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Impact of the war in Ukraine on UEF

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One new Academy Research Fellow, two new Postdoctoral Researchers at UEF in biosciences, health and environmental research

The Academy of Finland granted Academy Research Fellow funding to 22 researchers, and Postdoctoral Researcher funding to 32 researchers.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has decided to fund 22 new posts as Academy Research Fellow. The total funding comes to nearly 10 million euros.

The Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment made the Academy Research Fellow decisions emphasising the high scientific quality of the projects, a focus on international cooperation and the applicants’ rising career trajectories.

Academy Research Fellow

Marja Härkänen (447,650 euros)

Developing a predictive real-time warning system for avoiding patients and healthcare staff harm after medication safety incidents

Medication incidents cause significant harm to patients, health professionals and healthcare organisations. Incident reporting systems have been utilised globally to increase safety by learning from incidents. Such systems are not used to their full potential. This study moves towards next level utilisation of incident reporting systems by using them in real-time to warn of likely harm. This will be accomplished by producing a novel ‘warn harm’ taxonomy and trigger tool that can be translated into a practical predictive tool. Early-warning systems that use data from incident reports do not currently exist. Thus, this study offers opportunities for scientific breakthroughs. It will produce an innovative ‘warn harm’ taxonomy and trigger tool. This could potentially alert to avoidable harm that will increase patients’ well-being and safety, bring cost savings for health systems and society, as well as support staff members by decreasing emotional stress of the staff involved in errors.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has decided to fund 32 new posts as Postdoctoral Researcher. The new Postdoctoral Researchers receive funding for three years. The Research Council’s total funding for the new posts comes to nearly 9 million euros.

In its funding decisions, the Research Council placed emphasis on the high scientific quality of the research, networking that supports the researcher’s career and independence and the intention to engage in international cooperation.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Mikko Herrala (239,291 euros)

Genotoxicity assessment and comparison of toxicity mechanisms of natural anthraquinone dyes

Natural dyes are researched as sustainable alternative for currently used synthetic dyes, which of some are toxic causing environmental and human health risks. Bloodred webcap is a mushroom, which grows in Finland, and it produces several anthraquinone dyes, which are suitable for textile dyeing. However, little is known about the toxicity of these novel biocolourants, and their safety must be confirmed until larger scale use. Therefore, in this project performed at the School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, genotoxicity and toxicity mechanisms of natural anthraquinone dyes will be assessed. Genotoxicity will be studied in cultured human cells as well as in zebrafish embryos. Modern transcriptomics and dose-response response modelling will be used to study mechanisms of toxicity. The results of this project will further the development of environmentally sound biocolourants.

Anna-Kaisa Ruotsalainen (215,263 euros)

Novel circular RNAs for the treatment of atherosclerosis

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the most significant public health problems in western countries. In Finland, on average 150 people die because of CAD every week. CAD narrows coronary arteries that reduces the blood flow in myocardium and may lead to myocardial infarction and heart failure. Current therapies of CAD are mainly focused on plasma lipid lowering, but more effective therapies are needed. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) that are not translated into proteins, are a large unknown group of molecules, but have been recognized in several disease pathologies and are the hot topic in the development of new therapies. The present study aims to investigate the mechanisms of circular lncRNAs, found from the genetic risk region of CAD, in the regulation of inflammation and for the treatment of CAD by utilizing latest methods of molecular biology and the technologies of ATMP-products (advanced therapy medicinal products).

Source: Academy of Finland press releases and news

Researchers’ contact information: UEF Connect