SMART SCIENCE BY SMART PEOPLE University of Eastern Finland 2017
JOINING FORCES FOR GLOBAL HEALTH Researchers race against time to tackle antibiotic resistance
20 LATEST IN
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
JOENSUU P.O. BOX 111, 80101 JOENSUU KUOPIO P.O. BOX 1627, 70211 KUOPIO SAVONLINNA P.O. BOX 86, 57101 SAVONLINNA
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
allocate health care resources and new ser
Open science involves a shift from the standard practice of publishing results as in-
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
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.
Open innovation involves a shift from linear
SEMANTIX FINLAND OY
technology transfer, which has proved to be
relatively inefficient, to innovation ecosystems
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-
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
2 UEF BULLETIN 2017
INTRODUCING A PERSONAL VITAMIN D RESPONSE INDEX
39 MOTIVATING PROJECTS
HEALTH THREATS ARE GLOBAL
CLIMATE CHANGE FORCES REINDEER HUSBANDRY TO ADAPT
26 TACKLING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE Prasanthi Medarametla & Carlos Moreno-Cinos
RESEARCH INTO SENSORY ENVIRONMENT
AI STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO
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
UEF BULLETIN 2017
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!
4 UEF BULLETIN 2017
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.
UEF BULLETIN 2017
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
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.
6 UEF BULLETIN 2017
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-
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.
UEF BULLETIN 2017
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
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.”
FOR FEMALE MUSICIANS, starting a family
work explains why jazz musicians tolerate
often means putting their career on hold,
According to Hytönen-Ng, a passion for
UEF BULLETIN 2017
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.
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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
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,
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-
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
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."
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
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,”
“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
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,
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,
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
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-
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
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-
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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-
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-
tional antibiotics themselves put pressure
Medarametla works in Kuopio within
on bacteria to mutate and develop resistant
the work package of computer-aided drug
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,
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
dominate the collective memory of Finns.
Russians in the Great Northern War in
These memories were entrapped in the
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.
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
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-
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
“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.
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.
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
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
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
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
radiation are inherited by future genera-
are commonly used as an indicator for
tions of cells as such.
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 studentsâ€™ 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.
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.
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
“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
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
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-
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
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
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-
in 2012,” Harwintha Anjarningsih says,
tics and language impairments to her own
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
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
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 –
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
weeks,” says Summer School Coordinator Merja Kuokkanen. With the universi-
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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-
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
ternship is a good opportunity,” Lefebvre
off by the investment costs, either. “The
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
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
UEF BULLETIN 2017 49
Osama Bin Laden – a public health story
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.
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