Molecular Biology of Primary Producers (MBPP) is a Center of Excellence (CoE) funded by the Academy of Finland (2014-2019). We foster a strong connection between photosynthesis research and modern plant molecular biology research.

The CoE is built on 3 Core Competence Areas: photosynthesis; plant stress and acclimation; and plant development. Four team leaders drive research in our core areas. From the University of Turku Academician, Prof. Eva-Mari Aro (director of the CoE) and Dr. Esa Tyystjärvi lead on multidisciplinary photosynthesis and emerging solarfuels research. From the University of Helsinki, Prof. Jaakko Kangasjärvi (vice-director of the CoE) and Prof. Yrjö Helariutta lead research in plant signaling during stress and development. A particular feature of our CoE is the strong integration of several sub-group leaders with particular expertise in research interfaces between the Core Competence Areas. 

CoE Director

+358 50 430 4639

CoE Vice-director

+358 50 415 0428


+44(0)1223 761144

University Teacher

+358 50 438 2766



​The main goal of the MBPP CoE is to remove barriers between different plant biology disciplines in order to form a more complete view of photoautotrophic communication within the plant, which is considered as a single entity subject to dynamic environments. Our strong basic research in the three core research areas also provides an important platform for new innovations towards sustainable bioenergy production.

It is our firm belief that strong investment in interface research areas provides the opportunity for a paradigm shift in our understanding of plant function and environmental response. Here, the whole plant can be considered as a single unit comprised of highly integrated regulatory networks which operate between different cell compartments, from the shoot to the root. Lack of such knowledge has been a major obstacle in previous attempts to improve plant productivity and stress tolerance.

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Molecular Biology of Primary Producers

An Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence