The CoE’s main research interests were cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes: their pathogenic mechanisms, genetic background, new clinical treatments and methods of prevention.
Cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes as well as the related problem of obesity are a major and ever-growing health concern in Finland. The CoE represented the international cutting edge in this line of work: its greatest strengths were its expertise in molecular biology and genetics combined with unique patient datasets and clinical intervention studies.
The CoE’s aim was to elucidate the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, myocardial ischaemia, heart failure, obesity and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, scientists at the CoE were working to develop new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases. They applied state-of-the-art methods of gene technology, gene therapy and genome analysis, linked with data obtained from patient records.
The results can help improve the effectiveness of existing methods of treatment and possibly lead to the development of entirely new types of treatments.
The CoE was headed by Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala from the University of Kuopio. It was based at the universities of Kuopio and Oulu, combining the research work that had been done there in cardiovascular diseases. It also enhanced the cooperation in the fields of research and education between two biocentres, i.e. the A.I. Virtanen Institute and Biocenter Oulu.
The CoE had a staff of 95, including 38 PhD researchers.