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SMART SCIENCE BY SMART PEOPLE University of Eastern Finland 2017

26

JOINING FORCES FOR GLOBAL HEALTH Researchers race against time to tackle antibiotic resistance

20 LATEST IN

LEUKAEMIA

Cell regulatory networks may offer new treatment targets

19 VIRTUAL LABORATORY SM4RTLAB

New level of accessibility and cost-efficiency

37 LEARNING FROM PHENOMENA

Breaking boundaries between subjects


EDITORIAL

UEF

JOENSUU P.O. BOX 111, 80101 JOENSUU KUOPIO P.O. BOX 1627, 70211 KUOPIO SAVONLINNA P.O. BOX 86, 57101 SAVONLINNA

Open science

G

lobalisation and digitali-

available knowledge at an earlier stage of the

sation bring with them a

process. This is for science what the internet

whole new level of trans-

has been for social and economic transactions:

parency to research and

allowing colleagues to interpret the research

innovation activities. Open

and end users to be involved in the production

science will speed up sci-

of ideas, relations and services, and in doing so,

entific advances, enhance research prac­tices and their transparency and, in the best case

PUBLISHER UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND P.O. BOX 1627, 70211 KUOPIO TEL. +358 294 45 1111 WWW.UEF.FI/EN EDITORIAL STAFF

on the basis of it serve as a good foundation

impact of research. In addition to researchers,

for administrative and political decision-mak-

the “clients” of open science include public

ing. For instance, extensive analyses of popula-

administration organisations, politicians,

tion-based health data can help in identifying

companies, business and industry – and also

local health differences, making it possible to

citizens.

allocate health care resources and new ser­

Open science involves a shift from the standard practice of publishing results as in-

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dividual papers towards sharing and using all

EDITORS ULLA KALTIALA MARIANNE MUSTONEN MAJ VUORRE NINA VENHE PHOTOGRAPHERS VARPU HEISKANEN TUIJA HYTTINEN RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN TRANSLATION MAJ VUORRE

Open science and information generated

scenario, strengthen the social and economic

UEFBULLETIN@UEF.FI FIRSTNAME.FAMILYNAME@UEF.FI

SARI ESKELINEN TEL. +358 50 361 9280

enabling a new operational model for science.

vices in the best possible way. The idea of citizen science, i.e. the possibility for all citizens to engage in scientific research, is an interesting one. Similarly to sharing their spare rooms on Airbnb, people could share their knowledge and thinking for the benefit of science on open science platforms. For business and industry, open science is closely linked to the concept of open innovation. Open innovation is, as the name suggests, open to all companies and communities, allowing information and expertise to flow freely and to be turned into products and services increasingly effectively. This is a way of creating new markets and novel entrepreneurship.

LANGUAGE REVISION

Open innovation involves a shift from linear

SEMANTIX FINLAND OY

technology transfer, which has proved to be

LAYOUT

relatively inefficient, to innovation ecosystems

GRANO OY

where researchers, companies and public sec-

PRINTING GRANO OY

tor actors share their expertise and ideas. Open science in a wider sense is still a very complicated and hazy entity, with nu-

DISTRIBUTION

merous ethical, legal and technical issues that

4,500 ISSN-L 1799-0165 ISSN 1799-0165

remain to be clarified and solved. However, it

COVER PAGE PHOTO: RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN

calls for a shift from the “publish or perish” to the “open up your science or perish” culture, and the introduction of indicators for scientists to merit doing so. JUKKA MÖNKKÖNEN RECTOR

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INDEX

8

INTRODUCING A PERSONAL VITAMIN D RESPONSE INDEX

39 MOTIVATING PROJECTS

12

16

HEALTH THREATS ARE GLOBAL

CLIMATE CHANGE FORCES REINDEER HUSBANDRY TO ADAPT

26 TACKLING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE Prasanthi Medarametla & Carlos Moreno-Cinos

Jussi Kauhanen

32

40

RESEARCH INTO SENSORY ENVIRONMENT

AI STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO

Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä

Anssi Kanervisto

Global health concerns us all....................................................................12 Climate change challenges reindeer husbandry...................................16 Increasingly accurate groundwater reserve estimates.......................18 Towards the fourth reality of science......................................................19 What’s going on in leukaemic cells?........................................................20 Grasshoppers hopping on your plate.....................................................23 Desperate need for new retinal disease treatments.............................24 New antibiotics might just weaken bacteria.........................................26 Many sides of Vyborg.................................................................................28 Regulatory boost for renewable energy..................................................31

How does our sensory environment change?.......................................32 Magnetic fields expose to mutations.......................................................34 Transnational education finds new forms.............................................36 Learning starts from a phenomenon......................................................37 Motivation for learning from forests......................................................39 Artificial intelligence learns when taught..............................................40 Following the paper trail............................................................................42 Passion for clinical linguistics..................................................................43 More than fun and games..........................................................................44

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UEF// IN BRIEF Unexpected good properties of the bad migraine trigger THE NEUROPEPTIDE CGRP is a known migraine trigger, but a new study shows that it also has a protective role to play in the brain, preventing the death of neuronal cells. New migraine drugs should therefore be more specifically targeted at the unwanted effects of CGRP while maintaining the good ones, according to the researchers. CGRP is the most important known trigger of migraine pathology. Many modern migraine treatments aim at blocking its pro-nociceptive action, either by inhibiting CGRP release (which is how triptans work) via CGRP receptor antagonism (as gepants do), or by using CGRP neutralising antibodies. CGRP was recently found to have unexpected neuroprotective properties mediated via two signalling pathways controlled by protein kinases PKA and CAMKII. The protective effect of CGRP from apoptosis was observed both in central and peripheral neurons, in vitro and in vivo using a brain ischaemia model. The study published in Cephalalgia provides a rationale for the toxic side effects observed in clinical trials evaluating certain CGRP antagonist drugs.  The finding that CGRP plays not only a pathologic but also a protective role in the brain may suggest that it is not an ideal target for drug development. This does not mean that the door to the development of CGRP antagonists and anti-CGRP antibodies is closed for pharmaceutical companies. Instead, the researchers outline a paradigm to approach CGRP targeting in a more specific manner. Their work suggests the benefit of blocking the pro-nociceptive “bad” function of the peptide in the peripheral neurons, while maintaining its “good” effects in the central nervous system. The dual “good and bad” properties of CGRP provide novel lines of inquiry and new theories on the evolution of migraine, and its potential connection with cognitive performance.  “Interestingly, these results may also explain the beneficial effects of capsaicin in spicy food and perhaps even those of sauna bathing. Both promote the release of CGRP via the same TRPV1 receptor but can cause migraine in some sensitive people,” says Professor Rashid Giniatullin, who led the study in collaboration with Professor Anna-Liisa Levonen and Associate Professor Tarja Malm. Read about the new results on the positive cognitive effects of sauna bathing on the next page!

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NEW TOOL FOR PREDICTING CREDIT RISK IN SMES Kang Li, MSc, developed a new model for evaluating credit risk in SMEs as part of her doctoral dissertation. The study developed a hybrid credit risk model allowing financial institutions to decrease SME-related credit risk evaluation error.

Antipsychotic drug use was associated with a 60% increased risk of mortality among persons with Alzheimer’s disease in the MEDALZ study. The use of two or more antipsychotics almost doubled the risk compared to monotherapy.

Frequent sauna bathing protects men against dementia Frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a recent study carried out at UEF. IN A 20-YEAR FOLLOW-UP, men taking a sauna 4–7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. The association

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY LINKED TO HEADACHE Lack of vitamin D may increase the risk of chronic headache. In the KIHD study, men with the lowest serum vitamin D levels had over a twofold risk of chronic headache compared to those with the highest levels.

VIRPI VIRJAMO SUCCESSFUL IN SCIENCE PITCHING AT SLUSH Researcher Virpi Virjamo won the main prize of 100,000 euros in the Skolar Award science pitching competition held at the technology and start-up event Slush. In her work at the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Virjamo uses coniferous trees to develop new drugs to battle antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Virjamo’s research focuses on alkaloids, chemical compounds of coniferous trees, which haven’t been researched much before. Six postdoctoral researchers pitched their ideas in the Skolar Award finals.

between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated. The effects of sauna bathing on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia were studied in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), involving more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in eastern Finland. Based on their sauna-bathing habits,

TELECARE ENHANCES NEUROLOGICAL REFERRAL PATIENTS’ ACCESS TO CARE

the study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna 2–3 times a week, and those taking a sauna 4–7 times a week. The more frequently saunas were taken, the lower was the risk

sudden cardiac death, the risk of death

of dementia. Among those taking a sauna

due to coronary artery disease and other

4–7 times a week, the risk of any form of

cardiac events, as well as overall mortality.

dementia was 66% lower and the risk of

According to Professor Jari Laukkanen,

Alzheimer’s disease 65% lower than among

the study leader, sauna bathing may protect

those taking a sauna just once a week. The

both the heart and memory to some extent

findings were published recently in the

via similar, still poorly known mechanisms.

Age and Ageing journal.

“However, it is known that cardiovascular

Previous results from the KIHD study

health affects the brain as well. The sense

have shown that frequent sauna bath-

of well-being and relaxation experienced

ing also significantly reduces the risk of

during sauna bathing may also play a role.”

Telecare significantly enhances access to care among neurological referral patients, shows Hanna Kuusisto, MD, in her doctoral dissertation. In Finland, patients are entitled by law to get a secondary care consultation within three months after being referred from primary health care. At Tampere University Hospital and KantaHäme Central Hospital, the waiting time was reduced to approximately two months. The majority of patients were satisfied with their telephone consultation immediately afterwards and even 8–10 months later. Primary care physicians were also satisfied with the telecare practice.

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FUEL OIL PARTICULATE EMISSIONS MOST TOXIC TO CELLS The chemical composition of particulate emissions is determined by the size and type of the heating system, as well as by the type of fuel used. Stefanie Kasurinen, MSc, observed in her doctoral dissertation that the emissions from a medium-scale district heating plant fired with fuel oil were more toxic in vitro than the emissions from a district heating plant fired with wood chips.

That’s the overall grade for the performance of the Finnish Defence Forces in the Winter War. A book by Senior Lecturer and Docent of Military History Pasi Tuunainen, entitled Finnish Military Effectiveness in the Winter War, 1939–1940, analyses the Finns’ development and maintenance of their military effectiveness. The overall grade is based on 26 criteria covering different aspects of warfare. The book was published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Ice cover changes rivers’ flow characteristics Ice cover reduces flow velocity in meandering rivers, according to a new study. THE ICE-COVERED FLOW characteristics

bend, velocities are increased again to-

of meandering rivers have not been fully

gether with the shallower depths.

understood, as the measurement of flow

“Theories relating to open channel

conditions has been challenging during

flow are different from what we’ve now

wintertime.

observed under ice. The study shows that

“New measurement methods, how-

in meandering rivers, the flow character-

ever, allow for an increasingly accurate

istics are almost opposite when the river

analysis of the differences between open

is covered by ice and when it is not.”

channel flow and flow under ice cover,” says Senior Lecturer Eliisa Lotsari. Using an acoustic current profiler

According to Lotsari, it is too early to evaluate how these differences may affect longer-term changes in river environ-

makes it possible to study river flow all

ments that are covered by ice and snow

year round. In a study led by Lotsari,

for the majority of the year.

measurements were performed at several

“We will continue our research on

river point cross-sections at different

the River Pulmanki in Utsjoki, northern

times – more extensively than in any

Finland, in February 2017. That will be the

other study before.

fourth consecutive year of measurements there.”

THE MEASUREMENTS SHOW that under

The study conducted by the Universi-

ice, velocities are reduced when entering

ty of Eastern Finland and the University

deeper water downstream of the apex in

of Turku was published in Earth Surface

each meander. When entering the next

Processes and Landforms.

GLOBAL WARMING INCREASES NITROUS OXIDE EMISSIONS UEF’s Biogeochemistry Research Group provided the first field-based evidence that Arctic nitrous oxide emissions increase when the Arctic is warming. Nitrous oxide emissions increased not only from bare peat surfaces, previously identified as hot spots for nitrous oxide in the Arctic, but also began to be released from abundant, vegetation-covered peat soils, where higher temperatures weakened vegetation growth. One of the major conclusions was that even mild air warming of less than 1°C is triggering greenhouse gas production at depth. The findings were published in Global Change Biology.

ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS BEAR GREAT RISKS IN CRITICAL CARE A large number health care professionals using electronic health records, EHR, associated EHR with a high level of risk, especially in intensive and critical care units, emergency departments, procedure units and operating rooms. Almost half of the respondents regarded the unavailability of EHR as an error type involving a high risk level or posing a severe threat to patient safety. Doctoral student Sari Palojoki and Professor Kaija Saranto from the University of Eastern Finland participated in the study. The findings were published in JMIR Medical Informatics.

NEW IMMUNE CELL SUBSET LINKED TO TYPE 1 DIABETES A recently found subset of T cells – follicular T helper cells – may be central in the development of type 1 diabetes. They were found to be increased at the onset of type 1 diabetes, and this was linked with the presence of autoantibodies commonly associated with the disease.

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RECOVERY OF TROPICAL RAINFORESTS MAY REQUIRE RESTORATION EFFORTS

MICROPLASTICS IN LAKE KALLAVESI’S BOTTOM SEDIMENT?

Tropical rainforests do not always recover naturally after anthropogenic disturbances, and restoration efforts may be needed, noted Tiina Piiroinen, MSc, in her doctoral dissertation. In disturbed areas, natural seed dispersion and seedling recruitment were low, and seedling mortality was high.

The search for microplastics has expanded from water to bottom sediment. The goal is to study whether microplastics stored in the bottom sediment might get released back into the water. The findings play a role in lakeside construction and water use planning.

PHOTO ISMO PEKKARINEN / LEHTIKUVA

HOW HAVE EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL TOWNS CHANGED?

More mercury, less beneficial fatty acids in humic lake perch PREDATORY FISH in lakes are known to

Finland. Those grown in clear-water lakes

accumulate toxic methyl mercury. Thus,

contained more omega-3 fatty acids and

the authorities have provided recommen-

less mercury than those grown in humic

dations on restricting their use in human

lakes. For the consumption of clear-wa-

diets. However, selenium in fish may

ter lake perch, human health benefits

counterbalance mercury toxicity. On the

were estimated to be greater than the

other hand, due to their high content of

risks caused by mercury. The quality of

long-chained polyunsaturated omega-3

perch grown in humic lakes having >30%

fatty acids (especially EPA and DHA), fish

peatlands in their catchment proved to be

diets are known to be beneficial for human

poor. On the other hand, all fish contained

health. A new study carried out at the

equal amounts or more selenium than

University of Eastern Finland and Natural

mercury. However, the protective role of

Resources Institute Finland reports that the

selenium in detoxifying mercury is not

lake environmental factors affect antago-

exactly known.

nistically how much beneficial fatty acids and toxic mercury are accumulated in fish. Large (>20 cm) predatory perch were collected from ten lakes in eastern

The study was carried out in the AKVA programme funded by the Academy of Finland and published in Environmental Pollution.

The University of Eastern Finland secured nearly 300,000 euros of ERA-NET funding for a research project investigating change in industrial towns in five European countries. The Bright future for black towns project studies industrial towns in the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, Slovenia and Finland.

TRAUMATIC READING PROVIDES NEW INSIGHT INTO DIASPORIC AFRICAN WRITING The possibility of being part of history comes from the way people share each other’s traumas, notes Mustapha Kharoua, PhD, in his dissertation focusing on the works of three diasporic writers of African descent. He suggests that the problematics of skin colour, racism, imprisonment, discrimination and state-run oppression experienced by African minorities in today’s Africa and the UK bear witness to the existence of similar ideologies as during the days of colonialism and slavery.

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PHYSICALLY ACTIVE BOYS MAY READ BETTER

CUSTOMERS MAINLY CONTENT WITH E-PRESCRIPTIONS

High levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, low levels of sedentary time, and particularly the combination of the two in Year 1 are related to better reading skills in Years 1–3 in boys, the PANIC study showed.

Finnish pharmacy customers see more benefits than problems in the use of ePrescriptions, a survey shows. Some 86% reported benefits and 23% reported problems. ePrescriptions are mandatory in Finland as from 1 January 2017.

Researchers introduce a personal vitamin D response index The need for vitamin D supplementation may depend on individual responsiveness to the pre-hormone. Low responders should aim at a higher vitamin D status, according to a recent review.

OUR SKIN produces vitamin D3 when

A person’s vitamin D status is de-

Participants could be divided into high,

exposed to sunlight, but when there’s

termined by measuring the serum level

medium and low responders by measur-

insufficient sunlight exposure, most of us

of the vitamin D3 metabolite 25-hydrox-

ing a variety of vitamin D sensitive molec-

need to get vitamin D from food or sup-

yvitamin D3. But this measurement may

ular parameters. This dynamic response

plements. However, there is some debate

be insufficient in assessing the person’s

to vitamin D often didn’t correlate with

about adequate vitamin D levels and the

need for supplementation, say authors

vitamin D status.

appropriate amount of daily vitamin D

of a review article in Journal of Steroid

supplementation.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Carsten

concept of a personal vitamin D response

Carlberg, Professor of Biochemistry at

index that reveals the efficiency of the

UEF, and Afrozul Haq, Director of Re-

molecular response to supplementation

search and Development at Gulf Diagnos-

with vitamin D. “Everyone should be

tic Center Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

aware not only of their vitamin D status,

Two intervention trials carried out at UEF, VitDmet and VitDbol, have shown

Thus, the authors introduce the

but also of their vitamin D response index,” they suggest.

that individuals differ in their molecular

When a person’s vitamin D response

response to vitamin D supplementation.

index is known, supplementation can be designed accordingly. One in four individuals can be expected to be a low responder. For them, supplementation aiming at a high vitamin D status may be called for in order to get the protective health benefits of the vitamin. Vitamin D is important for musculoskeletal health, but an adequate intake may also protect against a variety of diseases, such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

8 UEF BULLETIN 2017


of Finns who took part in a survey would accept euthanasia as part of Finnish health care. Among nurses, the proportion was 74%. Anja Terkamo-Moisio, DHSc, presented the results in her doctoral dissertation.

BRAIN DISEASES MANIFEST IN EYE RETINA

INDIVIDUAL MOVEMENT CONTROL FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

Brain diseases may manifest as pathological changes in the retina of the eye. An animal study showed that retinal changes may be detected earlier than brain changes. An eye examination could thus detect a brain disease early on.

Lower back pain may be perpetuated by impaired movement control. In patients with this complaint, individually tailored movement control exercise yields better results than general exercise when both are combined with manual therapy, according to the doctoral dissertation by Vesa Lehtola, MHSc.

Jazz musicians start a family later Jazz musicians’ mobility is often limited by starting a family and ageing. IN THE UK, jazz musicians’ life transi-

as they stay at home to take care of their

tions take place later than average, noted

children. Many male musicians, on the other

researcher Elina Hytönen-Ng in her study

hand, limit the number of gigs they do and

analysing the career and mobility of jazz

they may also accept gigs in less well-known

musicians. Jazz musicians’ work motivation,

clubs in order to support their family.

combined with a passion for music, some-

“In the UK, and particularly in London,

times mean they postpone starting a family

it is virtually impossible for musicians, even

until their late thirties.

for musicians with decade-long careers, to

The study analysed 12 UK-based musicians living in the London area, three of them female. Hytönen-Ng collected her

get a mortgage. Down payments are also high, and this affects their choices.” Furthermore, musicians’ mobility is also

research material while working as a visit-

limited by ageing. As their physical condition

ing scholar at the University of Oxford and

weakens, many elderly musicians limit the

King’s College, London.

number of gigs they do, or they start teaching

“Jazz musicians’ work is built around gigs and touring, and this also keeps them

or repairing instruments.

HEAVY ALCOHOL USE CHANGES ADOLESCENTS’ BRAINS Heavy alcohol use in adolescence alters the development of the brain, according to a recent study. Cortical thinning was observed in young people who had used 6–9 units of alcohol regularly for ten years, roughly once a week. Brain MRI revealed statistically significant differences between heavy drinkers and controls. Among the heavy drinkers, grey matter volume was decreased in the anterior cingulate cortex bilaterally as well as in the right insula. “The maturation of the brain is still ongoing in adolescence, and the frontal areas and the cingulate cortex in particular develop until the twenties. Our findings strongly indicate that heavy alcohol use may disrupt this maturation process,” the authors conclude.

“Some elderly jazz musicians reduce

motivated about their work. Starting a fami-

or stop doing gigs altogether because they

ly often means having to compromise when

don’t have any other choice, while others do

it comes to doing gigs.”

so voluntarily.”

FOR FEMALE MUSICIANS, starting a family

work explains why jazz musicians tolerate

often means putting their career on hold,

insecurity.

According to Hytönen-Ng, a passion for

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TOURISM COULD BOOST RURAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND AND CHINA

MITOCHONDRIAL GENOMES OF CRAYFISH PLAGUE AND EUS DISEASE NOW MAPPED

Tourism is a potential mechanism for rural community development in both Finland and China, according to the doctoral dissertation by Parhad Keyim, MSc. Tourism supports local employment, creates income, helps maintain local services and conserves cultural resources.

In collaboration with international partners, researchers from the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences published the mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA) of crayfish plague and EUS disease pathogens. The published mtDNAs help researchers in the development of disease diagnostics.

Pharmaceutical tablet properties can now be measured non-invasively Terahertz radiation allows for a noninvasive measurement of the amount of active pharmaceutical ingredient and porosity of pharmaceutical tablets. The method constitutes a research breakthrough in the field of pharmacy. APPROXIMATELY 50% of all administered drugs are tablets. A new measurement method developed by Prince Bawuah, MSc, in his doctoral dissertation makes it possible to inspect the quality of individual tablets during production. The method is based on terahertz time-domain techniques. Terahertz radiation has unique properties that allow for a quick and safe identification of pharmaceutical tablet properties. “The objective was to move beyond the current time-consuming, destructive or invasive methods, such as mercury intrusion porosimetry.”

THE STUDY DEVELOPED a novel structural descriptive parameter for pharmaceutical tablets, addressing the orientation of their microscopic structure. The parameter provides information on the pattern of arrangement of the various particulates as well as air pores within a tablet. “The parameter allows for the mechanical strength, elasticity

TRANSLATION STUDENTS’ COMPETENCE DEVELOPS GRADUALLY Even solid bilingual competence is not enough to guarantee that translation students recognise differences between the languages they are working with or take these differences into consideration when producing texts, notes Minna Kumpulainen, PhD, in her doctoral dissertation. Moreover, translation competence develops gradually. Kumpulainen’s dissertation focused on the development of translation competence among students majoring in English language and translation.

IT SERVICE INCIDENTS ARE OFTEN A SUM OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS Preventing IT service incidents is vital, as virtually all functions of modern society depend on IT services. In his doctoral dissertation, Kari Saarelainen, MSc (Techn.), analysed factors contributing to IT service incidents as well as methods of proactive problem management. He developed a new method for identifying the root cause or causes of recurring IT service incidents. In particular, Saarelainen studied the role of human factors in IT service incidents. Device and software configuration errors were among the most common causes of IT service incidents.

and dissolution of pharmaceutical tablets to be determined without having to touch the tablet or destroy it, unlike with conventional testing methods.” The process analytical technology permits the screening of individual pharmaceutical tablets before they reach end users. The findings serve not only the pharmaceutical industry, but also pharmaceutical research.

Follow science news ranging from health to business and chat with us on Twitter! @UniEastFinland #uef

10 UEF BULLETIN 2017


This is a way for consumers to look after the environment and their shopping bills.”

Froodly reduces food waste Froodly is a new app helping people in the Helsinki area to reduce food waste. Via Froodly, anyone can share information about discount food products and food that is about to expire.

UP TO 40% of food produced around the world never gets eaten. “I’ve always cared about food waste,

“Using the mobile app, consumers can share information about discount food products that are about to expire. This is a

wanting to find a solution. Something

way for consumers to look after the envi-

needs to be done, and the food industry

ronment and their shopping bills.”

seems ready for an innovation to solve the problem,” says Shahram Eivazi, PhD, from the UEF School of Computing. He is

Via Froodly, users can share photos of discount food products. “In Froodly, products can be viewed

one of the developers of Froodly, a port-

by location, price, product category or

manteau of “food” and “friendly”.

user preferences,” Eivazi explains.

According to him, it’s a mystery why

For every photo uploaded, users get

in a country as developed as Finland,

green credits that will eventually earn

supermarkets waste an average of 10,000

them green rewards.

euros worth of food every week. “I met Brennan Clark at a start-up

SHAHRAM EIVAZI PhD, researcher

“These green rewards include extra discounts or things like tree planting or

event in Helsinki in 2015. We both wanted

organic box gardens for our environmen-

to solve the food waste problem and we

tal contributors.”

decided to develop a new concept to

credits. Green consumers, on the other

reduce it. This is how Froodly was born to

ALTHOUGH ALMOST all consumers

hand, want to make a difference and

help consumers find discount food prod-

buy food, Froodly focuses on two target

reduce food waste in our society.”

ucts that are about to expire. This way, we

markets in particular: students and green

can make things better for consumers,

consumers.

retailers and the environment alike.”

“Students with less income at their

In autumn 2016, Froodly was acquired by Rhea Solutions. “We’ve watched Rhea’s work up close

disposal look for discount products and

and we truly believe that this is a great

FROODLY MAKES it possible for consum-

are interested in earning extra discounts

fit between the two companies to help

ers to take a whole new approach to food.

through the redemption of their green

reduce food waste.”

UEF BULLETIN 2017 11


Infectious diseases have become more unpredictable."

12 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Global health concerns us all Health threats are no longer somewhere else. From lifestyle diseases to pandemics, they have become global. Solutions are sought from research and cooperation. TEXT ULLA KALTIALA PHOTOS TUIJA HYTTINEN AND RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN

NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, such as car-

“Countries where chronic diseases are now

diovascular diseases, cancers and type 2 diabetes,

on the increase may be able to tackle the problem

already kill more people in low and middle income

much faster, since there are existing models to

countries than in the wealthier countries these dis-

implement and more health awareness,” Kauhanen

eases used to be associated with. “They are experi-

says.

encing the same transition from infectious diseases

According to Kauhanen, the world has taken

to chronic lifestyle diseases as countries that de-

small steps towards global health equity in terms

veloped earlier,” says Jussi Kauhanen, Professor of

of child deaths and life expectancy, but inequities

Public Health at the UEF Institute of Public Health

persist between and within countries. “If you live

and Clinical Nutrition.

long enough to get cancer, your access to care and

Faced with the world’s highest cardiovascular

prognosis depend on which part of the world you

mortality in the past, Finland has succeeded in

live in. In addition, socioeconomic status is a strong

reducing deaths from coronary heart disease among

determinant of health, even in wealthier countries

working-age adults by 80% in 40 years. A turning

like Finland.”

point was a comprehensive community-based intervention programme, the North Karelia project, which was launched in the 1970s. UEF’s Kuopio Campus has since been home to many other successful interventions attracting global interest.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 13


Graduates from UEF's International Master's Degree Programme in Public Health led by Jussi Kauhanen are putting their expertise to use around the world.

One positive global development

New alternatives to conventional antibiotics are needed."

POSITIVE SIGNALS

14 UEF BULLETIN 2017

However, infectious diseases have

is the decline in the number of deaths

become more unpredictable. “During the

from infectious diseases. “The HIV epi-

second half of the nineteenth century, it

demic has been a tragic exception to this

looked like a pandemic could erupt every

trend, but in recent years there has been

ten years. In this century, we have seen

a reduction in both AIDS deaths and

pandemic threats or outbreaks much

tuberculosis deaths linked to HIV.”

more often, from swine flu and avian

1 2 53% FEWER CHILD DEATHS

LONGER LIVES

The global under-five mortality rate dropped 53 per cent between 1990 and 2015. The rate is still highest in sub-Saharan Africa, but progress has been especially rapid in many countries in the area.

In 1955, the average global life expectancy at birth was just 48 years, in 1995 it was 65 years, and in 2025 it is expected to reach 73 years.


Systematic violence targeted at health care providers is a new and worrying phenomenon."

flu to SARS, MERS, Ebola and the Zika

the bombings of hospitals in Aleppo,”

virus.”

Kauhanen says.

“The fact that people travel a lot

He points out that in addition to the

makes it easier than ever for viruses to

immediate victims of war, many more are

spread from one corner of the world to

traumatised by the war. “It’s difficult to

another. The lesson the world has learnt is

predict how it will affect children’s lives

that global monitoring, preparedness and

and mental health, in particular.”

cooperation are vital.” Climate change may also spread

One of the researchers on the Syria project, Dr Mikko Häkkinen, previously

diseases like malaria to new areas. In

carried out research for his doctoral thesis

addition, extreme weather threatens the

among Palestinians living in conflict are-

availability of clean air, drinking water,

as. Instead of their psychological distress,

food and shelter. “While we were enjoying

he focused on their coping mechanisms.

a record warm summer in Finland in

Such knowledge can be used in planning

2010, Pakistan suffered disastrous floods

psychosocial support measures in conflict

affecting millions of people, both likely

areas.

caused by climate change. We need to

Some of the research projects the

be prepared for more climate-related

institute is involved in approach another

catastrophes in the future.”

pressing global threat – antibiotic resist-

Health in humanitarian crises is a

ance – by looking into the antimicrobial

popular topic among students of public

properties of traditional remedies. For

health and a growing research area at the

example, honey has traditionally been

institute. An ongoing research project fo-

used to treat infections, and these studies

cuses on health professionals’ experiences

have shown that some Finnish honey has

in the Syrian War. “Our researchers have

antimicrobial activity against a variety of

travelled to the Syrian border to interview

pathogenic bacteria, notably streptococcus

doctors who have continued to work in

pneumoniae, a bacterium causing pneumo-

war-torn Aleppo, and we will extend the

nia and meningitis, among other things.

interviews to Syrian health care professionals seeking asylum in Europe.” “Systematic violence targeted at

“The spreading of bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics calls for a stricter control of antibiotic use, but new

health care providers is a new and

alternatives to conventional antibiotics

worrying phenomenon, exemplified by

are also needed.”

FINNISH SUCCESS STORIES Finland has long been top of the class when it comes to implementing proven measures to prevent chronic diseases. “Starting from the North Karelia project, pioneering research interventions have led to national action,” says Tiina Laatikainen, Professor of Health Promotion at the UEF Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition. “For example, the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study showed that type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle interventions and was followed by national programmes. Lifestyle changes were found to be effective in the prevention of cognitive decline as well in the recent FINGER study, and the findings are already being implemented. We also have the first comprehensive allergy programme in the world, which is based on research and is bringing about a shift from allergen avoidance to strengthening tolerance.” Finland introduced the world’s first comprehensive tobacco law in 1976. It has been revised several times, alongside with education and careful timing to make changes more acceptable to the general public. Today, only 15% of Finnish adults smoke daily. Prevention is an integral part of Finnish health care legislation. Laatikainen adds that Finland has also been active in advocating and implementing a Health in all Policies approach, which means that health implications are taken into account in all decision-making, not just in the health sector. “One important aspect are lunches at day care centres, schools and workplaces. They adhere quite well to national nutrition recommendations, and many employers subsidise their employees’ lunch.”

3 45 TOP-LEVEL COMMITMENT MOSTLY AND SHARED GOALS PREVENTABLE

MOBILE HEALTH FOR ALL?

An unprecedented UN summit was held in 2011 to tackle non-communicable diseases, followed by the WHO Global NCD Action Plan, providing policy options for member states. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005 was the first global public health treaty, through which countries committed to legislative measures.

Even in low and middle income countries, most people have a mobile phone or access to one. Mobile health services and health promotion can be especially useful to people with limited access to conventional services.

Most premature deaths from non-communicable diseases could be prevented. The WHO’s global action plan aims at a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 15


Climate change challenges reindeer husbandry

The future of reindeer herding is overshadowed by concerns of over-grazing and continuity. TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTOS SOILI JUSSILA, LEHTIKUVA AND VARPU HEISKANEN

LICHEN DAMAGE caused by reindeer was

2016. However, another and more likely

a much-discussed topic in Finnish Fell

possible culprit could be the exceptionally

by the border on the Norwegian side are

Lapland in autumn 2016. Shortly after,

warm summer.

winter pastures, with reindeer grazing

“A simple explanation is that the areas

an international study concluded that

“The Yamal Peninsula suffered a

extreme weather conditions constitute

major anthrax epidemic in the 1940s, and

there only in late winter.”

a threat to the reindeer herding culture

dead animals were buried deep in the

the other hand, the lichen areas are sum-

of the Nenets people living in the Yamal

permafrost. Due to last summer’s excep-

mer pastures, resulting in lichen trampling

Peninsula in Siberia.

tional warmth, the active soil layer melted

and lower coverage. According to Kumpula,

“Reindeer herding cultures have

deeper than before, and it is suspected

pasture rotation could be one solution.

been able to adapt to climatic, social and

that this melting caused the release of

economic changes. Despite the challenges,

anthrax pathogens.”

On the Finnish side of the border, on

“In some districts, reindeer herders practise pasture rotation, keeping winter and summer pastures separate. This pre-

I believe there is a future for reindeer herding,” says Associate Professor Timo

WHAT DOES THE DISCUSSION on rein-

vents reindeer from trampling on fragile

Kumpula.

deer over-grazing in Finland focus on?

lichen in the summer.”

For several years, he’s been a mem-

Several studies have established that the

In Finland, however, the system of sev-

ber of an international research group

amount of lichen is considerably smaller

eral reindeer owners’ associations makes

studying the reindeer herding culture of

in the northernmost parts of Finland than

pasture rotation difficult: there are 54 sep-

the Yamal-Nenets people. Kumpula has

across the border in Norway. There is a

arate owners’ associations, each of them an

also carried out extensive research into

reindeer fence on the Finnish-Norwegian

independent regional administrative unit.

reindeer herding issues in Finland.

border, preventing reindeer from moving

For these associations, increasing pasture

between the two countries.

rotation would mean an increased amount

“For a geographer, reindeer pastures constitute an interesting topic of research.

of work and costs, as reindeer would have

We can look at reindeer pastures from the

to be more intensively herded from one

viewpoint of lichen and draw conclu-

pasture to the next. “Practices vary between associations.

sions based on that. However, reindeer

Some of them gather their reindeer inside

husbandry is a socio-ecological system, and this makes over-grazing a difficult question, for example.” Possible over-grazing by reindeer has been a topic of discussion in Finland and the Yamal Peninsula alike. It has been speculated that overly large reindeer flocks caused the outbreak of an anthrax epidemic in the Yamal Peninsula in spring

16 UEF BULLETIN 2017

Climate change moves the boundary of unsettled weather conditions increasingly eastwards.”

fences for the winter and feed them there. However, there are also associations that let their reindeer graze freely, without any additional food.” Another thing that has been totally missed in the recent over-grazing discussion is the impact of other land use on lichen pastures.


“Most herding districts have suf-

culture of the Nenets people in the

fered from heavy forestry, and old forests

Yamal Peninsula in particular. In winter

with arboreal lichens have disappeared.

2013–2014, exceptionally large areas used

Arboreal lichen growing on old trees has

for reindeer pasturing froze after heavy

constituted very important winter fodder

rain, resulting in the death of more than

for reindeer. Now that it’s gone, supple-

60,000 reindeer.

mentary feeding is of course needed, and

The pasture areas froze because of

there is greater pressure on remaining

exceptionally low ice coverage in the

ground lichen pastures.”

Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, and that brought humid air masses to land and

LICHEN is only one indicator used in analysing the condition of pastures.

caused rain on snow. “If the sea remains open longer

Preliminary research findings suggest

and more often, these kinds of climatic

that reindeer also play a significant role

phenomena will become increasingly fre-

in preventing the growth of shrubs in fell

quent. Pasture freezing is more common

areas.

towards the west, but climate change is

Kumpula and researcher Teemu

moving the boundary of unsettled weath-

Tahvanainen have studied the effects of

er conditions increasingly eastwards,”

reindeer pasturage on ground vegeta-

Kumpula says.

tion in the operating area of the Näkkälä

“Reindeer herding cultures have been able to adapt to climatic, social and economic changes.” TIMO KUMPULA Associate Professor

In Fennoscandia, pasture freezing is

reindeer owners’ association in Enontekiö,

not that significant a problem for reindeer

Finnish Lapland. In the early 2000s, 15

herding, as there is a possibility to provide

the traditional livelihood may lose its ap-

experimental fences were set up, and the

reindeer with additional food.

peal among the younger generations.

preliminary findings suggest that reindeer help in keeping fell vegetation at bay. “In the experimental areas, willows

“In the Yamal Peninsula, howev-

“So far, the younger generations have

er, providing additional food is not a

wanted to continue reindeer herding and

possibility, as the area doesn’t have fields

living on the tundra.”

have started to gain length. In Norway,

or an extensive road infrastructure. If

The study on the effects of pasture

shrub vegetation was higher in the fell

widespread pasture freezing becomes

freezing on reindeer husbandry in the

areas, possibly contributing to the fact

common in the Yamal Peninsula, making

Yamal Peninsula was published in Biology

that snow melts away sooner there. This,

additional food available to reindeer could

Letters in November 2016. The study

in turn, affects global warming.”

be a solution for preventing large-scale

constituted part of a series of studies led

reindeer deaths.”

by the Arctic Centre of the University of

GLOBAL WARMING constitutes a challenge for the traditional reindeer herding

However, if reindeer herders continue to struggle with climate-related problems,

Lapland, with the University of Eastern Finland participating in them.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 17


Increasingly accurate groundwater reserve estimates It is estimated that in 2050, 25% of the world’s population will be living in areas affected by a lack of drinking water. TEXT MARIANNE MUSTONEN ILLUSTRATION TIMO LÄHIVAARA AND JARI KAIPIO

TRADITIONALLY, groundwater reserves

“Groundwater is stored in porous

are explored by drilling a set of wells – a

aquifers, and the propagation of seismic

method that is often prohibitively expen-

waves depends on unknown aquifer prop-

sive and difficult to implement in devel-

erties such as density and porosity. This

of euros had to be slaughtered in New

oping countries. An alternative method for

data can be used to estimate groundwater

Zealand because the authorities couldn’t

estimating water reserves is based on data

reserves, among other things,” says Senior

be sure about the sufficiency of water.

obtained from seismic waves.

Researcher Timo Lähivaara.

Researchers from the University of

drinking water for animals, and only lastly as irrigation water,” Kaipio says. In 2013, dairy cattle worth millions

“By using the methods we are

However, using this method to esti-

studying now, it is possible to carry out

Eastern Finland took part in a survey

mate the cubic capacity of groundwater

measurements above ground by using

carried out by the Geological Survey of

reserves is a major computational problem.

inexpensive seismometers, which are

Finland, the University of Turku and the

“The significance of uncertainty

acceleration sensors,” Kaipio says.

University of Uppsala, seeking to analyse

modelling hasn’t been fully acknowledged

the groundwater area in Virttaankangas,

until recently,” says Professor Jari Kaipio

UNCERTAINTY MODELLING is also being

Finland, with the help of seismic sound-

from the Department of Applied Physics.

carried out at the university in the remote

ings. In the soundings, a drop hammer

He spends most of his time working in

sensing of forests, medical imaging and

was used as a seismic source, and the

New Zealand.

climate change modelling, for example.

THERE IS PLENTY OF WATER in Finland,

research can also find applications in the

but elsewhere in the world, the sufficien-

analysis of bone and cartilage porosity,”

cy of water is a major issue.

Lähivaara says.

seismic waves generated were captured by a network of accelerometers.

THE DATA from the soundings is being analysed at the Department of Applied

“I believe that in the future this line of

“In New Zealand, for example, the

Physics. The objective is to estimate

use of groundwater is strictly controlled.

groundwater reserves with the help of

When the usage of groundwater is de-

computational models that are modern

termined, it is first authorised to be used

and accurate, but still somewhat heavy

by humans. If the reserve is sufficiently

to use.

large, it can be authorised to be used as

18 UEF BULLETIN 2017

WATCH THE RELATED VIDEO!


Towards the fourth reality of science Founded in December 2016, Sm4rtLab brings augmented reality to photonics studies at the University of Eastern Finland. Sm4rtLab is one of its kind in the world, and a joint effort between the university’s Department of Physics and Mathematics, IT Services, and University Properties of Finland Ltd. TEXT MARIANNE MUSTONEN PHOTO VARPU HEISKANEN

“THE PROJECT is rooted in the idea of

For instance, it is easier to illustrate a

ated laboratories in the world, but we are

how to create learning environments and

three-dimensional crystal structure when

now presenting the first virtual laboratory

how to provide support for research in a

the object floats in the air and can be

that looks like our real laboratories.”

completely new way,” says Juha Eskelin-

twisted and turned by hand.

en, the university’s CIO.

The opportunities provided by a virtual laboratory are endless. In the future,

“We want to be involved in the cre-

FOR SCIENTISTS, TOO, Sm4rtLab opens

it could be used in research dealing with

ation of a novel teaching and learning cul-

up completely new avenues for research.

hazardous and radioactive substances, to

ture that makes use of the latest technol-

According to Vahimaa, scientific research

dismantle a bomb, or in space exploration.

ogies and augmented reality.” Sm4rtLab

is traditionally divided into theoretical

can be used for teaching and research

and experimental research.

from anywhere in the world. The first step in the project was the creation of a virtual laboratory. “Our real optics laboratory can now

“Now we are witnessing something that

“The technology for doing this already exists. However, we aren’t quite there yet to make this part our day-to-day teaching.

dissolves these boundaries. In this new way

Our project ends at the turn of the year,

of doing things, modelling looks realistic,

and that’s when we make Sm4rtLab avail-

and the physical measurements in the

able to others, too,” Vahimaa says.

be controlled remotely from a personal

background can come from a real or a sim-

computer. Another alternative is to wear a

ulated device. For example, we can create

the automatic collection and analysis of

Microsoft HoloLens headset to experience

models of physical phenomena, and these

data by using an IoT cloud environment.

augmented reality. Using them, you can

models are in line with reality,” he says.

We are also expanding this concept to

have a laboratory in the middle of your classroom, for example,” says Professor of

“We want the laboratory equipment to look real. There are several remotely oper-

“In the future, we will be investing in

other laboratories and institutions of higher education,” Eskelinen says.

Photonics Pasi Vahimaa from the Department of Physics and Mathematics. According to him, the same technology can be used in any laboratory, such as in the fields of chemistry or health sciences. “We are talking about an application of the Internet of Things (IoT), so we only need devices that can be connected to the internet.”

IN THE FUTURE, Sm4rtLab will be used as a learning environment for the university’s own students, but secondary schools could also benefit from it. “Pieces of real laboratory equipment cost thousands of euros, but by using Sm4rtLab, schools could save on costs and make their photonics teaching affordable and available to everyone. We are dealing with a completely new way of teaching,” Vahimaa says.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 19


What’s going on in leukaemic cells? Cell regulatory networks may offer new targets for the treatment of acute childhood leukaemia. TEXT ULLA KALTIALA PHOTOS TUIJA HYTTINEN

OVER THE LAST FEW DECADES, survival rates

genetic mutations linked to leukaemia are already

from acute childhood leukaemia have increased

known, but there is a lot of diversity between

considerably, thanks to improved treatments.

patients, and even in a single patient, some cancer

Today, as many as 85 per cent of patients survive.

cells may carry different mutations than others.

However, some types of leukaemia respond poorly to treatment, and one in five patients relapse. According to Academy Researcher Merja

Researchers have become increasingly aware that it’s not only the mutations in the coding DNA that matter in leukaemia. “Changes in DNA

Heinäniemi, more tailored treatments are needed.

regulatory elements and transcription play a role

At the moment, all children with acute leukae-

too. Cancer cells are a dysfunctional system, so

mia undergo intensive cytostatic therapy. The

it makes sense to take a look at their regulatory

aim is to rid the body of leukaemic cells, but the

networks,” Heinäniemi says.

treatment is toxic to healthy cells as well and can

Transcription is the first step in gene expres-

cause serious side effects, even secondary cancers

sion. Regulatory elements are non-coding regions

later in life. “Thus, it is important to develop less

of the DNA that regulate the transcription of the

aggressive treatments for lower-risk leukaemia

coding regions.

subtypes.” On the other hand, patient groups with poor

“Mutations in regulatory elements or changes in their activity might explain some previously

prognosis, such as infants with leukaemia, need

unexplained leukaemia cases. It’s also interesting

new and more effective therapies suited to their

to find out if there are differences in the activity of

specific types of disease.

regulatory elements between the presently known

This calls for more detailed knowledge of the disease mechanisms. Like cancers in general,

subtypes of leukaemia.” To analyse the regulatory networks in leukae-

acute childhood leukaemia is caused by genetic

mic cells, Heinäniemi, who leads a research group

alterations, as well as epigenetic changes affect-

at the UEF Institute of Biomedicine, has taken

ing gene activity and expression. The first genetic

up deep sequencing methods like global run-on

changes predisposing to leukaemia often occur

sequencing, or GRO-seq, that yields a detailed

before birth, but cancer only develops in the

and dynamic overview of transcription in the

presence of additional harmful alterations. Many

cells. Such an approach has never been applied

20 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Damage-causing enzymes get a chance to attack the 'unzipped' DNA.”

in leukaemia research before. With expertise in

The genetic changes in acute childhood leu-

systems genomics, bioinformatics and machine

kaemia often involve fusions or deletions of tran-

learning methods, her team can pinpoint the rel-

scription factors that regulate blood cell develop-

evant changes from the vast amounts of resulting

ment and differentiation. The most common is the

information.

ETV6-RUNX1 fusion gene, which is carried by one

Using patient samples and cell lines, together

in four patients. It was identified two decades ago,

with Docent Olli Lohi’s team at the University

but its exact genomic targets haven’t been known

of Tampere, they recently found that up to 90

until recently. A comprehensive genome-wide

per cent of recurrent DNA lesions in the most common childhood leukaemia can be explained by disturbances in blood cell gene transcription. They showed for the first time that these damages occur in regions where the DNA is being transcribed particularly actively, and where the transcription process slows down locally. In this situation, damage-causing enzymes get a chance to attack the DNA that is “unzipped” from its two-stranded form for transcription and is thus more vulnerable to damage. As more research data on such mechanisms accumulates, future therapies could possibly dampen their activity, reducing genetic instability and thus leading to better treatment results and a smaller risk of relapse. In the same study, the researchers identified a new subtype of high-risk leukaemia, characterised

ACUTE CHILDHOOD LEUKAEMIA Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer. Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood cells and it begins in the bone marrow where blood cells are produced. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) is the most common form of leukaemia in children, and most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Patients are divided into standard, intermediate and high risk groups. For all, cytostatics are the main treatment.

by an altered expression of enzymes that cause DNA damage.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 21


“Cancer cells are a dysfunctional system, so it makes sense to take a look at their regulatory networks,” Merja Heinäniemi says.

“In our future research, we intend

It’s vital to share expertise and to narrow the gap between researchers and clinicians.”

genomics, disease models, bioinformatics

to focus even more on cell-cell interac-

and engineering. By joining forces and

tions. A variety of cell types coexist and

genome-wide materials, the collaboration

communicate in the bone marrow. Their

has aimed at introducing new methodolo-

interaction might offer a clue as to why

gy and approaches for profiling leukaemia

some leukaemic cells may persist in

subtypes on a molecular level to research-

the bone marrow after treatment,” says

ers with different backgrounds, and at

Heinäniemi, who was recently awarded a

recognising new drug targets for different

Jubilee Grant for this line of research by

subgroups.

the Väre Foundation. She became intrigued by the com-

“It’s vital to share expertise and to narrow the gap between researchers and

plexity of leukaemia as early as her high

clinicians, so that research findings can

school years, when she volunteered on a

actually be put to use in the treatment of

children’s cancer ward. Now her research

patients,” Heinäniemi says.

choices and experience have taken her to

She is confident that whole-ge-

mapping carried out by Heinäniemi’s and

a point where it may actually be possible

nome-sequencing, for example, will

Lohi’s groups showed that the fusion gene

to pave the way for new treatments. The

become a standard diagnostic tool in

altered the expression of approximately

importance of her approach shows in the

acute childhood leukaemia in the future,

two hundred genes and the activity of

significant funding she has received. She

allowing us to choose the most suitable

previously unknown regulatory elements,

also has a tenure in bioinformatics at UEF.

treatment. At the moment, only the most

the so-called enhancers. One impact of the repressive effect

Alongside research, an important recent project has been the interdisciplinary

common mutations are tested. Her research group takes part in

of the fusion gene on enhancers was the

Nordic leukaemia workshops supported

identifying new drug candidates as well.

down-regulation of genes participating in

by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The

“Both new and repurposed drugs could

cellular signalling and adhesion, which

funding has enabled Heinäniemi and

offer treatment alternatives. We are also

may indicate an altered interaction of

Lohi to bring clinicians together with

developing a tool to support drug discov-

leukaemic cells with their environment.

researchers representing expertise in

ery and treatment planning.”

22 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Grasshoppers hopping on your plate The growing interest in edible insect farming is becoming visible in Finland. In Africa, insects are vital for the ever-growing population. Already now, edible grasshoppers can be grown in laboratories. TEXT MARIANNE MUSTONEN PHOTO ANU VALTONEN AND VILMA LEHTOVAARA

AN ACADEMY OF FINLAND PROJECT addressing edible

grasshopper weighs around one gram, with 400 milligrams of

insects was launched at the Department of Environmental

beneficial fatty acids.”

and Biological Sciences long before the current insect eating

THE FOUR-YEAR RESEARCH PROJECT is now at a phase of

trend in Finland was born. “This is a project inspired by FAO and it has been mar-

intensive research in newly renovated laboratory facilities.

keted for around a decade. Mathematicians have calculated

Makerere University Kampala, the project’s local partner in

that with the current population development, there won’t be

Uganda, has made its roomy facilities available to research-

enough food, and especially proteins and fats, for everyone

ers free of charge.

in Africa. This is why it is important to find new ways to produce food,” says Professor Heikki Roininen. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland are

Already now, there has been success in farming edible grasshoppers in laboratory conditions. “We are trying to find a food that is affordable and

working in Uganda and focusing on Ruspolia differens, an

suitable for edible grasshoppers. At the moment, they are

edible grasshopper known locally as nsenene. Postdoctoral

eating pellets intended for reindeer, which is one of the most

Researcher Anu Valtonen points out that insect eating has

cost-effective alternatives,” Valtonen says.

a long tradition in Africa, and edible insects are also highly valued: edible grasshoppers can be more expensive that tra-

Early Stage Researcher Vilma Lehtovaara, on the other hand, is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on optimal grasshopper farming

ditionally produced meat.

conditions. She says that it is

“A jar of grasshoppers can cost 2.5 euros – which is a lot

possible to start a grasshopper

considering that the aver-

farm in any clean place, for

age daily income in Uganda

example in the corner of one’s

is less than three euros. In other words, edible insects are gourmet food and there are no problems in marketing them.”

GRASSHOPPERS SWARM by

For many people living in Uganda, grasshopper farming could be an ecologically sustainable livelihood.”

living room. In Uganda, grasshoppers have such natural enemies as ants, termites, rats and lizards. “For many people living in Uganda, grasshopper farming could be an ecologically sus-

night and only two months of the year: May and November. That’s when they can be lured

tainable livelihood, reducing the need for cattle farming. Here

by bright light traps into barrels, and the harvest can amount

in Finland, insect farming is an environmentally friendly thing

to several hundred kilos per night.

to do, but in many developing countries suffering from malnu-

“Our project seeks to find ways for grasshopper rearing

trition, it is essential for survival,” the researchers say.

on local farms,” Roininen explains. According to him, the natural habitats of grasshoppers are shrinking at an alarming speed and the modern harvesting methods are already too effective. “This is why there is an urgent need to develop grass-

EU LEGISLATION currently prohibits commercial farming of edible insects, but insect farming for personal use is allowed. “However, there are companies and even factories in Europe that make products containing edible insects. For

hopper farming. For people living in Africa, grasshoppers

example, crackers made with 10% insect flour have been

are an important food – a health bomb if you will. They have

tested on the markets. I believe that in 10-15 years’ time,

all the essential amino acids, and up to 60% of their weight

there will be large factories in Europe producing insects for

is fat, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to be precise. One

food,” Roininen says.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 23


Desperate need for new retinal disease treatments Therapeutic injections revolutionised the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, and even better treatments await just around the corner. TEXT ULLA KALTIALA ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOS ELLA TASKINEN, RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN AND ELINA RAUKKO, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION, AMD, is the most common cause of visual impairment in the Western world. The disease is known in two forms: wet and dry AMD. Some 80 per cent of patients suffer from the dry form of AMD, for which no treatment currently exists. However, the more rapidly progressing wet form of AMD can nowadays be slowed down by regularly administered vitreous injections. “Injection therapy revolutionised the treatment of AMD, but it is only a temporary solution. These injections need to be administered every couple of weeks for years or even for the rest of a patient’s life, and this is very onerous for both patients and care providers. In this respect, better treatments are under way,” says Kai Kaarniranta, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Eastern Finland and Chief Physician of Kuopio University Hospital’s Ophthalmology Clinic.

NEW TREATMENT avenues are on the horizon, thanks to a ground-breaking discovery by Kaarniranta’s research group. His team noticed that AMD is associated with impaired lysosomal autophagy, which is an important cleaning mechanism of the fundus of the eye. Cells lose their ability to remove aged, deformed or

24 UEF BULLETIN 2017


otherwise faulty proteins, leading to pro-

the eye could prove to be a better-tolerat-

tein accumulation and, eventually, visual

ed alternative,” Urtti says.

impairment. “We are interested in finding drug

Urtti’s group has developed a method in which polymer and lipid particles are

therapies capable of maintaining auto-

injected into the eye to form a gel-like

phagy. We assume that this could prevent

implant. Currently, the method is being

the development of both dry and wet

further developed by a pharmaceutical

AMD. Of course, this is just one mecha-

company in Japan.

nism in a very complex disease, but we

Injections would not necessarily be

have already observed that maintaining

needed at all if an alternative method

autophagy also alleviates AMD-related

for delivering the drug to the retina was

inflammation.”

discovered.

An important partner in the quest

“We are currently studying structures

to find new drug therapies is Arto Urtti,

that bind to the retinal pigment epitheli-

Professor of Biopharmacy at the Univer-

um, allowing the drug to reach its target.

sity of Eastern Finland and the University

These kinds of drugs could be adminis-

of Helsinki, whose research group is look-

tered as eye drops or oral tablets.”

“Injection therapy revolutionised the treatment of AMD, but it is only a temporary solution.” KAI KAARNIRANTA Professor

ing for new drugs and retinal administration methods by using nano and polymer

ONGOING RESEARCH may result in new

technology, among other things.

treatments not only for age-related macular degeneration, but also for other retinal

RETINAL DISEASES are difficult to treat

diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and

because the eye’s protective structures

retinal damages caused by glaucoma.

prevent drugs administered as eye drops

Drug development is supported by a

from reaching the retina. Moreover, not all

virtual eye, which can be used to model

drugs can be administered by injections.

the administration and passage of drugs

“Most drugs get removed from the

in the eye, as well as drug concentrations

eye too quickly for them to have a proper

achieved by using different dosages. The

therapeutic effect,” Urtti says.

virtual eye is being created on the basis

To solve this issue, his research group

of experimental research; however, it will

has been developing a web-like polymer

reduce the need for animal testing in the

that releases the drug slowly in the eye,

future.

providing a therapeutic effect that lasts several months. In addition, injectable eye implants

“The virtual eye we are working on now can be used to model the passage of drugs in the eye both when administered

are also available on the market, releasing

as a vitreous injection and when taken

the drug in the eye over a longer period

orally. In due course, the idea is to supple-

of time.

ment the model by other administration

“These injectable implants haven’t really taken off, but implants formed within

channels and also to include the cellular

“Most drugs get removed from the eye too quickly for them to have a proper therapeutic effect.” ARTO URTTI Professor

effects of different drugs.”

GROUND-BREAKING RESEARCH IN OCULAR DISEASES AND TARGETED DRUG DELIVERY Research into targeted drug delivery in the context of ocular diseases is one of the emerging research areas of the University of Eastern Finland. Unique even by international standards, this research has also caught the eye of funders and pharmaceutical companies. Led by Urtti and Kaarniranta, the research area is a combination of medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, materials research and modelling, and it seeks to respond to a global challenge: the number of people suffering from retinal diseases is growing in tandem with the ageing population, but no efficient treatments exist. The number of patients is estimated to reach 300 million by 2030, and several pharmaceutical companies around

the world have selected ocular diseases as their strategic focus area. Recent discoveries in research, nextgeneration disease models, technological advances, collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and significant levels of research funding enable scientific breakthroughs in the treatment of retinal diseases. A project led by Kaarniranta and funded by the Academy of Finland uses stem cells isolated from AMD patients to create a model of the retinal pigment epithelium, allowing for an increasingly detailed analysis of the pathogenesis and treatment of the disease. Furthermore, the Ophthalmology Clinic at Kuopio University Hospital is constantly carrying out clinical trials on new drugs in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies.

Ocuther, an EU project led by Urtti, on the other hand, trains next-generation ocular drug researchers. In addition to universities, the partners include companies capable of turning research discoveries into treatments to benefit patients. Urtti is also the leader of the first Finnish project ever to secure funding from the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA. The methods developed in the project speed up the product development of drugs administered on the surface of the eye in particular, as well as authorities’ review practices relating to new drugs. For patients, this means that more affordable generic drugs will also find their way to the markets faster.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 25


New antibiotics might just weaken bacteria

Carlos Moreno-Cinos acquired experience in computer-aided drug design at UEF.

26 UEF BULLETIN 2017


If we can’t kill bacteria, weakening them may be an option. Researchers seek to tackle the global threat of antibiotic resistance with a new approach to antibacterial drugs. TEXT ULLA KALTIALA PHOTOS RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN

THE PRICE the world is paying for decades

to optimise their structure and to screen for

of liberal use – and misuse – of antibiotics

new molecules,” says Moreno-Cinos, sum-

is that a growing number of bacteria are

ming up the benefits.

now resistant to antibiotics. Gram-negative

“Hit compounds – molecules that actu-

bacteria, which protect themselves with a

ally affect the target – are more likely to be

double membrane, are especially prone to

found with the help of virtual drug design,”

becoming resistant. In addition, by targeting

adds Early Stage Researcher Prasanthi

vital processes in the bacterial cell, conven-

Medarametla.

tional antibiotics themselves put pressure

Medarametla works in Kuopio within

on bacteria to mutate and develop resistant

the work package of computer-aided drug

strains.

design, hit finding and optimisation led by

An alternative approach is to weaken the bacteria instead of trying to kill them.

Professor Poso. Her research evolves around LsrK kinase, an enzyme critical for bacteri-

This could give the

al communication and

host immune system a

thus an attractive target

better chance to fight the

for new anti-virulence

infection – or boost the

drugs. She has built a

impact of conventional antibiotics as a synergistic treatment, according to researchers in the INTEGRATE consortium. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme, INTEGRATE

Hit compounds are more likely to be found with the help of virtual drug design.”

is a multidisciplinary

virtual model of the kinase and is now testing selected molecules against it. “During my secondments in partner institutions I will learn to synthesise molecules in the lab and carry out biological assays. This

Marie Curie Educational Training Network

will enable me to better evaluate the feasi-

aiming to develop new types of drugs against

bility of virtual molecules in real life.”

Gram-negative bacteria. The project involves

“It’s much easier to collaborate with

ten partners from academia and industry

different research groups once you have

hosting eleven early stage researchers.

hands-on experience of what they do,”

Escherichia Coli or E. Coli is one bacterium of interest in the project. It’s a

Moreno-Cinos says. Indeed, a central goal of the project is

normal part of gut flora, but some strains

to expose the early stage researchers to

cause infections varying from urinary tract

all aspects of the antimicrobial discovery

infections to pneumonia and sepsis. “Our

process. “Such expertise is valuable within

aim is to decrease the fitness of Gram-nega-

the pharmaceutical industry and hard to get

tive bacteria by inhibiting the ClpP protease,

otherwise.”

the function of which is directly related to their virulence. The structure of ClpP in E. Coli is well known, making it a good starting point,” says Early Stage Researcher Carlos Moreno-Cinos. His job is to design, synthesise and characterise new molecules that can modulate ClpP. His PhD position is in the Medicinal Chemistry Group led by Professor Koen Augustyns at the University of Antwerp, but he came to UEF’s Kuopio Campus for a secondment in computer-aided drug design, supervised by Professor Antti Poso. “Computer modelling helps to predict the interaction of the molecules with the target,

PRASANTHI MEDARAMETLA Early Stage Researcher

“SUPERBUGS” ARE A GLOBAL HEALTH THREAT The spreading of antibioticresistant bacteria is one of the biggest threats to global health. Bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. Resistance occurs when bacteria change in the presence of antibiotics. As a result, antibiotics become ineffective and infections persist. All antibiotics cause resistance, so new antibacterial agents are needed constantly. However, in the past few decades, their development has been lacking. Some other factors accelerating the antibiotic resistance crisis include overuse of antibiotics in medicine and farming; patients using nonprescribed antibiotics or not finishing their antibiotic treatment; and poor infection control in hospitals. Resistant bacteria can circulate in human and animal populations, as well as through food, water and the environment. Antibiotic resistance threatens the treatment of many infectious diseases, like urinary tract infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis and blood-stream infections, as well as the safety of cancer treatments and surgical operations. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality. Sources: WHO, European Medicines Agency

UEF BULLETIN 2017 27


Many sides of Vyborg A new study provides fresh insight into the formation of Vyborg’s urban space from the Middle Ages to the present. It also reveals how differently Finns and Russians view the city. TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTOS KIMMO KATAJALA, VARPU HEISKANEN

THE CITY OF VYBORG has left its imprint

Karelian people living in the area before

people and things. From the viewpoint of

on Finnish popular culture. Clichéd

the time Vyborg Castle was established.

research, it is interesting to see how histo-

images of the city, which was ceded to the

Peter the Great had already once before

ry gets simplified in people’s memories,”

Soviet Union after the Continuation War,

returned the city from Sweden to the

Katajala says.

dominate the collective memory of Finns.

Russians in the Great Northern War in

These memories were entrapped in the

the 1700s.

few weeks of summer heat in 1939, before the start of the Winter War. “Finns remember Vyborg by its castle,

Tourists, too, learnt different versions of the city’s history. To Finns, it was presented as a Finnish city, and to Russians

HISTORIANS HAVE LONG KNOWN the details of Vyborg’s history and how the city developed. “However, these haven’t been de-

the Round Tower and Mon Repos park.

as a Medieval European one. Indeed,

scribed from the viewpoint of urban his-

For people with roots in Vyborg, places

the mystique of the Middle Ages attracts

tory research before. In addition, there are

previously belonging to their families are

Russian tourists to the city, which started

some errors in earlier research relating to

also important,” says Professor Kimmo

to develop in the 1200s around the newly

the city’s formation,” Katajala says.

Katajala.

built castle.

Together with his research group,

“The relationship of Finns to Vyborg

Katajala’s research has uncovered new things about the city’s development,

Katajala has studied the history of

is emotionally very strong, but historically

including details relating to the estab-

Vyborg’s urban space in an Academy of

pale. Human memory doesn’t work chron-

lishment of the town hall square and how

Finland-funded project focusing on the

ologically; instead, it is attached to places,

fires have shaped the city’s current urban

formation of the city’s urban space, both

space.

as a historical process and through inten-

Factors that significantly shape the

tionally produced meanings.

structure and appearance of cities are

“Finns and Russians have explained

among the key issues analysed in urban

the history of Vyborg very differently,

history research around the world. Now

from their own perspectives. For instance,

Vyborg’s urban space and its development

Soviet newspapers in the 1940s published articles about how the city was Russian, even though it didn’t look like it.” Russians who moved to the city were told that the Soviet Union had returned to Russia a city that was situated in a place conquered by Swedes from Russian or

28 UEF BULLETIN 2017

The relationship of Finns with Vyborg is emotionally very strong, but historically pale.”

have been analysed from this perspective, all the way from the Middle Ages to the present.


The castle, originally built during the Swedish period, has become perhaps the most important symbol of the town.

The Round Tower, originally a bastion, stands in the middle of the present market square.

Ulitsa Vodno Zastavyi is one of the most photographed views in Vyborg. The Old Clock Tower at the end of the street has become one of the symbols of the town.

A coat of arms on a wall of a house.

View over Vyborg from the castle.

The public library of Vyborg is one of the famous works of architect Alvar Aalto.


history of individual buildings, among other things. “This is only the first step in a line of

In the Soviet era, the city often underwent development without proper planning.”

research known as digital humanities. If we can make details relating to changes in the urban structure visible, we’ll also be able to answer questions about their significance. Even now, we can create mental maps that describe interactions and the sense of closeness between people.” “In a mental map, physical distanc-

“Soviet urban planning, for example,

es can be converted into mental ones,

hasn’t been studied before. Despite the

allowing novel analyses of the city from

plans made during the Soviet era, the city

the viewpoint of inhabitants and visitors

often underwent development on the ba-

alike.” For example, medieval maps

sis of urgent need. When new apartments

were often mental maps, as they were

were needed after the war, old, war-rid-

not based on measurements. In a map

den buildings were renovated.”

drawn by Olaus Magnus in 1539, Finland

This explains, in part, why the historical layers of urban development are still so visible in Vyborg. Right now, however, the development

is depicted as a long peninsula reaching towards Stockholm. “The connections between Turku in Finland and Stockholm in Sweden were

of Vyborg’s urban space is at a major

close, and they were also mentally close

turning point. During the Soviet era, old

to one another. From the viewpoint of

buildings survived because there were

Stockholm, however, Vyborg was far

people living in them. Now, many histori-

away.”

cally significant buildings are empty and rapidly decaying. “If they are let to fall into ruin, a large

URBAN SPACE OF VYBORG, PAST AND PRESENT A three-year research project (2014– 2016) looked at Vyborg as an urban space of both historical processes and intentionally produced meanings. The partners were the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies at UEF and the Department of History at St Petersburg State University. The leaders were Professor Kimmo Katajala in Finland and Professor Sergey G. Kashchenko in Russia. It was funded by the Human Mind Programme of the Academy of Finland. A book, Meanings of an Urban Space. Understanding the historical layers of Vyborg, was published in autumn 2016.

Research addressing the urban space of Vyborg continues. The Historical Atlas of Vyborg project uses thematic and old

part of not only Finnish but also Russian

city maps to create an overview of the

cultural history will disappear.”

city’s development. Katajala is also preparing an international book project that

THANKS TO THE RESEARCH project, the

focuses on European border cities that

future development of Vyborg’s urban

have moved from one country to another

space can also be viewed digitally. The

due to changes in borders. Vyborg is one

Digital Atlas of Vyborg showcases the

of the cities researched in this project.

Professor Kimmo Katajala has studied the history of Vyborg’s urban space in an Academy of Finland-funded project.

30 UEF BULLETIN 2017

DIGITAL ATLAS OF VYBORG http://wiipuri.fi/digital-atlas-of-vyborg/


Regulatory boost for renewable energy In the Middle East, the production of renewable energy is experiencing a boom. In Australia, contracts for difference, CfDs, could provide a boost for the sector, says Cameron Kelly.

Cameron Kelly defended his dissertation in the field of European Law in October 2016. His dissertation compared the regulatory models used to support large-scale renewable energy in the UK, Germany and the Australian Capital Territory.

TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTOS FOTOSEARCH AND CAMERON KELLY

THE UK AND GERMANY are way ahead

cluded that Australia could achieve both

of Australia when it comes to the regu-

zero net emissions and a 100 per cent re-

lation of renewable energy production,

newable energy mix by 2050 – and both

argues Cameron Kelly, who defended his

at a relatively low cost. In his doctoral

doctoral dissertation at the University of

dissertation, Kelly recommends that

Eastern Finland. Australia is facing great

contracts for difference, CfDs, be used

challenges in achieving the goals of the

in the promotion of renewable energy

Paris Climate Agreement.

production and as a means for achieving

“Despite this, the measures taken by the Australian government over the past

Australia’s emission goals. “Many states in Australia, including

three years to reform the energy sector

Queensland and Victoria, are currently

have been modest.”

considering the introduction of CfDs. The

This is one of the reasons why Kelly, an

Australian Capital Territory embarked

experienced transactional lawyer special-

on its own CfD programme in 2012.

ising in the construction and financing

Following revisions to the European

of large-scale renewable energy projects,

Commission state aid guidelines in

decided to start working in the Middle East

2014, the UK and Germany introduced

in 2014. There, the renewable energy sector

their own CfD approaches to supporting

is experiencing an unprecedented boom.

renewables. CfDs are contracts based on

“The measures taken by the Australian government over the past three years to reform the energy sector have been modest at best.” CAMERON KELLY PhD, Legal Counsel

the difference between the wholesale

THE DESIRE to complete a PhD brought

rently underway in the Middle East. Many

price of electricity and the ‘strike’ prices

Kelly from practising law in Australia to

countries in the region are developing

offered by developers –trading takes

do research at UEF Law School.

rapidly, and there is strong governmental

place on market values and not on actual

support in the form of supportive tariffs for

products.” In the model developed by

me to do a PhD in law in Australia,” says

renewable energy projects,” Kelly explains.

Kelly, Australian state governments or

Kelly, who did his Master’s degree in envi-

He advises on projects involving

their appointed representatives could

ronmental sciences.

“Several interesting projects are cur-

large, 50 megawatt-plus wind and solar

participate in auctions of CfDs with de-

facilities. Kelly’s current employer,

velopers of renewable energy.

Alcazar Energy, is a company operating

“This way, it should be possible to

“It wouldn’t have been possible for

His thesis supervisor in Australia recommended the University of Eastern Finland.

across the META region, with its main

maintain the price of retail electricity at

role being the origination, development,

a predictable and moderate level, and

was great at motivating and inspiring my

structuring, acquisition and operation of

over time we could also rely on those

research, particularly from a European

solar PV and onshore wind renewable

renewable technologies that become more

perspective,” Kelly says.

energy projects.

cost-competitive,” Kelly says. However, in order for this to work,

A STUDY CONDUCTED by the Austral-

there needs to be real participation from

ian National University in 2015 con-

and competition between the actors.

“At UEF, my supervisor Kim Talus

With his PhD now completed, Kelly intends to take a break from research. “But it’s just a break – I definitely want to continue at some point.”

UEF BULLETIN 2017 31


How does our sensory environment change? There have been drastic changes in our sensory environment over the past couple of decades. At the same time, digitalisation has changed the way we experience our environment. Digital natives born in the 2000s are likely to have a different relationship with their environment than their grandparents who grew up in the 1950s. TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTO RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN

THERE IS NO TIME LIKE the present to

This is a phenomenon which, ac-

Now the initial euphoria has turned

study sensory environments and their sig-

cording to Järviluoma, warrants further

into intense preparation for the SEN-

nificance, says Professor Helmi Järviluo-

research, and the SENSOTRA project she

SOTRA project. The project is internation-

ma. It is still possible to use ethnographic

leads addresses the very topic.

al and it studies the sensory environments

methods to study the generation that grew

“One of the lines of my research

of nearly 200 people in three European

up without television and smart devices.

focuses on how sensory environments

cities: Ljubljana in Slovenia, Brighton in

At the same time, researchers can collect

are experienced via technological devices.

the UK and Turku in Finland.

data from today’s children for whom digi-

Our approach to the phenomenon is neu-

talisation is nothing new.

tral; we don’t judge,” Järviluoma says.

“It was a conscious choice to select three medium-sized cities, because they haven’t been studied much – although the

“Understanding of human sensory relationships is linked to the more extensive

IN MARCH 2016, Järviluoma was awarded

majority of people in Europe live in places

question of the ecological and cultural

an Advanced Grant by the European

of this size.”

sustainability of our environment. The fu-

Research Council, ERC. ERC funding

ture of humankind is largely determined

is highly competitive, and in Finland,

go on a sensory memory walk together

by our environment relationship.”

a similar funding in the field of the

with a researcher. The participants include

humanities has been awarded only once

those who were children in the 1950s and

have their own ways to connect with the

before. Although Järviluoma is a highly

1960s as well as digital natives born in the

environment, and the recent Pokémon GO

merited scholar, this recognition took her

2000s. Half of the participants are artists

craze is just one example.

by surprise.

representing different fields.

According to Järviluoma, millennials

“For the younger generations, digital

“For many weeks, it felt like I was

People participating in the study will

“Artists often have a special relationship

devices and the environment can be

on cloud nine without any real worries,”

with their sensory environment, and they

closely linked.”

Järviluoma says, laughing.

also have means to express it in their art.”

32 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Helmi Järviluoma has long sought to discover how to access people’s sensory memories through research. In the new research project, the sensory memory walk she developed can be further refined as a research method.

THE SENSORY MEMORY WALK is a re-

LAST AUTUMN, Järviluoma ventured into

search method developed by Järviluoma.

a completely new genre and published

She tested the method in summer 2015

her first collection of short stories.

by taking author Heikki Turunen to his childhood environment in Vuonislahti, Lieksa, in eastern Finland. “That was phenomenal! If the other sensory memory walks are anything like that, our study will be amazing.”

I claim that we have surprisingly many shared sensory memories.”

In addition to the author’s personal

“I’ve always written, including fiction. The texts I had in my drawer finally became a collection of short stories on a writing course organised by the Arts Councils operating in eastern Finland. As a child, my husband Matti Mäkelä wanted to be a professor, but ended up being a

sensory memories, the sensory memory

writer. I, on the other hand, wanted to be

walk also surfaced memories that are

a writer, but ended up being a professor.

shared by the entire post-war generation. “I’m interested in the relationship between a person’s own history and shared sensory memories. I claim that we

Now the tables are momentarily turned, they differ between different genera-

as Matti defended his dissertation in the

tions.

field of literature, and I’m publishing

“People used to live in more local

fiction,” Järviluoma says, laughing.

have surprisingly many shared sensory

contexts, and the differences in their

memories. For my generation, the scent

sensory memories may be greater. Thanks

of the elementary school lobby is one

to globalisation, it is more than likely that

example.”

people nowadays have more shared sen-

true. My first collection of short stories is

sory memories also in the global context,”

ready, and I can now focus on a research

Järviluoma says, speculating.

project I’ve been dreaming of.”

The study seeks to tap into what the shared sensory memories are and how

For the esteemed ethnomusicologist, 2016 was a great year. “Some of my long-term dreams came

UEF BULLETIN 2017 33


Magnetic fields expose to mutations Research into the cellular effects of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields is currently ongoing in the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Magnetic fields are suspected to play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases such as cancer, and that’s why they have caught the attention of researchers. TEXT MARIANNE MUSTONEN PHOTO RAIJA TÖRRÖNEN

RESEARCHERS HAVE LONG been drawn

Juutilainen’s research group has pub-

these mutations taking place in genes that

to magnetic fields, perhaps due to popula-

lished several scientific articles on the

are relevant for the development of can-

tion-based studies that have linked power

topic, most recently in the Journal of the

cer,” says Senior Lecturer Jonne Naarala.

lines to increased risk of leukaemia in

Royal Society Interface.

children. More recent research also indi-

The research group was the first in

“Genomic instability caused by extremely low-frequency magnetic fields

cates that long-term exposure to magnetic

the world to describe genomic instability

was observed several cell generations

fields may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s

caused by an extremely low-frequency

later. In experiments with human neu-

disease, says Professor Jukka Juutilainen.

magnetic field, and this can be regarded

roblastoma cells, genomic instability was

as their most significant achievement so

still visible 30 days after exposure, which

current appliances and power leads also

far. Genomic instability is a phenomenon

in these cells equals to approximate-

create low-frequency magnetic fields.

that was first observed under ionising

ly 30 generations of cells. Micronuclei

In households, a typical magnetic field

radiation, changing our understanding

were used in the experiments to observe

is 0.05 microteslas or less. In industrial

of the basic concepts of radiation biology.

genomic instability. The presence of

workplaces, levels up to 100 microteslas

According to traditional radiation biology,

micronuclei is associated with chromo-

are possible, yet still within accepted

possible mutations in a cell exposed to

some-level damage, and micronuclei

limits.

radiation are inherited by future genera-

are commonly used as an indicator for

tions of cells as such.

genotoxicity.”

In addition to power lines, alternating

According to studies on childhood leukaemia, the risk starts to increase un-

“However, more recent observations

der exposure to magnetic fields as low as

in radiation biology show that offspring

ANOTHER IMPORTANT observation was

0.4 microteslas. However, whether this is

cells inherit an increased tendency for

that biological effects could be observed

due to an actual causal relation between

mutations, meaning that there will be

in fields of 10 microteslas. Usually, mag-

magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia

genetic variation in future generations

netic fields of at least 100 microteslas are

remains unclear. Researchers are yet to

of cells. This phenomenon is known as

used in biological experiments to see the

discover a mechanism that could explain

genomic instability, and recent findings

outcomes more effectively.

the biological effects of magnetic fields as

now show that it can also be caused by

weak as these.

extremely low-frequency magnetic fields.”

THE EFFECTS OF MAGNETIC FIELDS on

play a crucial role in cancers caused by

repetition is required in order for the

biological mechanisms have been studied

environmental factors. The pathogenesis

findings to be statistically significant.

at the University of Eastern Finland in

of cancer requires mutations in certain

Furthermore, the heating and regulation

cell experiments, and the findings may

genes. The increased frequency of muta-

systems of our cell cultivation incubator

help shed light on the health effects of

tions associated with genomic instability

are electric, and the device itself gener-

extremely low-frequency magnetic fields.

translates into a higher probability of

ates low magnetic fields. This means that

“Genomic instability is also likely to

34 UEF BULLETIN 2017

“We are now starting to experiment with even lower magnetic fields. They are challenging, as a greater degree of


our control sample is not in zero field,” Juutilainen explains. “Other researchers have suggested that genomic instability is always associated with oxidative stress, an imbalance in the oxidation-reduction state of cells. However, we have carried out plenty of research into oxidative stress here, but in our experiments, genomic instability caused by magnetic fields did not require oxidative stress to occur. Antioxidant treatment did not have an effect on genomic instability,” Naarala adds. The field of research is constantly advancing. In the near future, new devices will enable video recording of live cells and direct changes taking place in them when exposed to magnetic fields.   “When it comes to understanding these mechanisms, the magnetic sense found in animals is an important phenomenon. The magnetic sense can be explained, at least in part, by the magnetic field’s quantum-mechanical effects on the life cycle of radical pairs. In humans, the existence of the magnetic sense hasn’t been verified: perhaps we’ve lost it in evolution. However, we have the same magnetosensitive proteins that enable the magnetic sense for animals, and the same basic mechanisms may also explain the biological effects of weak, low-frequency

Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields can also cause genomic instability.”

magnetic fields,” Juutilainen says.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 35


Transnational education finds new forms In transnational education, various online solutions are becoming increasingly important. However, the future isn’t the internet alone, as face-to-face interaction continues to play an important role, says Pekka T. Saavalainen, CEO of Finland University. TEXT MAJ VUORRE PHOTO VARPU HEISKANEN

OWNED JOINTLY by the universities of

opment training alike. Saudi Arabia, on

need for learning. In Indonesia, for ex-

Eastern Finland, Turku and Tampere, Fin-

the other hand, recently announced that

ample, two million teachers are in need

land University is a company specialising

more than 1,000 Saudi Arabian teachers

of PD training, and it simply isn’t possible

in transnational education and, more re-

will complete PD training in Finland,

to offer face-to-face instruction to them

cently, also an education brand. “We offer

some of them on UEF’s Joensuu Campus.

all, so technology needs to come into play.

tailored training and learning products for

Joensuu will also be home to 25 Namibian

Time is another limiting factor: many

institutional clients, and we also market

teachers who started their Master’s level

schools are unable to send their teachers

our member universities’ Master’s degree

studies in January 2017.

on longer courses,” Saavalainen explains.

programmes to students outside the EU and EEA,” Saavalainen says.

THE WORLD IS CONSTANTLY changing

GROWTH IN TRANSNATIONAL education

and becoming more and more digital-

can, according to Saavalainen, be expect-

AT THE UNIVERSITY of Eastern Fin-

ised, and it’s causing pressure for change

ed in the bioeconomy field at large and in

land, professional development training

in transnational education. According

some core sectors of ICT, which Finland

organised for hospital managers from the

to Saavalainen, technology will play an

has traditionally been strong in.

Shanghai Pudon region in China consti-

increasingly prominent role, but face-to-

tutes a concrete example of transnational

face instruction is also needed.

examples. On the other hand, the health

education, and this training is expected

“We will be witnessing increasingly

care sector is seen as interesting, and for

to continue. Moreover, new openings are

advanced hybrid models. The market we

example the Finnish maternity clinic sys-

on the horizon, especially in the fields of

operate in is characterised by an immense

tem is held in high regard in Indonesia.”

teacher training and forest sciences – two of the fortes of the University of Eastern Finland. “In Indonesia, we are currently preparing a project to tackle the health and environmental hazards and geopolitical problems caused by the country’s burning and smoking peatlands and forests. Finland has a good and established model for the sustainable use of peatland resources, and we are currently negotiating with the newly established Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency on how the model could be implemented there,” Saavalainen says. In teacher training, new openings are expected in both Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Indonesia is currently in the process of reforming its teacher education system, and there is a burning need for advisory services and professional devel-

36 UEF BULLETIN 2017

“Cyber security and gaming are good


Alongside the introduction of the new curriculum, Finnish schools are also taking a digital leap. At Savonlinna Teacher Training School, teaching students have been using tablet computers instead of traditional textbooks for a couple of years already.

Learning starts from a phenomenon The new curriculum designed for Finnish comprehensive schools is internationally unique and even revolutionary. Phenomenon-based learning breaks boundaries between subjects, changes the role of teachers, and highlights students’ learning skills. TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTOS TUIJA HYTTINEN

UEF BULLETIN 2017 37


On some international forums, phenomenon-based learning has been interpreted as Finnish schools no longer having separate subjects.”

THE NEW CURRICULUM of Finnish

“Teachers are required to have more

Moreover, the phenomenon-based ap-

comprehensive schools is built around

and more skills relating to the regulation

proach doesn’t mean that the Finnish com-

phenomena. On some international

of the learning process. It is their task

prehensive school will be based on various

forums, this has been interpreted as

to facilitate questions posed by students

phenomena and related projects alone.

Finnish schools no longer having separate

and to further help refine these questions

subjects, Professor Laura Hirsto says.

within the framework provided by the

edge structures could remain scattered.

curriculum," Hirsto explains.

It is important for schools to think about

This, however, is not the case. Dif-

“If this happened, students’ knowl-

ferent subjects continue to be taught

Mäkitalo-Siegl points out that the

how they can support students’ individual

in Finnish schools, but the phenome-

phenomenon-based approach is just one

identity formation and learning processes,

non-based approach strongly encourages

way to deliver teaching, and that’s some-

and how to direct them,” Hirsto says.

teachers to cross subject boundaries.

thing that should be borne in mind.

The trend is also visible in teacher ed-

“Unfortunately, we often see issues

THE RESEARCHERS point out that the

ucation. According to Academy Research

relating to teaching in black and white.

concept of phenomenon-based learning

Fellow Teemu Valtonen, student teachers

The advantage of the phenomenon-based

is not a new one, but its inclusion in the

are actively introduced to methods that

approach is that it is built on questions

school curriculum is.

are suitable for phenomenon-based

stemming from students and their exist-

teaching – but that’s nothing new in Finn-

ing knowledge structures.”

ish teacher education. “Hopefully our new curriculum and

Hirsto emphasises that the phe-

“I imagine that the phenomenon-based approach in schools will largely be built on what used to be done

nomenon-based approach is primarily

in project-based learning and integrated

phenomenon-based approach haven’t led

about seeing learning as a process that is

learning,” Hirsto says.

people to think that Finnish schools have

built around students’ personal knowl-

been shaken to the core and everything

edge-building and regulation of their own

to new kinds of thinking since the mid-

has changed,” Valtonen says.

learning.

1990s. That’s when Finnish comprehen-

“It is important to identify how the

Finnish teachers have been exposed

sive schools started to prepare their own,

BUT WHAT HAS CHANGED? Profes-

new curriculum sees learning and what

school-specific curricula, forcing teachers

sor Kati Mäkitalo-Siegl says that the

kinds of methods support it.”

to think about how to implement the na-

phenomenon-based approach highlights

tional curriculum in the practices of their

students’ learning processes better. Teach-

PERSONAL INTEREST in the thing to be

ing no longer focuses on content alone

learnt enhances motivation for learning.

– emphasis is also placed on students’ individual learning skills. “This is where the viewpoint of stu-

“The way something is taught should be rooted in what it is that we want students to learn. The phenomenon-based

own school. According to Hirsto, the new curriculum is relatively radical when compared to school systems in other countries. “We trust our teacher education

dent evaluation comes into play. Teachers

approach is good for learning prob-

system, and our teachers have plenty

now need to be able to evaluate the entire

lem-solving and teamwork skills. These

of influence in learning-related issues.

learning process, and changing old eval-

are things that students won’t learn by

In the Anglo-American school system,

uation methods may prove challenging,”

listening to lectures,” Valtonen says.

for example, teachers are often seen as

Mäkitalo-Siegl says. With the phenomenon-based approach

According to the researchers, the new

implementers of standardised objectives,

curriculum doesn’t mean that traditional

and this undermines the significance of

emphasising students’ individual agency,

teaching and learning methods will be

variation in teacher education and differ-

the role of the teacher also changes.

completely forgotten.

ent qualifications.”

38 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Motivation for learning from forests At Savonlinna Teacher Training School, phenomenon-based projects are part of the school’s everyday routines. THE STUDENTS of class 6B at Savonlinna Teacher Training

focused on forests, and their US peers on water, studying the

School are immersed in a 360-degree view tour of Lusto Finnish

effects of human activity on a pond located next to their school.

Forest Museum. The tour includes embedded presentations made by the students, addressing both forests and Finnish identity. “Our forest project was a combination of many different subjects, just like our earlier projects. I’ve learnt more working like this,” Miro Naukkarinen says. His classmate Melisa Lehtinen agrees.

“Today, our students received a blog post to comment on, written by students in our partner school about their observations.” In projects led by Kovanen, various digital platforms play an important role. “They provide an additional dimension to working. However, technology is just a tool, nothing more.”

“Our projects have been super fun, and the things we’re supposed to learn stick better this way. Projects also improve class-

ALL PROJECTS led by Kovanen seek to create something tangible.

room atmosphere and provide opportunities for being creative.”

A common goal serves as a source of motivation.

FROM THE TEACHER’S point of view, projects are a meaningful

outcome is a work of art.”

“We often make videos, and in our more artistic projects, the way of working. “Project planning and implementation call for constant creativity and thinking about the things to include in each project,” Lecturer Eero Kovanen explains. He’s a veteran of project-based working: a playhouse project completed by Kovanen during his teacher training days won a

The forest project led to a short film about the coming of spring, and it was shown at the Savonlinna International Nature Film Festival in autumn 2016. “In addition, we always try to find experts to tell us about the topic we are working on.” According to Kovanen, it would be a good idea to invest in

prize in a competition organised by Heureka, the Finnish science

using experts whenever planning projects from the viewpoint of

centre.

phenomenon-based learning.

“Students’ skills have changed over the years. They are used to project-based working, as they’ve been doing that ever since

“It would be great if we had a coordinator helping us find different expert communities and international partners.”

their early school days.”

THIS TIME, the project has also been international, collaborating with a school in New Hampshire in the US. The Finnish students

The students of class 6B at Savonlinna Teacher Training School are veterans in project-based working. Their next project will focus on the history of Laitaatsalmi Bridge, located in the town centre. In this project, they will collaborate with the Savonlinna Opera Festival, among others.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 39


Artificial intelligence learns when taught Doom, a computer game popular in the 1990s, is experiencing a second coming: the international VizDoom competition set out to find out whether artificial intelligence, AI, can play the game based on visual input alone. Anssi Kanervisto, an MSc student from the UEF School of Computing, won third place with his aptly-named agent TUHO, or doom in Finnish. TEXT MARIANNE MUSTONEN PHOTOS VARPU HEISKANEN AND TUIJA HYTTINEN

THE COMPETITION was tough, and the first prize went to a

from the game, and not visual images like us humans. This

team of IT professionals from Intel Labs. The second place

2D image is the new challenge in VizDoom.”

was claimed by a team of postgraduate students from the renowned Carnegie Mellon University. “The idea of the competition is to use artificial intelligence in a video game – in other words to code a program

ACCORDING TO Kanervisto’s supervisor, Senior Researcher Ville Hautamäki, the idea was to create an AI agent that seeks to learn the game better than any human.

that can play the game and

“Earlier, the agent was

learn new things,” says

programmed to turn in the

Anssi Kanervisto, better

direction of the enemy, but

known in gaming circles as

now we’ve taught it to do

“Miffyli”. “We had to create a program that could play the game based on visual input alone, without any

Natural conversation between humans and artificial intelligence is still a distant dream.”

pre-existing background information. That turned out to be surprisingly complicated.

the same upon seeing the enemy. In other words, we are talking about machine learning and pattern recognition,” Hautamäki explains.

“AI agents used to be programmed to utilise the game’s

Each player was given the same visual input, but no maps

internal data structures, meaning that they had access to

were provided. The agent needed to be able to play the game

more information than humans playing the game. Moreover,

under all circumstances.”

these agents weren’t really taught anything, as programmers

“Earlier, gaming was recorded from a bird’s eye per-

would just come up with a set of rules for the agent to follow.

spective one-dimensionally, but now the 3D perspective was

Now, however, we’ve taught the agent by making it play the

added to the requirements. Normally, AI uses data directly

game in a similar way to humans.”

40 UEF BULLETIN 2017


KANERVISTO TAUGHT his TUHO agent to run in the field as fast as possible, while avoiding bumping into walls, and to shoot enemies on sight. “The programming language used for coding AI is Python. A neural network based on statistics and algorithms teaches the agent to solve problems and to learn new tricks,” Kanervisto explains. Carnegie Mellon University’s team used a neural network not only to teach their agent how to navigate uncharted terrains, but also to shoot things. The system developed by

“Developing an agent for the game is a small step in the direction of human-like artificial intelligence.”

Intel Labs, on the other hand, is very different. It predicts the future and chooses actions that in its mind lead to a “good” future. “The idea is the same as in my TUHO. They had just been smarter about the execution, taught the agent better and

ANSSI KANERVISTO MSc student

made all kinds of correct fine-tunings.”

KANERVISTO SAYS that developing an agent for the game is a small step in the direction of human-like artificial intelligence. “A bigger goal is to develop an agent that can outperform us humans. At this point, however, agents’ activities don’t look very intelligent on the outside. We humans have a headstart of millions of years, thanks to evolution,” Kanervisto says. “In robotics, devices can be fully remote controlled. The idea of the VizDoom competition, however, was to fully replace remote control. If we want a robotic car to drive itself in environments that don’t have a clear structure as roads do, for example, we need artificial intelligence that is able to

“If we want a robotic car to drive itself in environments that don’t have a clear structure as roads do, for example, we need artificial intelligence that is able to learn new things.”

learn new things,” Hautamäki says. According to Kanervisto, sensors that analyse the environment could utilise images and raw data in the future, and AI could also learn from this data. “In reality though, we could be witnessing cleaning robots that hide dust under the carpet simply because the carpet is closer than the dust bin.”

VILLE HAUTAMÄKI Senior Researcher

HAUTAMÄKI AND KANERVISTO say that artificial intelligence still has a long way to go in video games, let alone in real life. However, AI can play several games simultaneously and it can make days’ worth of progress in a short time. “It would make sense to test an independently moving

“Artificial intelligence will both create and take jobs away. One change could be the extinction of human-manned

shopping robot in a game rather than to put it out in the real

help desks. Artificial intelligence could also be used in en-

world where it could easily get broken,” Kanervisto says.

vironmental monitoring and space exploration,” Kanervisto

One of the next big steps in the development of artificial intelligence is natural conversation between humans and

envisions. “Moreover, a cleaning robot can learn that it’s not a good

AI. This development rests on long-term research in speech

idea to hide dust under the carpet. Having said that, the

technology, dating back nearly 15 years first at the University

robot won’t understand why it is a bad idea, and it’s not going

of Joensuu and later at the University of Eastern Finland.

to understand it any time soon.

“Google’s DeepMind is already developing these further with the help of video games,” Kanervisto says. Scientists believe that artificial intelligence will find significant new uses in the near future. Could AI make better diagnoses than a real doctor, for example? After all, artificial intelligence could access large

SCIENTISTS AGREE that we will be witnessing robots operating in our society during this lifetime. However, they may not develop in the direction of having a consciousness very quickly, as many ethical issues need to be resolved first. Compared to humans, artificial intelligence is low main-

amounts of data and come up with a statistically most prob-

tenance in that it doesn’t need any rewards to strengthen its

able diagnosis.

motivation or commitment.

“Artificial intelligence could be a handy assistant at the very least,” Hautamäki says.

In fact, artificial intelligence can be rewarded with numbers: the bigger the number, the more satisfied the AI.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 41


“I can’t get over how easy it is to cycle here! I’ve been able to ride my bike everywhere I’ve wanted to go,” Rebekah Zimmerer says.

Following the paper trail Impacting landowners is one way of bringing about change and promote the conservation of land and forests. Fulbright Grantee Rebekah Zimmerer compares attitudes between Finland and the US. TEXT MAJ VUORRE PHOTO VARPU HEISKANEN

“IT’S BEEN nice to get my feet wet with

in forest sciences is of a high standard.

conservation is the most important thing,

research right away,” says Rebekah Zim-

For instance, UEF’s School of Forest

but when you see people on the edge of

merer from the University of Massachu-

Sciences is consistently ranked in the top

survival, you can’t just tell them what to

setts Amherst. She received a one-year

100 in the world. “When I was working on

do. I wanted to connect this observation to

Fulbright Grant to study at UEF, and is

my Master’s thesis, many journal articles

my work in forestry. The best way to make

now working on a project on climate

that were relevant for my research had

a change is to influence the people who

change.

been written in Finland and the other

are making the decisions, and landowners

Zimmerer has studied female land-

Nordic Countries. When I was writing my

are an important group.”

owners in the US, and she now seeks to

Fulbright application, I already knew that

make comparisons between her home

I wanted to go where these papers were

RECEIVING A FULBRIGHT GRANT comes

country and Finland. “The climate change

coming from.” One could say that she fol-

with certain expectations, and Zimmer-

project I’m working on did interviews

lowed an academic paper trail to Finland.

er admits to being a bit anxious about

among Finnish land owners last summer,

Zimmerer has always been interested

finding her place in the research group

and the next step is to send out a regional

in forestry, conservation and agriculture,

and being able to contribute something

mail survey. I’m hoping to include some

and she also has hands-on experience

tangible. “Since arriving, everything has

questions that are directly related to those

in the field: before starting in graduate

gone so smoothly! The best thing is that I

that land owners are asked back in the

school, she was the manager of an organic

was included in projects right away. When

US, allowing me to compare their per-

farm.

I sat down with my supervisor Jukka

ceptions of climate change, and hopefully also to include a gender perspective.”

“I’ve travelled to many countries to

Tikkanen on my first day, he immediately

learn about their agricultural systems

had potential research ideas and an arti-

and I’ve also spent six months working

cle related to climate change that I could

FORESTRY PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE in

in Honduras. These experiences real-

contribute to – and that’s what I’m doing

Finland’s economy, and academic research

ly opened my eyes. I used to think that

now,” she says, smiling.

42 UEF BULLETIN 2017


Passion for clinical linguistics Working at the University of Indonesia, University Lecturer Harwintha Anjarningsih is a trailblazer in clinical linguistics in her home country. TEXT SARI ESKELINEN PHOTO HARWINTHA ANJARNINGSIH

ALMOST TWELVE years ago, a young stu-

versity context. For example, the library

dent from Indonesia arrived in Joensuu

had all the necessary information online,

this field by meeting people with language

to start her studies in clinical linguistics.

including books’ shelf locations. Simply

impairments directly. I felt especially

The temperature was minus 35 degrees

awesome!”

concerned for children with language

“I felt that I could find fulfilment in

Celsius – very different weather from the tropical climate of Indonesia. “I bought my best pink winter coat

impairments, such as dyslexia and specific

NOWADAYS ANJARNINGSIH works as

language impairments.”

a linguistics lecturer for Bachelor’s and

Anjarningish feels that studying

in Joensuu, which I still wore when I did

Master’s levels. After her graduation, she

on the EMCL has made her a flexible,

my doctoral studies in the Netherlands

introduced a new field of clinical linguis-

open-minded person.

in 2012,” Harwintha Anjarningsih says,

tics and language impairments to her own

laughing.

university.

She came to Joensuu to study on the

“This was both exciting and impor-

simply different because people can do

European Master’s Degree Programme in

tant, as many people in Indonesia actually

Clinical Linguistics, EMCL.

have language impairments and need the

“I studied statistics, linguistics and a general course on language impairments in Joensuu. All the courses were benefi-

That is one reason why she would recommend the programme to students

improve their lives.”

interested in clinical linguistics and other

Anjarningsih also established links

cultures.

with psychologists, doctors and speech

semesters at the University of Groningen

therapists, mostly through teaching and

and the University of Potsdam.”

research activities, in order to make them

observation at a therapy centre. There she

the same things differently.”

expertise of clinical linguists to help them

cial and they prepared me for the next

Anjarningsih also did a one-month

“It made me see that all cultures are good and no cultures are wrong. They are

aware that linguists can also help in assisting people with language impairments.

became familiar with a method for teaching mute autistic children to speak. “I liked the way Finnish people were very organised, especially in the uni-

A PASSION FOR THE FIELD of clinical linguistics made her choose EMCL in the first place.

WATCH A VIDEO OF HARWINTHA ANJARNINGSIH

EMCL

Harwintha Anjarningsih had no previous experience in clinical linguistics when she decided to apply for EMCL. Nowadays, she is at a vantage point of the field of clinical linguistics in Indonesia.

European Master’s Degree Programme in Clinical Linguistics A 24-month full-time interdisciplinary and integrated university programme at the European level, providing training for international students in the fields of neurolinguistics, clinical linguistics and psycholinguistics The consortium consists of thee participating universities: the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Potsdam and the University of Groningen Website: http://www.uef.fi/fi/web/mdpclinical-linguistics

UEF BULLETIN 2017 43


More than fun and games People sometimes think that students’ leisure time is all about partying. For ESN Joensuu, however, the most important thing is to provide students with an international platform for different kinds of activities. TEXT MAJ VUORRE PHOTO ESN JOENSUU

“PEOPLE CAN GO OUT and party any day,

international dinners, music evenings,

they don’t need our help to do that. We’d

poetry jams, charity events, trips to places

rather invest our budget and manpower

such as St Petersburg and Lapland, and

and womanpower in organising things

also a few parties.

that benefit the community and raise peo-

“Our events are usually very popular

ple’s awareness of something we consider

and sometimes we run into capacity prob-

important,” says Lina Muncyte˙, President

lems. This year, we had 80 people going

of ESN Joensuu and third-year student of

with us to St Petersburg, and we’ve just

English literature and culture.

booked an extra bus for our trip to Lap-

For instance, ESN Joensuu is involved

land. It will be three busloads of people

in the ExchangeAbility project, which

this year,” says Usoa Toledo, ESN Joen-

is being carried out at the ESN level

suu’s Event Manager and second-year

throughout Europe. The project seeks

early language education student.

to raise awareness of students with disabilities, to promote accessibility, and

PEOPLE JOIN ESN JOENSUU for different

to encourage students with disabilities to

reasons. For Laís Oliveira, who is in her

go abroad. As a local effort, ESN Joensuu

first year of primary education studies,

volunteers have mapped the university

ESN activities are a reason to get out of the

campus to see how accessible it is, and

house. “I come from Brazil, and it’s quite

whether accessibility ramps and rails

difficult for me to get out of the house in

have been installed in places where they

this weather. The fact that I have a board

are needed, for example.

meeting or an event to organise does the

The Erasmus Student Network, or

trick. In Brazil, there is no similar platform

ESN, has 16 sections in Finland, with

for international students to meet one

ESN Joensuu operating on UEF’s Joensuu

another. Here, I’m an equal member of the

Campus and ESN KISA on the Kuopio

community and I feel that I can contribute

Campus. The two sections collaborate

and have my opinion heard.”

with one another to share knowledge and exchange ideas and best practices.

Involvement in ESN can be addictive and have far-reaching consequences. Joan Carreres first came to Joensuu four years

ESN JOENSUU IS THE MOST multicul-

ago as an exchange student. “Back then, I

tural section in Finland. “We have people

joined ESN Joensuu and went with them

from every continent volunteering for us.

to Lapland and St Petersburg. Now I’m

Most of our active members are interna-

here to do my Master’s degree in environ-

tional students, but we are trying really

mental biology, and it seems I can’t stop

hard to get Finnish students involved as

working for ESN,” he says, in the capacity

well. Many Finnish students think that

of a board member and ESN Joensuu’s

ESN is for international students only –

Communications Manager.

but they are international to us! Anybody

Usoa Toledo, too, has a long-term

can become a member: we are very open

relationship with ESN. “I first learnt about

and inclusive,” Muncyte˙ says.

ESN during my exchange in Sweden. ESN

The range of activities organised by ESN Joensuu is diverse: language cafés,

44 UEF BULLETIN 2017

did so much for me back then that I felt I had to give something back now.”


UEF BULLETIN 2017 45


UEF// CAMPUSES UEF OPENS EU OFFICE IN BRUSSELS In 2016, UEF was the first Finnish university to open an EU office in Brussels. UEF’s representative in Brussels is Head of Research Services Jaana Backman, pictured here with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis during his visit to Kuopio.

UEF Summer School continues

FIVE SMART REASONS – ONE SMART DECISION

TEXT MAJ VUORRE PHOTO VARPU HEISKANEN

UEF’s new video aimed at international students in particular lists five smart reasons for international students to choose Finland and UEF as their study destination. The video showcases the uniqueness of Finland and Finnish people as well as the university’s academic offering, student life, quality of education and welcoming atmosphere. The video presents the University of Eastern Finland as an easily approachable and laid-back place to study, without forgetting the high level of education. The objective of the video is to make applicants feel welcome at UEF.

THE FIRST UEF SUMMER SCHOOL was

to complete their Master’s degree in two

organised in August 2016. Thanks to the

years’ time. With the introduction of tui-

positive experiences and feedback, August

tion fees for non-EU/EEA students, this

2017 will witness another one.

will become increasingly important.”

“Our first Summer School lasted for

The Summer School offers a total of

two weeks, attracting more than 110 stu-

12 courses in a variety of different fields.

dents from all over the world. This year,

Applications are welcome until 26 May

the duration will be extended to three

2017.

weeks,” says Summer School Coordinator Merja Kuokkanen. With the universi-

summerschool.uef.fi

ty’s autumn semester starting in September, August is a good time to organise the Summer School. Many students participating in the first Summer School continued their studies at

WATCH OUR NEW VIDEO AT https://youtu.be/E_a8OPaVCUI

UEF either as exchange students or as degree students on one of the university’s international Master’s degree programmes. “We seek to create an increasingly close link between the Summer School and our international Master’s degree programmes. This is also a way for the university to ensure that students are able

46 UEF BULLETIN 2017

UEF TO HOLD AN ALUMNI EVENT IN NEPAL Already more than 160 Nepali students have studied or currently study at UEF. In September 2017, UEF will hold an alumni event in Kathmandu, Nepal. If you are interested in taking part, please contact roseanna.avento@uef.fi.


ANTTI POSO STARTED AS DISTINGUISHED GUEST PROFESSOR IN TÜBINGEN

FIRST APPLE DISTINGUISHED SCHOOL IN FINLAND UEF’s Savonlinna Teacher Training School is the first Apple Distinguished School, ADS, in Finland. ADS constitutes part of Apple’s worldwide programme that recognises outstanding schools for their innovative activities geared towards enhancing learning with the help of modern technology. At Savonlinna Teacher Training School, all students, teachers and teaching students use personal iPads to support both teaching and learning. “We are home to plenty of innovative and technological expertise that benefits the use of novel learning environments,” says Mikko Ripatti, the school’s Leading Headmaster. “As an Apple Distinguished School, we have access to the latest knowledge, training and expertise relating to educational technology, and we also get to share our expertise with increasingly wide networks,” says Sanna Metsälä, an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Professor of Drug Design Antti Poso has been appointed Distinguished Guest Professor at the University of Tübingen in Germany, where he has already successfully collaborated with German partners in the fields of cancer and anti-infective drug research. Over the next three years he will contribute to the Tübingen Center for Academic Drug Discovery & Development (TüCADD) initiative.

UEF joins in Finland’s centenary celebrations THIS YEAR, Finland celebrates 100 years

The theme of the Studia Generalia lec-

of independence, and the University of

ture series is “Scientific excellence in east-

Eastern Finland will participate in the

ern Finland from the 1970s to the present

jubilee year in many different ways. The

– promoting education in independent

main event organised by the university

Finland”, and it comprises five lectures or

is a Studia Generalia lecture series show-

other events, one of them in English.

casing top-level research carried out in eastern Finland. “The series highlights the scientific milestones achieved in eastern Finland and reflects upon their regional, nation-

In addition to Studia Generalia, several other projects under the Finland 100 Programme will also take place at the university. “The university is a partner in

al and international significance,” says

several Finland 100 projects. Besides the

Fundraising Coordinator Soile Kosu-

Studia Generalia series, we are also ap-

nen, who is in charge of the arrange-

plying for Finland 100 status for a couple

ments.

of other projects.”

UEF BULLETIN 2017 47


FINLAND IS THE PLACE TO BE IN 2017 In 2017, Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence with various events and festivities taking place all over the country and throughout the year. If visiting Finland has been on your agenda, now’s the time! And that’s not just our biased opinion, as the world’s biggest travel guide publisher Lonely Planet and the National Geographic Traveler magazine have included Finland as one of the top countries to visit this year. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 lists ten destinations you can’t afford to miss, and Finland ranks third. National Geographic’s Best Trips list, on the other hand, features 21 places you need to visit, with Finland included in the nature category.

Industrial collaboration in everyone’s interests The first COSI Industrial Day held at the Joensuu Campus proved an excellent opportunity for companies to present their internship opportunities and for students to get their foot in the door. TEXT MAJ VUORRE PHOTO VARPU HEISKANEN

THE COLOUR in Science and Industry

Research Engineer Frédéric Lefebvre

Erasmus+ Joint Master’s Degree Pro-

from Technicolor.

gramme, or COSI for short, brings industrial

He presented a total of five internship

“Real-life projects with industrial partners are a valuable opportunity to learn about companies’ current needs and also to

collaboration within the reach of students

opportunities at Technicolor, some of

put theories we’ve learnt into practice,” Be-

in many different ways. Students get to

them involving the submittal of a scien-

liakova says. She’d like to do her internship

work on companies’ real-life projects, and

tific paper and even filing for a patent.

and MSc thesis in the field of biomedical

the COSI Industrial Day constitutes a new

“This may sound challenging, but colour

spectral technology applications. “UEF’s

opening in the programme’s repertoire.

science is a fertile ground for new patents.

ongoing collaboration with Olympus in the

Moreover, students won’t have to work

field of dental imaging is very interesting.”

Among the companies showcasing their internship opportunities, including

alone: they are supported by a team with

those involving a Master’s thesis project,

PhD students and postdocs in it.”

at the COSI Industrial Day were Tech-

An internship while at Master’s level

“I haven’t applied for an internship placement yet, but I’m really interested in Technicolor’s deep learning technology,”

nicolor, Specim and Olympus, and their

may well turn into a PhD completed for

Bojan says. After graduation, he plans to

interest in attracting good students was

the same company. “All in all, doing an in-

become an entrepreneur, and he isn’t put

clearly genuine.

ternship is a good opportunity,” Lefebvre

off by the investment costs, either. “The

concludes.

instruments used in this line of business

“For us, it is very important to be in contact with students while they are still

are very expensive and many start-ups

studying. Generally speaking, it is not

COSI HAS A STRONG FOCUS on indus-

struggle with funding. I think I’ll just have

easy to find students who have a suffi-

trial collaboration, according to students

to find smart ways to collaborate with

cient level of expertise in colour science.

Thiyagarajan Manihatty Bojan from

companies.”

COSI, however, is a great exception,” says

India and Alina Beliakova from Russia.

WORKING LIFE RELEVANCE is in high demand in education, and COSI’s network of industrial partners seeks to ensure that students graduate with skills expected of them, which is something not to be taken for granted. “Students don’t always master the tools and software that are used in the industry. In our field, for example, students can be very savvy with Matlab, which is used in academic contexts, but at the same time they struggle with C/C++. Learning to use the industry’s tools takes up time that could otherwise be spent on actual development and research, and that’s not ideal,” Lefebvre says.

48 UEF BULLETIN 2017


SFCPR TO OPEN IN SHANGHAI

UEF AUDITED UEF’s Quality Management System was audited in December 2016 by an international audit team appointed by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC. Special attention was paid to quality management in education and international student mobility. Another new feature in the audit, which takes place every six years, was a self-evaluation report required in advance. “It is always a good idea to critically evaluate one’s own activities,” says Director of Administration Tuomo Meriläinen.

The University of Eastern Finland and Fudan University will open a joint Sino-Finnish Centre for Child Protection Research, SFCPR, in Shanghai. The research centre will operate at Fudan University with a mission to promote interdisciplinary research and education in the fields of child welfare and child protection.

UEF’S AQUATIC RESEARCH PART OF A NEW NORDIC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

International students brainstorming for sustainable development ADVANCED-LEVEL PEDAGOGICAL studies

The workshop focused on sustainable

in teacher training include a course dealing

development education in each partici-

with education for a sustainable future.

pating student’s home country.

The course is aimed at students studying

“A person’s identification with a cer-

to become class teachers, subject teachers,

tain lifestyle affects the choices he or she

special needs teachers and career coun-

makes, such as consumer behaviour and

sellors. Last autumn, the English-taught

dietary preferences, and this was strongly

section of the course was further developed

highlighted in the workshop. From the

in a workshop together with internation-

viewpoint of sustainable development,

al students. The objective was to identify

these are major personal choices.”

new perspectives of themes of sustainable development from all over the world. “We’ve done similar brainstorming with students before, but not to this extent and degree of multidisciplinarity,” say

The workshop participants shared a concern for the future, and political deci-

Aquatic research at the University of Eastern Finland constitutes part of the SUREAQUA Nordic Centre of Excellence, funded by Nordforsk. SUREAQUA is a significant new opening in Aquatic Research in a Changing World, which is one of the emerging research areas identified in the university’s strategy. The five-year funding is used for networking and to study and test new innovations in the field of aquatic production. The University of Eastern Finland is represented in the Centre of Excellence by the research groups led by Professor Mikko Kolehmainen, Professor Raine Kortet and Associate Professor Amit Bhatnagar from the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

STUDY WHERE YOU CAN HEAR YOURSELF THINK In 2016 Finland University, together with its member universities, truly stepped up their educational marketing. A new brand and visual identity were created for Finland University, along with the launch of a new website and social media channels. Finland University’s marketing efforts are targeted at students in South-East Asia in particular, hoping to attract them to the University of Eastern Finland and the other member universities. WWW.FINLANDUNIVERSITY.FI

sion-making and voting were regarded as important. “According to the students, active cit-

Senior Lecturers Sirpa Kärkkäinen and

izenship and the opportunities provided

Teija Koskela and University Teacher

by it are closely linked to sustainable

Päivi Rosenius.

development.”

UEF BULLETIN 2017 49


COLUMN

Osama Bin Laden – a public health story

T

he period was 2010

was set, choppers were sent in one dark

and 2011, and Osama

night and the bad guy was dead. The

Bin Laden was the

media high-fived and we marked it as

most wanted person

a milestone in the War on Terror. But

alive. The Americans

the story did not really end there, and it

had been hot on his

entered into the public health domain.

heels for years, but the elusive man was

Through this story, my aim is to

always a few steps ahead. Pakistan, with

remind you that science is not limited

its long and porous border with Afghan-

just to labs, books and conference

istan, had all the markings of a good

halls – it interacts with our daily lives

hideout. Finally, tips started coming in

and events, and even with our Bin

and the CIA zoomed in on a quiet con-

Laden stories. A fake vaccination team

crete building in a northern Pakistani

can and should have repercussions.

town. A multi-storey complex, home

It dented the trust of an uncounta-

to a family that was keeping it very

ble number of families who should

hush-hush with the neighbours and the

have been convinced of the efficacy

neighbourhood. The problem was how

of the vaccination. Instead, they were

to confirm the identity of the suspect – a

tricked. The CIA is gone, but parents

DNA match maybe? But how would that

in the area are still suspicious, asking,

be possible? What they did was very

“Is this real or is this another plot by

clever. They created a fake vaccination

white people against us?” Vaccination

team, gave them the right appearance

has been branded as a conspiracy by

and sent them to the door: “Hey, we

the enemy. People are angry and there

are here to offer a free vaccination for

has even been violence instigated

your kids to protect them against bad

towards real vaccination teams. Since

diseases.” Since Pakistan is one of the

2011, there have been many attacks on

last two countries in the entire world

vaccination teams resulting in scores

where poliomyelitis is still endemic, and

of deaths and injuries. Now vaccinators

one strategy employed by the Pakistani

are not allowed to enter certain areas,

government is to send vaccinators from

and when they do move about, they do

door to door so all children get the free

so with police guards for safety. A sim-

vaccine, this fake CIA plot worked flaw-

ple, beneficial public health campaign

students on the Master’s Degree Programme in Public Health.

lessly. They were able to confirm the

has turned into a nightmare. Science is

presence of their target. Now the scene

easier in classrooms, isn’t it?

WHERE Dr Khan works at the Institute of Public

50 UEF BULLETIN 2017

Science is not limited just to labs, books and conference halls – it interacts with our daily lives and events." WHO Sohaib Khan, MBBS, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor. He is a medical doctor who has worked at different health care levels, and also as a public health specialist in humanitarian crisis situations. His research focuses on socio-cultural aspects of immunisation, and he is a keen observer of how geopolitical scenarios interfere with health. WHAT Dr Khan teaches International Health to

Health and Clinical Nutrition on the Kuopio Campus.


UEF// EVENTS NORDIC SOCIAL PHARMACY AND HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH CONFERENCE (NSPC) ON 7–9 JUNE The theme of the conference is Designing Safe and Effective Treatments in the Era of Real-world Data. Ineffective treatments are unethical as they are un-

NORDIC CONGRESS OF CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY & KUOPIO EPILEPSY SYMPOSIUM ON 15–17 MARCH The conference gathers together people working in the different fields of epileptology to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and to update understanding of electrophysiology, diagnostics and

likely to benefit the patients but expose them to possible adverse effects. On the other hand, an unsafe treatment cannot be effective as its possible salutary effects are cancelled out by the harms in produces. NSPC will be held in Kuopio on 7–9 June 2017.

14TH NORDIC CONFERENCE OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ON 12–15 JUNE

treatment of epilepsy. The conference will be held

The fourteenth Nordic Conference of Religious Ed-

in Kuopio on 15–17 May 2017.

ucation will be held in Joensuu on 12–15 June 2017. The conference has the theme Dialogue Cultures

3RD KARELIA SYMPOSIUM ON 25 APRIL

and Religion in Learning Environments and Beyond.

The third Karelia Symposium has the theme

FIND MORE EVENTS AND NEWS AT

Unlimited Possibilities of Wood. The topics of the

It gathers together researchers, educators and students interested in religion, values and education.

www.uef.fi/en/news-and-events

keynote lectures will cover the secrets of wood microstructure, biorefining of wood biomasses, innovative wood-based building solutions, and the health and well-being effects of wood products. The symposium will take place in Joensuu on 25 April 2017.

UEF BULLETIN 2017 51


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