Kirsi Syrlin:

Hope is acrylic on canvas.

“When you learn you have cancer, the only things you have left are hope and science. You must place all your bets on science, place your trust in the hands of strangers, and after that, you must hope. Hope for the best. Whenever I have met difficulties in life, I have always received help from nature. When everything looks dark and hopeless, the peaking crocuses under the snow will lighten up one’s day. When dark clouds gather above you, the memory of whispering willows under the Italian sky will help you recover and gain your energy. I feel that a beautiful piece of art can also help one to heal just like a peaceful moment in nature.

My paintings are usually classified as semi abstracts. One can find something to recognise with other parts melting into playful colour movements. Some pieces are more expressive, some more impressionistic. Sometimes I play with classical themes. In this piece, I combined my personal experience with the moments from my visit to the Talman lab, where I saw the wonderful and coloured microscope images and stunning beating cardiac cells.

How does it feel to hear the bad news of being seriously ill and how do you recover? With hope and science”.



Gokhan Burhan:

Regenerative is acrylic on canvas.

“While creating this piece, my focus was on the word “Regenerative”, an underpinning principle of the research conducted within the regenerative cardiac pharmacology lab. I wanted to break down the letters into pieces and create a dynamic abstract composition while giving hints of representations for blood vessels, cells, and the four chambers and valves of the heart”.


Building a connection

Hannele Rekola:

Building a connection is derived from two ceramic figurines connected by a woven vine.

“My piece consists of two ceramic female figures, who together represent the interaction between the arts and science. The women ponder how to fix the broken arm and the resultant tissue damage. This connection between the arts and science is resembled by the woven vine between the two figures. Like an umbilical cord that is full of life, the vine flows from the naval of the intact statue. The umbilical cord contains small messengers called vesicles. The vine twists and turns around the damaged statue’s arm to support the tissue, allowing the vesicles to fix the damage. With this piece, I wanted to honour the research my dear friend Professor Marjo Yliperttula has done in her scientific career with vesicles. For years vesicles have been in her life as family members, growing from newborns to puberty, towards adulthood and independence! This project generates a third dimension, which acts as a bridge, guiding the viewer into the scientific world with the help of art, and vice versa. In this piece, the umbilical cord concretely depicts this third dimension between the arts and science and the vesicles in the umbilical cord represent the special bond and connection between a scientist and their subject”.

Renewal I & II

Petra Kaminen Mosher:

FibDex coated with acrylic gesso and encased between Plexiglas.

“FibDex is a wood-derived nanofibrillar cellulose material that was developed by Professor Marjo Yliperttula’s research group at the University of Helsinki. It is used as a wound dressing for burn injuries and skin grafts. It is applied once to the wound to aid healing and regeneration of skin cells. It maintains optimal moisture balance while protecting the wound site from contamination and infection. FibDex as a painting ground acts like a hybrid of paper and fabric. Its naked structure is absorptive and supple. To protect its structure from the acrylic paint and light, it is coated with several layers of acrylic gesso, and set between layers of Plexiglas like a preserved scientific specimen. The imagery of the living birch tree was chosen because it evokes the source and renewability of this innovative material”.

Price: 2900 EUR (1450 EUR for the artist, 1450 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).


Aleksandra (Sasha) Stepanova:

Body corset: polystyrene
Wave light cape: pvh
Light mask: polystyrene, pvh film

“When I became acquainted with the work of the research group, I was impressed by how light can play an important role in drug treatments. To this end, light can either help drugs reach the desired cell type or cause drugs to be released at a particular site. As a designer, I want to convey this idea through the materials used in my pieces. The mask is the vision of a scientist – It reflects light; the cape shows the feeling of waves of light going through the body (the corset itself)”.

Corset 400 EUR (200 EUR for the artist, 200 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)
Cape 300 EUR (150 EUR for the artist, 150 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)
Mask 200 EUR (100 EUR for the artist, 100 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)


Emrecan Tanış:

“When I heard about this project, I became incredibly excited and at the same time a little worried as I do not believe dancing is the best way of telling a complex story. Rather, it is a very special way of transferring emotions. I started my journey from this specific point. How can I show the research via strong emotions? When I meet the scientists I collaborated with, it became immediately obvious I could showcase these emotions. They were not only amazing and passionate about their work, they were also lovely human beings who explained everything in a very understandable manner which helped me thoroughly throughout the creative process. I really hope that I can inspire them as well, with our new creation “Fragment”, which is about the difficulty of separation. In this clip, I focus on the light-activated drug release element of their research”.

A recording of ‘Fragment’ can be viewed at our gallery until the 23rd April with a live performance scheduled for the 15th May 2022 at the Alexander Theatre, Helsinki.

Mammalian Cells II

Tiina Poutanen:

“P-glycoprotein was discovered in the 1970s as researchers sought to understand why some Chinese hamster ovary cell lines used in research were resistant to many amphiphilic drugs. The drawing shows a Chinese hamster cub splattered with various diglycerides reflecting amphiphilic drugs.”

Price: 500 EUR (250 EUR for the artist, 250 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).

Mammalian Cells I

Tiina Poutanen:

“Curcumin can be extracted from the spice turmeric, and it is used as a food colourant and herbal supplement. In studies by the Transporter Group and others, curcumin has been shown to inhibit the action of P-glycoprotein and other transport proteins. P-glycoprotein is found in many organs, e.g., liver, brain, and kidney. In the placenta, it protects the fetus from foreign substances in the mother’s bloodstream. The Transporter Group uses a human embryonic kidney cell line (HEK293 cells) to study transport proteins and the effects of different substances on their function. The artwork shows a group of cells in fetal formation. The use of the plexiglass was inspired by an electrophoresis device used in the research lab and the colour of cell culture medium was acquired by using curcumin on the plexiglass”.

Price: 500 EUR (250 EUR for the artist, 250 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).


Anna Stankevich:

Ink drawing.

This artwork is based on the research into the use of oncolytic viruses in immunotherapy and cancer treatment. It aims to explore the dual nature of a virus, as something that has the potential to both cause harm and heal. The ink drawing aims to visualise these two sides – light and dark, life and decay. The contrast is created through colour, symbolism, and the use of negative and positive space.

Price: 800 EUR (400 EUR for the artist, 400 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).

Neurographic Breath

Eva Adán:

Graphite, inks, and watercolours on cold-pressed watercolour paper.

“This painting was inspired by the interaction I had with the regenerative neuroscience group and learning about their philanthropy and motivation to discover ways to prevent and cure neurodegenerative diseases. As I am interested in holistic health, I began my piece with a mindful drawing process called “Neurographic Art”, discovered and developed by the psychologist Pavel Piskarev, while listening to “Binaural Beats” for healing, focus, and creativity. Meditation helps link our conscious with the subconscious by activating the connections between neurons, reduces stress, and may contribute to preventing cognitive deterioration. After intuitively adding the watercolour and all my personal touches this piece has eventually come to breathe on its own with a graphic style that is more unique and personal than ever and that I will continue working with on my next creations. In general, my artistic work revolves around a deep study of consciousness through various ways of meditation and usually in combination with reading the popular works of some famous scientists. Consciousness exists in a realm of irreducible subjectivity, with which science is not always comfortable”.

Price: 950 EUR (475 EUR for the artist, 475 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).


Be Bold

Lena Blankenstein-Holmström: 

Alcohol ink painting.

“This piece represents both the world seen through a microscope, as well as the atmosphere of a research laboratory. The scientists showed such dedication, passion, and boldness as they explained their research”.

Price: 950 EUR (475 EUR for the artist, 475 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).


Take a breath

Lena Blankenstein-Holmström:

Acrylic painting

“A beige and ivory painting with gold accents. I was inspired to create this painting after looking at mouse brain cells for the first time through a microscope. It was a very touching and breathtaking experience – beautiful despite their inherent violence”.

Price: 920 EUR (460 EUR for the artist, 460 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).

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Okko Alitalo:

Laser etching filled with the ‘world’s blackest visible light absorbing synthetic resin’ and framed in Finnish pine wood.

“Even centuries-old samples preserved on cover-slipped microscope slides remain indistinguishable from recent ones as if they were frozen in time. Akin to these slides, the dark neurones of “Synaptogenesis” are trapped under a transparent shield that interacts with the optical properties of the content underneath. This mandala is a meditation on the birth and death of neuroscience, its relationship with art, and the pursuit to find my place in this equation. The neurones, inspired by the work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, represent the brain structures I’ve researched during my brief time in neuroscience. Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934), the father of modern neuroscience, initially aspired to be an artist but was pressured by his parents to pursue a career in medicine. His Nobel-prize winning research blurred the lines of art and science, as he revolutionised the understanding of how the brain is organised through his intricate illustrations of neurones under a microscope.
Synaptogenesis was created in memory of the late Ronald S. Duman (1954–2020), one of the most influential contemporary neuroscientists studying ketamine. I was honoured to present Ron my exhibition shortly before his passing when he visited our lab”.

Price: 4000 EUR (2000 EUR for the artist, 2000 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund).

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We will get through this

Lotta Sirén:

Acrylic on canvas

“This piece is both very abstract but at the same time, a quite realistic acrylic painting inspired by the pictures of the research project “Cross the cell membrane barrier: how smart polymers transfer therapeutics into cells”. The shapes and fluid feel are inspired by real cells, but the small details happened on their own when different paints interacted. One can search for similar details from the painting and the real images from the research. Feel free to use your imagination and dive in! The title refers to the research but also to these difficult times of the COVID pandemic and war in Ukraine”.

Price: 1000 EUR (334 EUR for the artist, 333 EUR for the sustainable pharmacy fund, and 333 EUR for Plan International Finland: Ukraine emergency appeal).

When the light hits

Leena Salmio:

Acrylic on canvas 

“I show through the painting the encounter of light. In it, I depict different reflections, lenses, colours, and new worlds that open up through the microscope, which cannot otherwise be seen with the naked eye. I was able to view this world via Raman microscopy when I visited Dr Teemu Tomberg’s qCSI lab. As I looked under the microscope, I began to think about how scientists and artists have similarities in the way they look at the world. People do not know about the fascinating new universe behind the microscope that scientists know about – like many small worlds. How different a small tablet or everyday lotion can look through a microscope? I was thinking about the same encounter of colours, play, and coexistence while working on the painting. Lights, shadows, and contrasts are important when painting. We create new worlds, one under the microscope, and the other on canvas. When the light hits, we notice them”.

Price: 1200 EUR (600 EUR for the artist, 600 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)

Planet Human: Microbes inside us

Dr Polina Ilina:

Ink pen and watercolour pencils on artist paper.

A 6-part series illustrating the remarkable world inhabited by microorganisms such as bacteria.

From left to right:
Top row:
1. ’Bacterial talks’ represents bacteria of the gut microbiota exchanging chemical signals for communication.
2. ‘Bacterial cities’ highlights the ability of bacteria to form biofilms to offer protection against antibiotics and the immune system.
3. ‘Friends or foes?’ illustrates a bacterial community on the surface of human skin.

Bottom row:
4. ‘Dangerous attackers’ depicts pathogenic, harmful bacteria attacking the epithelial cells in the human intestine
5. ’Hide-and-seek’ demonstrates bacteria avoiding antibiotics inside the bladder epithelial cells.
6. ‘Drug-eaters’ shows gut bacteria consuming the drug aimed to treat Parkinson’s disease

More detailed insight:

1. Bacteria talks: Bacteria are the most ancient form of life. Scientists estimate that these primitive single-celled organisms appeared on Earth more than 4 billion years ago – about 3 billion years before the first animals and plants. Amazingly, despite their primitive organisation, these organisms have mastered communication, a skill that is typically associated with higher forms of life, such as mammals. These bacterial communications are termed “quorum sensing”, which occur via the production and perception of certain chemical molecules. As a bacterial population grows, the concentration of these signalling molecules in the environment increases, initiating group behaviours such as emission of light, social motility, or formation of biofilms – complex structures that protect bacteria from harmful environments.
Pathogenic bacteria use quorum sensing to synchronise the production of virulence factors. Researchers believe that interrupting this communication mechanism can reduce harm to the human body by desynchronising actions and reducing efficiency. Our bodies would then gain additional time to discover and eliminate the dangerous invaders. In the Bioactivity Screening Group, we develop new experimental models of the infection process and test thousands of compounds with the aim of discovering novel molecules that inhibit bacterial communication.

2. Bacterial cities: Just like us, bacteria also gather together to increase their chance of survival. Such bacterial communities are called biofilms. Biofilms can be found in natural ecosystems such as forests and oceans, and are also responsible for diseases when present in our bodies. Just as people support each other by sharing information and trading resources, bacteria also share acquired knowledge and ways of becoming resistant to antibiotics. The biofilm mode of growth is one such example. This has become a worldwide problem, even recognised by the World Health Organization.
Biofilms are formed when bacteria adhere to surfaces on the human body such as our teeth, or on medical devices like prosthetics or catheters. In our body, bacterial biofilms build walls around their colonies to protect themselves from the immune system and antibiotic treatment. These walls are formed by various bacteria-produced molecules that either prevent the penetration of antibiotics or neutralise them.
The Bioactivity Screening Group studies biofilms through several projects, ranging from deepening our understanding of how this community functions (aiming to identify their weak points) to discovering new agents to defeat them.

3. Friends or foes? The skin is the largest organ of the human body, inhabited by myriads of bacteria and fungi. These microscopic organisms form a protective layer to prevent the growth of pathogenic species and to control skin immunity. Disruption of the skin microbiome can result in dry itchy skin, inflammation, or more serious clinical conditions. The composition and well-being of our skin microbiome are affected by many different factors, for example, our diet, smoking, and exposure to UV light and air pollution. In certain conditions, these innocuous microbes may become harmful. For example, Staphylococcus species happily living on healthy skin can also colonise wounds and cause chronic wound infections that are difficult to treat.
One of the research directions of the Bioactivity Screening Group is the development of natural product-based antibacterial wound dressings.

4. Dangerous attackers: The intestine hosts a vast microbial community. In fact, our body contains more microbial cells than human cells. These residents assist with a variety of critical duties. For example, many important nutrients such as fibres and breast milk are digested by them. They also aid in immunological responses and are thought to have an impact on mental health.
When this system is out of balance or invaded by pathogenic bacteria whose lifestyle necessitates the exploitation of the host, health problems can arise. For example, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli is a bacterium that causes gut damage by forcing intestinal cells to detach from one another and damages hair-like surface structures at the cell surface called microvilli.
One of the research aims of the Bioactivity Screening Group is to discover drugs that can prevent enteropathogenic Escherichia coli from destroying intestinal cells, thus rendering it harmless. The microorganisms are studied using automated microscopy while testing various new compounds in the search for inhibiting drugs.

5. Hide-and-seek: Uropathogenic Escherichia coli is a pathogenic bacterium that causes over 80% of community-acquired urinary tract infections. With the help of special surface structures, bacterial cells move towards the cells that line the bladder and attach to them. Some bacteria manage to bypass the protection of the cell surface, penetrating the bladder cells where they then multiply. These stealthy intracellular communities hide from the immune system and the majority of antibiotics. Days or even months later, these bacteria emerge from the cell, causing recurrent urinary tract infections.
In the Bioactivity Screening Group, we aim to model the infection process by co-culturing bacteria and human cells in multi-well plates. Using these models, we hope to discover molecules that are able to penetrate the cell membrane and kill the hidden enemy.

6. Drug eaters: There are trillions of bacteria inhabiting the human gastrointestinal tract. Scientists have just begun to understand the many ways in which these gut-dwelling bacteria affect our health. Gut bacteria play a very important role in our health by helping control digestion, boosting our immune system, and many other aspects of health.
However, sometimes these bacteria can also cause trouble – especially in people taking the Parkinson’s disease medication, levodopa. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease affecting approximately 1–2% of people over the age of 60, and levodopa is the most commonly prescribed drug that relieves the symptoms of this disease.
It has been recently discovered that many members of a specific group of gut bacteria known as Enterococcus have an enzyme that allows them to consume this Parkinson’s disease drug before the body is able to absorb it – which of course greatly reduces its efficacy! The aim of one project in the Bioactivity Screening Group is to develop compounds that can stop this drug-eating bacteria from consuming the drug, without harming the otherwise healthy gut microbiome.

Whisper of Nature

Marianne Valonlehto:

Acrylic on canvas.

“Nature brought us together. As an artist my aim is to remind people about nature. With nature, I mean our beautiful forests and wildlife, but also nature, the true inner essences in us. The essence of being alive – the essence of our own nature. It was inspiring to collaborate with researchers Polina Ilina and Karmen Kapp who had their research projects related to nature. It was fascinating to hear insights about antivirals from chaga mushroom and antimicrobial yarns from willow. Regarding this I found it very interesting to combine chaga mushroom as a part of my painting process. When I started to plan this project and painting, I was spending a lot of time in the forest. I was walking around the forest and wondering about the beauty of nature and all the different details and aspects of it. Before I started my painting process, I cleaned up my space and made some chaga tea. My painting process was meditative and chaga tea and calming nature sounds were an essential part of it. Finnish nature and chaga gave me the inspiration for this painting. This was what chaga and nature whispered to me”.

Price: 1470 EUR (735 EUR for the artist, 735 for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)

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Özgü Gündeşlioğlu:

Ceramics, glaze & slip.

“Just like scientists experiment with different substances to produce drugs; as an artist, I test alternative materials to find the right coating for the texture or colour of my ceramics. In this project, I wanted to find out how similarities exist in the process of both artistic and scientific research. For this reason, I conducted dozens of experiments on ceramic glazes with waste materials that are regularly used in the medicinal chemistry laboratory such as silica, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) paper, and disposable/broken glass tubes. Row is an installation of these ceramic glazes and slip test pieces designed to point out the interface between art and science through material and non-linear processes”.

Price: 1450 EUR (725 EUR for the artist, 725 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)

After the storm

Marina Zitting:

Oil on canvas.

“In my painting process, I search for new themes, colours, and materials to create new art pieces that help me understand the life I am living. To discover something new, I have to throw myself into the unknown and sometimes I find something worth developing into an art piece. When I am satisfied with my painting, I hope I can reach other people and share the feeling. While visiting the medicinal chemistry laboratories in Viikki, I saw many ways of executing scientific experiments to develop medicines that allow people to live a better life. The working process inspired me, as I saw similarities with the artistic working process”.

Price: 2300 EUR (1150 EUR for the artist, 1150 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund) 

Uncharted Territory

Shannon Amey:

Acrylic mixed media on canvas 

“I met with the Airavaara lab and kept detailed notes of our discussions. It was clear we shared collective energy and vision. The scientists introduced me to brain cells, which are part of their research. In this work we brought the brain cells back to life, from scientific microscopy images through an artist’s hand. I loved how each scientist had an individualistic way of presenting their research. In contemplating the painting, I took into account the types of metaphors and language the scientists used when describing their work. I was largely inspired by the visual content provided to accompany the research, particularly how the pseudo-coloured immunofluorescent microscopy images were presented. I wanted to emanate ideas such as “astrocytes chatting with neurons”,  “dopamine neurones ready to party!”, “fireballs of ischemic stroke”, “flags for the guardians of the brain”, “microglia are the gardeners, pruning and cleaning, keeping the brain garden tidy and flowering”. I was also drawn to the differences between the dopamine neuron and the capnella corals, which offered a different type of visual structure. The painting was guided by all the energy gleaned from the research and the scientists”.

Price: 2900 EUR (1450 EUR for artist, 1450 EUR for the faculty’s sustainable pharmacy fund)