Academy of Finland

Academy of Finland logoThe Academy of Finland is the prime funding agency for basic research in Finland. It is a public funding agency, under the authority of the Ministry of Education. The Academy of Finland’s mission is to advance scientific research and its application, support international scientific cooperation, act as an expert organ in science policy issues and allocate funding to research and other advancement of science. The Academy works to contribute to the renewal, diversification and increasing internationalisation of Finnish research. Its operation covers the full spectrum of scientific disciplines.

The Academy takes active part in the public debate on science policy, the goals of science, its impacts and ethics. The Academy also promotes good scientific practices and strengthens the ethical sustainability of the research it finances (please see

Research Achievements

Research using hESC lines is currently done in Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Kuopio.

Timo Otonkoski (University of Helsinki) is involved in several projects with hESC lines, including the EU-projects ESTOOLS and LIV-ES. He is responsible of Biomedicum Stem Cell Center where the main lines of research concentrate on differentiation of endoderm and pancreatic or liver cells. They also study the role of TFGbeta growth factors and signals from extracellular matrix in maintenance and early differentiation of hESCs (Heiskanen et al. Stem Cells 25:197-202, 2007; Vuoristo et al. J Cell Mol Med, 2009, in press). Human iPS cells have been derived at the center since 2008. Timo Otonkoski is the Finnish representative in the ISCI projects and workshops and in the stem cell banking initiative.

Timo Tuuri (The Family Federation of Finland) is the Finnish representative in new EU project hESCReg. Riitta Lahesmaa (University of Turku) has advanced gene expression profiling of several hESC lines. Seppo Vainio (University of Oulu) is also using the hESC lines in his research.

Jari Koistinaho’s group (A.I.V. Institute / University of Kuopio) investigates human hematopoietic cells for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Seppo Yla-Herttuala's group has used cord blood derived stem cells for the treatment of ischemic muscle diseases. Also, regulated, third generation lentiviral vectors have been developed for thetrasfection of ES cells in A.I.Virtanen Institute.

The focal area of research at Regea - Institute for Regenerative Medicine (University of Tampere) is studying the combined effects of biochemical, electrical and mechanical stimuli and biomaterials in the differentiation of hESCs. The research team lead by Heli Skottman has derived and characterized eight new hESC lines during years 2007-2008. Heli Skottman's group aims at the establishment and propagation of clinical quality hESC lines according to good manufacturing practice requirements without any animal-derived components. Her group is also developing methods for differentiation of hESCs into retinal cells.

Susanna Narkilahti's group has developed and optimised methods for differentiating hESCs into neuronal cells, and further characterized these cells. They have also performed transplantation studies with the differentiated cells using animal models.

Katriina Aalto-Setälä's group has developed and optimised methods for differentiating hESCs into cardiac muscle cells and further characterised these cells. In addition, they use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) for similar purposes.

Regea's adult stem cell group, led by Susanna Miettinen, Riitta Suuronen and George Sándor has performed several clinical treatments with adipose-derived stem cells in craniofacial bone applications during years 2006-2008. This group works in many areas of adult stem cell research, including dental, cartilage and soft tissue applications.


The other main funder within Finland is the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) -

For further information on stem cell research within Finland please visit:  

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