On May 8th, the ILS Doctoral Program announced the awards for Mentor of the year 2016. Last fall, the ILS student council invited nominations from all ILS students, asking them to describe the appreciable qualities of their mentors.
A total of 8 nominations were received, highlighting the positive aspects of the mentors such as:
- Letting the student to be independent
- Letting them make decisions regarding their projects
- Giving importance to brainstorming regarding the students project, especially in the beginning
- Being excited about the students project
- Motivating the students in the face of negative results
- Having a social and friendly relationship with the student
Dr. Krister Wennerberg and Dr. David Fewer were chosen as the mentors of the year, based on the testimonials. Krister Wennerberg is a PI at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) and David Fewer works at the Division of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences.
The awardees mentioned in their acceptance speech that they were extremely honored by receiving this award. They think that as a PI it’s also their responsibility to train the next generation of scientists, and a good way to do this is to get the students to be excited about their projects so that they are the ones who are driving it forward. And the best way to do that is to discuss about ideas and brainstorm with the students and let the student figure the way out himself/herself.
Nominations also included Eija Jokitalo (EM Unit, BI), Maarja Mikkola (Developmental Biology Program, BI), Susanna Fagerholm (Biosciences), Frederic Michon (Developmental Biology Program, BI), Andrii Domanskyi (BI), Eeva Sievi (DS Health) and Erkki Raulo (ILS) who were also acknowledged and felicitated at the event.
We congratulate both mentors and nominees and wish them to keep up their good work as role models.
ILS Student Council
Pia Kinaret is a PhD student at the Institute of Biotechnology, in the research group led by Dario Greco. She is studying alternative approaches for nanomaterial safety assessment, and has recently published an article on this topic. Congratulations Pia!
A suitable alternative for nanomaterial toxicity testing
The world is going nano! Nanoscience is a very rapidly growing field of research. Nanotechnology, nanostructure and nanoparticles are now commonplace terms and have revolutionized various aspects of our daily lives. Nanomaterials are already being used in cosmetics, cleaning products and our food, and have the potential to make supercomputers that will fit in our pockets. One very promising area is the use of nanoparticles as vehicles for drug delivery to targeted tissue sites such as tumor. But, how grave are the consequences when these particles pile up in the environment or inside us?
Technically, nanomaterials are any particles with at least one dimension less than 100 nanometers. The inherent shape and size of the nanomaterials makes them an oddball for our immune system to handle. Similar to asbestos, inhaled nanomaterials can be hazardous; cause severe asthma-type symptoms, granuloma formation, fibrosis and cardiovascular diseases. As the number of engineered nanomaterials is increasing exponentially, understanding the physiological effects of exposure to nanomaterials and developing toxicity standard for nanomaterials is of great importance. Therefore, Pia and colleagues  have studied an efficient and cost-effective method to assess nanomaterial toxicity.
The most common route of human exposure to nanomaterials is through respiration. State-of-the-art method for studying the airway-exposure of nanomaterials is via inhalation method, in which lab mice are exposed to aerosolized nanomaterial. However, this is cumbersome and time-consuming. Alternatively, this could be studied by oropharyngeal aspiration, in which the nanomaterial is introduced to animal airways as a liquid dispersion. Aspiration is much faster and cost-effective method compared to inhalation, however it is not yet clear whether the two methods are comparable.
Pia  studied the responses of lab mice exposed to carbon-based nanomaterials by inhalation and aspiration method at various doses. She found that the immune responses of the mice at low doses of aspiration were comparable to that of inhalation. Also, the responses at molecular level in terms of the gene expression changes and induced biological functions were also very similar. Pia thus concludes that aspiration is a valid alternative to the inhalation method for assessment of nanomaterial toxicity.
- Inhalation and Oropharyngeal Aspiration Exposure to Rod-Like Carbon Nanotubes Induce Similar Airway Inflammation and Biological Responses in Mouse Lungs. Kinaret P, Ilves M, Fortino V, Rydman E, Karisola P, Lähde A, Koivisto J, Jokiniemi J, Wolff H, Savolainen K, Greco D, Alenius H. ACS Nano. 2017 Jan 24;11(1):291-303.
Venue: Biomedicum 1, Meeting room 3, P-floor
Timing: 15:30 onwards
Presenter: Abhishekh Gupta, Post-doc, Group Aittokallio, FIMM
Drug response quantification: past, present and future
Quantifying drug response is crucial for assessing vulnerabilities of cancer cells, and plays an important role in drug discovery. In this talk, I will present state-of-the-art methods to infer drug response from high-throughput drug screening experiments. In addition, I will illustrate a novel Normalized Drug Response (NDR) metric which realistically captures full-spectrum of the drug-induced effects. The drug sensitivity scores based on this metric are able to precisely capture the drug’s biological behavior, aiding the differentiation of drugs as into distinct drug-classes, namely lethal, sub-effective, effective and growth-stimulatory.