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Seven UEF Research Fellows started this autumn – a new call for well-performing Academy Research Fellow applicants will be opened next summer

Seven UEF Research Fellows have begun their work in three-year university researcher positions in August-September 2022. The University of Eastern Finland has been piloting a new model for recruiting UEF Research Fellows from among well-performing applicants to Academy Research Fellow positions. This is a way for the university to advance the careers of talented researchers.

For the first time in June 2022, UEF Research Fellows were selected from among researchers who received a good score in the Academy of Finland’s call for Academy Research Fellow positions, but whose proposal nevertheless wasn’t selected for funding. The university will continue using this highly successful recruitment model. Also in the summer of 2023, seven UEF Research Fellows will be selected for a three-year term from among the 2022 Academy Research Fellow applicants. Researchers receiving a good score (5-6) but not selected for funding by the Academy of Finland in spring 2023 will be invited to apply for the UEF Research Fellow positions. The requirement is that funding for the Academy Research Fellow project has been applied for to the University of Eastern Finland.

Starting as a UEF Research Fellow this autumn are Kateryna Holzer of the Law School, Lukas Kohl of the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Mikael Turunen of the Department of Applied Physics, Aija Lulle of the Karelian Institute, Tatu Pantsar of the School of Pharmacy, and Redouane Aherrahou and Jenni Küblbeck of the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences.

Kateryna Holzer’s RECOSTA project focuses on regulatory cooperation on carbon standards. Currently, different countries have different standards for carbon dioxide emissions, and international cooperation is needed to harmonise regulation. Holzer’s study aims at establishing common rules for carbon standard setting, carbon footprint measurement and certification.

Lukas Kohl’s research stands at the intersection of microbiology, organic geochemistry and biogeochemistry. He is particularly interested in human impact on natural biogeochemical cycles, as well as in the methane cycle of boreal forests with a focus on the role of trees.

“The recruitment process was great because it didn’t mean much extra work – we write enough proposals at my career stage. Also, it feels good to see a university invest hard money, i.e., university strategic funding, in early career researchers,” Kohl points out.

Mikael Turunen’s research focuses on thorough characterisation of changes that occur during early osteoarthritis, particularly in subchondral bone. The aim is to unravel mechanisms behind initiation and early progression of osteoarthritis, the comprehension of which is key in the development of disease inhibiting and delaying treatments.

“The UEF Research Fellow position is an important opportunity to continue my own research and growth towards becoming an academic leader. Most importantly, it allows the applying of research funding from a wider variety of sources,” Turunen points out.

Aija Lulle’s research focuses on the migration of children and families in Eastern and Northern Europe.

Tatu Pantsar’s research pertains to drug development and to how water molecules can be used to develop new kinase inhibitors with improved properties. In addition, Pantsar examines the role of water molecules in the development of drug resistance to certain kinase inhibitors used in cancer medicines. The results may improve the selection of right drugs for right patients, and thus to enhance the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

“I’m delighted that the University of Eastern Finland sees the high potential of my research and has granted me this funding that I can use as a foundation to start building of my own research group,” Pantsar says.

Redouane Aherrahrou's research focuses on coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Vascular smooth muscle cells are one of the key cell types that play a critical role in the stability of atherosclerotic plaques. Aherrahrou aims to comprehensively investigate the cellular and molecular impact of genetic variants on vascular smooth muscle cell function and thus on plaque stability to prevent the risk of coronary artery disease.

Jenni Küblbeck’s research seeks to decipher how the function of proteins involved in the regulation of human energy metabolism is affected by environmental chemicals in cell-based models, and the significance of these changes in the ever-increasing incidence of metabolic disorders.

“I’m very grateful for the UEF Researcher Fellow funding, and for the university’s support in general. The selection process was very smooth and quick, although the situation was new for everyone. My first month as a UEF Research Fellow has been a busy one, but in a good way, and I’m excited for things to move forward,” Küblbeck says, delighted.

The university’s Research Funding Coordinators will assist researchers in the preparation of their Academy Research Fellow applications in the autumn:

Philosophical Faculty: Milena Fayt, milena.fayt (at)

Faculty of Science and Forestry: Ulla Karhunen, ulla.karhunen (at) and Riitta Tegelberg, riitta.tegelberg(at)

Faculty of Health Sciences: Maria Rikala, maria.rikala (at) and Maria Pikkarainen, maria.pikkarainen(at)

Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies: Katri Kostiainen, katri.kostiainen (at) and Saija Miina, saija.miina(at)

More information on UEF Research Fellow positions: Anu Liikanen,