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Minerva Research Institute

MINERVA FOUNDATION INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH is a private Institute in biomedicine that is located at Biomedicum Helsinki in close association with University of Helsinki 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 cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurological disorders.

• 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. The work aims to identify novel mechanisms that impact the development of cardiovascular diseases and fatty liver/metabolic syndrome.

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

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

• 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.

• 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 Törnquist. 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.

• 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.

TARGETED GENE-EXPRESSION ANALYSIS is led by docent Jakob Stenman. The aim of the research group is to develop new gene expression-based assays for cancer diagnostics with the main focus on colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

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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