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Minerva Institute at Glance

MINERVA FOUNDATION INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH is a private Institute in biomedicine that is located at Biomedicum Helsinki in close association with Helsinki University in a large conglomerate of modern laboratories with research groups in the biomedical and medical research fields. At Minerva about 40 persons are actively working in eight research groups. General theme of the research is the study of basic cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying important human diseases, including heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurological disorders.

The different groups are:

  • LIPID SIGNALING AND HOMEOSTASIS group is led by Professor Vesa Olkkonen and investigates new regulatory mechanisms that cells employ to maintain their lipid balance and to integrate their lipid status with other vital functions.

  • NEURONAL SIGNALING group is led by Professor Dan Lindholm. The Neuroscience group studies basic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases and excitotoxic damage.

  • CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE group is led by Docent Pirta Hotulainen. The research in the group focuses on the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in neurons, and particularly its disturbances in neuropsychiatric diseases.

  • CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH group is led by Professor Ilkka Tikkanen. The group studies end-organ and tissue damage second to cardiovascular, heart and kidney diseases and the molecular mechanisms involved herein.

  • ENDOCRINOLOGY group is led by Professor Hannele Yki-Järvinen. Major objectives are the study of Type-2 diabetes in humans and the mechanisms causing insulin resistance and its deleterious effects in the body.

  • METABOLISM group is led by Docent Heikki Koistinen. The main interest of the group is to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle.

  • CELLULAR PHYSIOLOGY group is led by Professor Kid Törnqvist. The main topic of research is to understand the physiological significance of sphingolipid derivatives as regulators of calcium and potassium channels, and sphgingolipids as regulators of thyroid cancer cell function.

  • TARGETED GENE-EXPRESSION ANALYSIS group is led by Docent Jakob Stenman. The aim of the study group is to develop new multigene predictor assays for cancer diagnostics with the main focus on colon, prostate and breast cancer.

  • MEMBRANE BIOLOGY group is led by Professor Elina Ikonen. Her group focuses on mechanisms responsible for the intracellular transport and compartmentalization of cholesterol, how distortions of the cellular cholesterol balance lead to human disease, and what can be done to improve the detection and therapy of the cholesterol-associated diseases.

  • TELOMERE RESEARCH group is led by Professor Frej Fyhrquist. The group works on basic mechanisms behind increased blood pressure in humans and the pathophysiology of heart and cardiovascular diseases.



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