Mikko Hiltunen, Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology at the University of Eastern Finland, chairs the regional steering group of Kuopio Brain & Mind network and acts as an alternate member of the executive committee of Neurocenter Finland. In addition, alongside teaching and conducting research with his Molecular Genetics in Alzheimer’s Disease research group, he leads the Neuroscience Research Community (NEURO-RC), the Genome Centre of Eastern Finland and the Genetics and Mechanisms in Translational Medicine (GenomMed) doctoral programme. Also, he actively participates in the actions of the Clinical Alzheimer research group and the Neuro-Innovation doctoral programme.
“Finnish research groups have played an important role internationally in identifying new mechanisms and biological markers that predict Alzheimer’s disease, developing new diagnostic methods and Alzheimer’s disease prevention studies”, explains Mikko (Hiltunen & Pajunen, Helsingin Sanomat 26th Aug 2022). The key objectives of Alzheimer’s Disease Molecular Genetics research group are to identify novel genetic factors (both risks increasing and protective gene variants) from large patient datasets and to characterize the mechanisms of gene changes that modify the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “This means the opportunity to discover new predictive biomarkers as well as drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease”, he elaborates. The results obtained from these studies could lead to the new applications of personalized medicine and improve the prediction of Alzheimer’s disease. “This is utmost important as the earlier identification of individuals with the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease is needed to achieve a more effective response to future treatments”, says Mikko.
University of Eastern Finland, PET Centre of Turku and University of Helsinki have implemented the ALZTrans “Translational piloting of genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease” project funded by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 2018–2020. The pilot project, led by Mikko Hiltunen, created a model of translational cooperation to combine different research methods and expertise. The operating model has had positive feedback regarding in international research funding consortiums. “The support of Neurocenter Finland in strengthening cooperation between us actors and the development of the collaborative project has been reflected in the awakening of international interest. The cooperation model is intended to be used as a basis for the UEF Brain Research Unit 2.0 project at the University of Eastern Finland, for which we have applied for ERDF funding from the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo”, concludes Hiltunen.
Alzheimerin taudin hoidossa ollaan lähellä läpimurtoa (HS 26.8.2022 Vieraskynä: Mikko Hiltunen, Itä-Suomen yliopisto & Jenni Pajunen, Aivosäätiö): https://www.hs.fi/mielipide/art-2000008978788.html (In Finnish)
Molecular Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease research group: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/group/molecular-genetics-of-alzheimers-disease/
Neuroscience Research Community (NEURO RC): https://www.uef.fi/en/research-community/neuroscience-neuro
Genome Center of Eastern Finland: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/group/genome-center-of-eastern-finland/
Genetics and Mechanisms in Translational Medicine Doctoral programme (GenomMed): https://sites.uef.fi/genommed/
Clinical Alzheimer Research research group: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/group/clinical-alzheimer-research/
Neuro-Innovation doctoral programme: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/group/neuro-innovation/
ALZTrans pilot project, Neurocenter Finland: https://neurocenterfinland.fi/en/alztrans-challenges-research-groups-with-new-kinds-of-cooperation/
UEF Brain Research Unit: https://kuopio.neurocenterfinland.fi/en/introducing-brain-research-unit-university-of-eastern-finland/
Kuopio Brain & Mind is part of a nation-wide Neurocenter Finland researcher network. For more information, please visit www.neurocenterfinland.fi