University of Eastern Finland - (UEF)

University of Eastern Finland
70211 Kuopio

Main Website »

The University of Eastern Finland was formed in 2010 by a merger between the University of Joensuu and the University of Kuopio making it one of the largest universities in Finland. The university is among the top three most significant universities in Finland and among the leading 200 universities in the world. It has an international reputation in the fields of health, environment and well-being, with particular strengths in biotechnology, biosciences and molecular medicine.

The A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences at University of Eastern Finland, was founded in 1989. It has a track record of research in molecular medicine of major diseases of high importance for health care including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolism-related diseases.

The Molecular Medicine Group, within the Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine at A.I.Virtanen Institute, is led by Prof. Seppo Ylä-Herttuala. The group was the Academy of Finland's top research unit from 2002 to 2007. It is well-known for its extensive experience in gene therapeutics and consists of 35 researchers. The research focuses on developing new gene and protein-based approaches for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and malignant glioma.

Major achievements include the discovery of the vasculoprotective effect of VEGF gene therapy, and identification of several new candidate genes for the treatment of vascular diseases. Also, several significant improvements have been made to adenoviral, lentiviral and baculoviral gene transfer vectors, their expression cassettes and targeting properties. Two of the discoveries in gene-based drugs have been brought to phase II/III human clinical trials in the EU and USA.

Personnel Involved

Prof Seppo Ylä-Herttuala
Prof Seppo Ylä-Herttuala
Dr Tommi Heikura
Dr Tommi Heikura