Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research
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 congolomerate of modern laboratories with research groups in the biomedical and medical research fields. At Minerva about 40 persons including scientists, PhD students and technical assistants are actively working in nine 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.
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News and Forthcoming Events
September 23, 2019 - Medix Prize Award Ceremony and Prize Lectures
Biomedicum Helsinki 1, Lecture Hall 2, at 13:15 - 14:30.
MEDIX PRIZE OF THE MINERVA FOUNDATION 2019
MEDIX PRIZES FOR RESEARCH INTO PROSTATE CANCER AND CHILDHOOD-ONSET CARDIOMYOPATHIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OULU AND HELSINKI
The Minerva Foundation’s Medix Prize has been awarded to two research groups.
The research group of Professor Gong-Hong Wei at the University of Oulu, collaborating with the group of genetic predisposition to cancer led by Professor Johanna Schleutker at University of Turku, was recognised for the discovery of the genetic mechanism of aggressive prostate cancer. The research group of Academy Professor Anu Wartiovaara at the University of Helsinki, working in cooperation with the group of paediatric cardiologists headed by Tiina Ojala at Helsinki Children’s Hospital, was awarded for its research into the genetic basis of severe childhood-onset cardiomyopathies. Both prizes are €20,000.
The Minerva Foundation’s Medix Prize is a major annual award for internationally recognised medical research in Finland. The Minerva Foundation celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and therefore it awarded two prizes instead of the customary one. The award categories were biomedical basic research and research into clinical medicine.
Picture: Professor Gong-Hong Wei’s research group studied the genomics and genetic systems of aggressive prostate cancer. Members of the research group from left at the rear: BSc Arto Alatalo, MSc Jihan Xia, MSc Binjie Luo, PhD Xiayun Yang, MSc Qin Zhang, Professor Gong-Hong Wei, Adjunct Professor Aki Manninen. At the front from left: MSc Nikolaos Giannareas, PhD Karim Ullah, MSc Sara Cruz.
Professor Wei’s research group was recognised for its work in biomedical basic research. The group has discovered a novel molecular-level mechanism to explain why some men are more susceptible to the aggressive form of prostate cancer. The research offers new insights into the risk stratification of aggressive prostate cancer and clinical treatment.
Picture: The research group headed by Academy Professor Anu Wartiovaara studied the genetic background of severe childhood-onset cardiomyopathies. Members of the research group, from left: Docent, Specialist in Paediatric Cardiology Tiina Ojala; MD, PhD, Academy Professor, Chief Medical Officer Anu Wartiovaara; MSc, doctoral student Catalina Vasilescu; MD, Specialist in Paediatric Cardiology Anita Hiippala; Docent, Paediatric Cardiology Chief of Department Jaana Pihkala; MD, PhD, Professor, Head of Tertiary Paediatrics Eero Jokinen; MD PhD Eino Palin.
Academy Professor Wartiovaara’s research group was recognised for its research in clinical medicine. The group has studied the genetic mechanisms of severe childhood-onset cardiomyopathies. The results of its research can be significantly utilised in the making of treatment decisions and the development of therapeutic strategies.
The Medix prize, awarded by the University of Helsinki, was awarded for the 32nd time. The prize is donated to the University of Helsinki by the Minerva Foundation. The Minerva Foundation maintains the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research at Biomedicum Helsinki.
The prize is awarded annually for excellent Finnish scientific research published as one article during the previous year. The research is to be in the fields of biomedicine or clinical medicine and performed fully or in its essential parts in Finland. The awardee is selected by a committee consisting of representatives from the universities of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Eastern Finland and Oulu, who are appointed for three years.
The research groups receive the Medix prizes and give a lecture on 23 September 2019 at 1.15 p.m. Address: Luentosali 2, Biomedicum, Haartmaninkatu 8, Helsinki, Finland
Further information on the Medix Prize and the Minerva Foundation:
Professor Vesa Olkkonen, +358 (0)50 411 2297, vesa.olkkonen(at)helsinki.fi
This media release is distributed by PR Officer Martti Ahlstén
+358 (0)500 582 588
6/2019 -Thesis Award
THESIS AWARD 2018 TO PANU LUUKKONEN
Lääkärilehti has awarded Panu Luukkonen, M.D., D.Med.Sci, for the best thesis 2018. Title for the thesis is 'Heterogeneity of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – Genetic and Nutritional Modulation of Hepatic Lipid Metabolism'.
5/2019 - Academy of Finland Project Funding
Academy of Finland has granted a 4-year Academy project funding to Professor Vesa Olkkonen. The funding period is from 2019 to 2023 and the funding in total 533 706€. The project title is ‘Membrane contact sites in endothelial cells (EC): Novel lipid transport and signaling platforms for EC activation and angiogenesis’.
Project description: Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction plays key roles in major human diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and cancers. Metabolic fluxes and signaling events within cells are organized in an integrated manner allowing high efficiency and capacity transfer of lipids, ions and signals between cell organelles. Organelles related functionally are physically connected via membrane contact sites (MCSs). The aim of this proposal is to identify MCSs and their components with key roles in select EC functions crucial for atherosclerotic CVDs, EC activation and angiogenesis. We launch a systematic study of MCS component expression and regulation in ECs – followed by detailed analysis of the function and pathophysiological role of select MCSs and their protein components. The work produces break-throughs in understanding the roles of MCSs in human diseases characterized by endothelial dysfunction such as CVDs, resulting in the identification of new therapy targets.
LIPID SIGNALING AND HOMEOSTASIS
3/2019 -Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Fellowship
NOVO NORDISK FOUNDATION CELEBRATES TALENTED YOUNG RESERCHERS
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded postdoctoral fellowship to Panu Luukkonen, M.D., D.Med.Sci. The grant amount is 4,00,000 DKK. Luukkonen's project title is 'Heterogeneity of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Humans' and the research is done in Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA and Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, Helsinki, Finland.
Project description: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease, affecting up to 1 in 4 of the Western population, and predisposes to liver cirrhosis and cancer. Treatment options for NAFLD are scarce, of which weight loss is amongst the most effective. There are two common subtypes of NAFLD; one related to overweight and one to genetics. For unknown reason, the former but not the latter is associated with insulin resistance that precedes type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In Project 1, we will comprehensively assess the effect of weight loss on liver fat and carbohydrate metabolism in the two subtypes of NAFLD in humans using a new state-of-the-art method by analyzing blood samples taken during infusion of safe, non-radiating tracers. In animals, insulin resistance is mediated by distinct class of lipids, diacylglycerols (DAGs). In Project 2, we study the effect and underlying mechanisms of DAGs on insulin resistance in human liver samples.
2/2019 – Funding from The Finnish Cultural Foundation
The Finnish Cultural Foundation has granted Docent Päivi Lakkisto a 200,000€ funding for research on ´Sydän- ja verisuonitautien yksilöllinen diagnostiikka, ennusteen arviointi ja uusien lääkehoidon kohteiden tunnistaminen transkriptomiikan keinoin’.
3/2019 - Scientific Report
MINERVA SCIENTIFIC REPORT 2018
8/2018 - Minerva Wihuri Symposium
Minerva and Wihuri Research Institutes organized a Symposium on August 28 - 29, 2018.
MINERVA AND WIHURI RESEARCH INSTITUTES SYMPOSIUMStem Cells in Regenerative Medicine
OM FORSKNINGEN PÅ MINERVA
Medicinska forskningsinstitutet Minerva är ett privat forskningsinstitut som upprätthålls av Minervastiftelsen. Vid institutet arbetar ca 40 personer bestående av senior forskare, doktorander och teknisk personal. 9 forskningsgrupper, vars forskning syftar till att utreda medicinskt betydande sjukdomars, uppkomstmekanismer och behandlingsmöjligheter genom att utnyttja såväl kliniska som prekliniska forskningsmetoder. Sjukdomar som undersöks är bl.a. hjärt- och kärlsjukdomars, diabetes och nervsjukdomar.
Lääketieteellinen tutkimuslaitos Minerva on Minervasäätiön ylläpitämä yksityinen tutkimuslaboratorio. Tutkimuslaitoksessa työskentelee n. 40 henkilöä koostuen tutkijoista, väitöskirjatyöntekijöistä sekä avustavasta henkilökunnasta. 9 tutkimusryhmää, joiden tutkimustyötä leimaa pyrkimys selvittää lääketieteellisesti merkittävien sairauksien kuten sydän- ja verisuonisairauksien, diabeteksen ja hermoston tautien syntymekanismeja ja hoitomahdollisuuksia kliinisiä ja prekliinisiä tutkimusmenetelmiä hyödyntäen.