Who are you, what do you do and how long have you worked at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine?
I am Mikael Niku, University Lecturer of Anatomy and Developmental Biology. I oversee the Toimiva elimistö (“Functional organism”) module offered during the early stages of studies and teach microscopic anatomy, comparative anatomy (fish, reptiles, birds), and developmental biology. My research focuses on foetal intestinal microbiota and its impact on the development of the immune system. I also maintain the Faculty’s laser microdissection instruments and train users from various University units. I came to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 to work on my dissertation. I then spent a few years elsewhere, but returned because the place is so much fun!
What stands out as important in your work in 2015?
We launched our new research project and received three-year funding for it. It was great for me personally, as well as for the whole Department, what with the University’s finances being so tight. I spent a few months in the summer at the Faculty of Veterinary Science in Melbourne, which was a fruitful and eye-opening experience. “At home” I continued to help develop teaching with my colleague Juha Laakkonen, who, like me, is a member of the Teachers’ Academy.
What is the best thing about your work?
That would be our brilliant, enthusiastic students – plus being able to teach and research interesting topics, not to mention the great team spirit among my colleagues.
What are your plans for 2016?
I am recruiting my first “own” doctoral student. I hope our cooperation will get the research project off the ground and teach me a lot. I will also continue to contribute to the development of teaching. We are dealing with multiple changes, and my workplace may look very different come summer. However, there’s nothing much I can do about it, so I try not to worry too much and instead focus on handling my duties as best I can and helping others succeed as well.