Cutting-edge vascular biology continues at the Wihuri Research Institute

Taija Mäkinen appointed as new director of the Wihuri Research Institute

Taija Mäkinen has been appointed to become the Wihuri Research Institute (WRI) Director starting in 2024. Like the current director Kari Alitalo, Taija has outstanding expertise in lymphatic vascular biology. Taija is currently doing research in Sweden at Uppsala University. With her contributions, she has revolutionized our understanding of how lymphatic vessels form and grow (10.1016/j.celrep.2015.02.026, 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.306170).

The Wihuri Research Institute, located at Biomedicum Helsinki, was founded and is funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. It focuses on cardiovascular and vascular biology. This research is essential for the development of new treatments for heart disease. However, blood and lymphatic vessels penetrate nearly all body organs and play a role in almost all diseases, including inflammatory and infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and vascular malformations or hypoplasia. Therefore, the research done at the WRI opens avenues for treating many diseases beyond heart disease.

The Board of Trustees of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation has made an excellent choice, even though I am biased for many reasons. I do similar research, and I worked in the same lab as Taija during our Ph.D. education. Unnecessary to mention that Taija graduated faster than I did...