For the past eight years, the Wihuri Research Institute (WRI) has continued its mission in Vascular Biology, Stem Cell and Atherosclerosis Research in the Helsinki Academic Medical Center. The technological platform, location and openminded atmosphere in the Institute allows its investigators to innovate together with scientists working in many areas of biomedical research globally.
The Institute PIs continue to train further generations of graduate students and postdoctoral investigators, thus influencing transformation of the Institute into teams that work on diverse questions, with a common goal to solve key unanswered questions of the cardiovascular system, stem cells and science for regenerative medicine.
Scientists in the Institute focus on vessels in the heart, adipose tissues, skeletal muscle and skin, as well as obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, because these are important in cardiovascular diseases. Studies are also ongoing on lymphatic vessels around the brain to learn how they relate to Alzheimer’s disease and neuroinflammation.
The Institute has made strong contributions in the fields of cardiovascular and lymphatic vascular biology, and it contributes by developing unique and important technology platforms based on vascular growth factors. Starting from the strong tradition and ongoing work on atherosclerosis research in the Wihuri Research Institute, it has become a collaborative network, where organ-specific vasculatures are studied in normal steady state and in pathological conditions that relate to many common human diseases.
In order to truly understand why and how the pathogenesis evolves in these diseases, our scientists address basic cellular and molecular mechanisms. The Institute groups enjoy the advanced development of technologies that provide new ways of addressing scientific questions. The Institute’s groups increasingly apply novel technologies, such as genome editing, single cell RNA sequencing and stem cell/organoid cultures, which are expected to significantly advance the Institute’s research goals during the future years.
The Institute meets the challenges of the accelerating pace of technology development by increased re-education and training, collaboration and networking, including free flow of ideas concerning the most efficient, rapid and least costly modes of operation, for example by sharing of the full capacity of instruments and core facilities of the University of Helsinki with the dedicated long-term personnel.