NCMM welcomes new Director Janna Saarela

Newly appointed Director of NCMM, Professor Janna Saarela, gave a welcome talk to staff on Wednesday 9 January. 

Photo of Janna addressing staff

Prof. Saarela speaking to NCMM staff at Forskningsparken.

The introductory talk was an opportunity for Prof. Saarela to present her vision for NCMM in the coming years, and to tell staff more about her research interests.

Prof. Saarela gave a brief overview of her career to date, detailing how she came to be Head of the Technology Centre, and Vice Director, at FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland), alongside some insight into her research into the genomics of human immune disorders.

Vision to continue building on NCMM’s strengths and foster a team-orientated culture

Prof. Saarela detailed her plans to continue to build on NCMM’s current research strengths, and her hopes to introduce some wider thematic programmes that can help to further develop a more team-orientated working culture. Her vision also includes plans to build up research expertise in genome and precision medicine, alongside other topics.

Plans to enhance collaborations, innovation, and raise the international profile of NCMM

Professor Saarela introducing her research to NCMM staff. 

Areas that Prof. Saarela hopes will be a key focus for NCMM over the next five years include building a more collaborative multidisciplinary research environment and building closer links with local hospitals and biobanks to help enhance NCMM’s translational research – as recommended by the 2018 NCMM evaluation report. Another priority will be to help raise the international visibility of NCMM, through stronger interactions with the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), the Nordic EMBL Partnership, and other European research networks.

Prof. Saarela will shortly start recruiting researchers for her group at NCMM.

You can read more about the appointment of Professor Saarela here: Expert in genomics of human immune disorders recruited as new Director of NCMM.

About Professor Janna Saarela

Janna Saarela received her M.D. in 1996, her Ph.D. in 1998 and has been a resident at the University Hospital of Oulu and the Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Public Health Institute, Finland (1998) and at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dept. Human Genetics (1998-2000).  Prof. Saarela served as Senior Researcher, Head of the Biotechnology Unit, National Public Health Institute, 2000-2008. She set up the Biomedicum Biochip Centre core unit in 2001 and co-coordinated the unit, 2001- 2008. Prof. Saarela joined the Institute of Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) in 2008, where she was Head of the FIMM Technology Centre. She became Assistant Director of FIMM in 2011. 

She serves as a scientific expert in several international groups, such as EU-LIFE, European network on rare primary immunodeficiency, autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases (ERN RITA), and International MS Genetics consortium (IMSGC) and is involved in European expert groups for clinical NGS sequencing and personalized medicine.


Published Jan. 10, 2019 1:40 PM - Last modified Jan. 10, 2019 2:53 PM