The objective of the funding granted by the Academy of Finland to Academy Professors is to provide internationally recognised scholars with an opportunity to carry out full-time academic research. Academy Professors are expected to significantly advance scientific research and to develop creative research environments.
Academy Professors of the University of Eastern FinlandAsla Pitkänen: Neurosciences
Academy Professor Asla Pitkänen's neurosciences research ranges from the cellular and molecular level to experimental animal models and brain imaging. Professor Pitkänen is well respected in the epilepsy research community and is regarded as one of the world's leading scientists in her field. During her term as Academy Professor, she will be working to identify the early pathophysiological changes following brain damage and leading to epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder, and the development of effective treatments will require a better understanding of the pathogenesis of epilepsy. International reviewers expect that Professor Pitkänen's research will lead to significant breakthroughs. Her research findings may pave the way to the development of new treatments for epilepsy and even to the prevention of epilepsy caused by brain damage. Worldwide there are some 60 million epilepsy sufferers, in Finland the figure is around 54,000. One-third of epilepsy sufferers have symptoms that cannot be suppressed by medication. The best treatment for epilepsy is prevention. Asla Pitkänen has been appointed as an Academy Professor for the period 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2018.
Professor Pitkänen's Epilepsy Research Laboratory
Seppo Ylä-Herttuala: Biomedicine, clinical medicine
Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala is one of the world's leading gene therapy researchers. He is one of the few scientists who have been able to put his results to the test in late stage clinical trials. Ylä-Herttuala's studies are aimed at discovering new treatments for severe cardiac ischemia and malignant brain tumours. They are based on completely novel methods, i.e. epigene therapy, vectors that are target-integrated into the genome, and antibody-producing gene transfer constructs that may have application in other medical fields, too. Seppo Ylä-Herttuala is also group leader in the Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease funded by the Academy of Finland. He has been appointed for a third term as an Academy Professor from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2020.
Professor Ylä-Herttuala's Molecular Medicine Research Group
(Source: Academy of Finland)