since it is almost entirely derived from man-made production systems, and little is known about the significance of viruses to the ecology and evolution of organisms in natural systems. Studies on viruses continue to reveal novel cellular functions, due to the dependence of viruses on them, or their ability to interfere with the functions of the cell. Examples include intra- and intercellular transport of viruses and RNA silencing, respectively. Structural studies on viruses reveal novel interactions between biomolecules. Many biotechnological tools are based on viruses, of which vector viruses used for production of pharmaceuticals in plants, or delivery to and silencing of genes in animal cells can be mentioned as examples.