About us

Institute of Biotechnology (BI) is an internationally renowned research institute with an inclusive and curiosity-driven working culture. Using cutting-edge infrastructures we advance breakthrough discoveries, technology development and innovations.

We operate in a wide scientific landscape from plants and microbes to seals and from molecular pathogenesis to the treatment of human diseases. Furthermore, we develop cutting-edge life science research infrastructures. Our researchers have been very successful in obtaining for example ERC grants and Academy of Finland Center of Excellence funding. Research in BI spans from fundamental research to applied biotechnology and includes cytoskeletal and membrane dynamics; morphogenesis, stem cells and regeneration; plant, animal, microbial genomics and evolution; and structure and function of viruses and cellular protein complexes. Our mission is to harness the scientific discoveries and innovations for the benefit of people and the environment.

BI has pioneered the development of Finland’s life science research infrastructures and currently houses core facilities for biological imaging, proteomics, protein crystallization, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), NMR, genomics and bioinformatics.

The research findings are actively applied for the benefit of society through valorisation of innovations and spinout companies. Several success stories including Herantis Pharma Ltd and Mobidiag Ltd originate from the Institute.

Professor Juha Huiskonen is the director of the Institute of Biotechnology. Huiskonen’s research group - Laboratory of Structural Biology (LSB) – aims at understanding the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their complexes, such as molecular machines and viruses.

Institute of Biotechnology
Field of science Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

Maria Vartiainen is a research director at the Institute of Biotechnology and the scientific head of the Light Microscopy Unit (LMU) at BI.

Vartiainen’s research group studies the mechanisms that mediate the dynamic organization of the cell nucleus, with special emphasis on the role of actin in this process.



Research Director
Institute of Biotechnology
Field of science Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

Research at BI is organised in three research programmes, which include one or more research groups. Each research programme has a Research Programme Director who is one of the Principal Investigators (PI) of the programme.

The Research Programme Directors for the term 1 August 2021 - 31 July 2024 are

Nicolas Di-Poi (from 8 April 2022-), Cell and Tissue Dynamics Programme (vice-director Eija Jokitalo)
Brendan Battersby, Genomics and Evolutionary Biology (vice-director Susana Garcia)
Ville Paavilainen, Structural and Quantitative Biology

  • Director Ewan Birney, European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI, UK (Chair)
  • Professor Marja Jäättelä, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • Professor Urban Lendahl, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Professor Poul Nissen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Professor Olivier Pourquié, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US 
  • Professor Anne Spang, University of Basel, Switzerland 
  • Professor Joan Steitz, Yale School of Medicine and HHMI, US
  • Professor Miltos Tsiantis, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany 


  • Professor Sheena Radford, The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds (01/2019-10/2020)