The University of Turku team is involved in preparation of SUNRISE Scientific and Technological roadmap and Energy-X Research Needs Report


The University of Turku partnership in SUNRISE consortium is represented by Eva-Mari Aro and Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne. SUNRISE has been selected by the European Commission as one of the six candidates in the Horizon2020 call “FETFLAG-01-2018”. Funding of this CSA runs until March 2020. Recently SUNRISE and Energy-X (another EU CSA initiative selected by EU) announced the joint cooperation as a major step towards building a climate neutral EU. Merged SUNRISE and ENERGY-X projects will start in 2020 and aim to develop sustainable approaches for the storage of solar energy through its conversion to fuels and commodity chemicals using abundant molecules such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen. Our CoE has contributed to the development of joint Energy-X Research Needs Report, which was launched and presented to representatives from the European Commission September 26, 2019, in Brussels (you can download the report from Currently the University of Turku representatives are involved in finalizing the SUNRISE Scientific and Technological roadmap and blueprint for the implementation of the SUNRISE short to long-term objectives.


Tillandz Prize


Congratulations to Yagut Allahverdiyeva's team for the Elias Tillanz prize for the best scientific paper published in 2018 in the BioCity Turku



The winning paper 'A new approach for sustained and efficient H2 photoproduction by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii' was published in Energy & Environmental Science.


Congrats to our new PhDs!

Congratulations to our new CoE PhDs

Sanna Rantala, Turku

Julia Walter, Turku

Yugo Lima-Melo, Turku

Aleksia Vaattovaara, Helsinki

Matleena Punkkinen, Turku

Mikael Jämsä, Turku

Veronica Carbonell Gonzalez, Turku


Congrats Pooneh!


Congratulations to our PhD student Pooneh Sotoudehnia for placing second in the University of Turku's 3 Minute Thesis competition with the talk 'From food waste to saving lives'


Partners in the EU Project SUNRISE

The photosynthesis research group at the University of Turku is a partner in The European Project SUNRISE, “Solar energy for a circular economy” (, which has been selected as one of the six Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) within the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Funded with €1M, it will last one year (starting in spring 2019), setting the basis for a European large scale research project. The SUNRISE Vision is a radical and ambitious scientific and technological approach for solar energy conversion and storage to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil-based, energy-intensive production of fuels and base chemicals. This is fully aligned with the recently released European Commission long-term strategy for a climate neutral Europe by 2050. SUNRISE joins together stakeholders from academia, industry, policy and society, including NGOs and global players in the energy, chemicals and automotive sectors, to develop the S&T roadmap of a large research initiative in the Energy, Environment and Climate Change area.

Click here for a Nature article about the 6 CSA


Summer PhDs

Summer 2018

Congratulations to our four new CoE PhDs

Juha Immanen, Helsinki

Lauri Nikkanen, Turku

Minna Koskela, Turku

Gayathri Murukesan, Turku


Congrats Marjaana!


Congratulations to Marjaana Rantala on the successful defence of her PhD thesis "Composition and phosphorylation-dependent functional interactions of thylakoid protein complexes in Arabidopsis".


Thanks to opponent Prof. Stefano Caffarri (Aix-Marseille University, France) who facilitated a technical and probing discussion.


Congrats Moona!


Congratulations to Moona Rahikainen on the successful defence of her PhD thesis "Plant defence and stress acclimation: regulation by protein phosphatase 2A".

Thanks to Moona's opponent Prof. Karl-Josef Dietz (University of Bielefeld, Germany) who promoted an engaging discussion today and yesterday presented his exciting research on the retrograde control of transcription and translation in high light response.




CoE director Eva-Mari Aro has again been recognized for her contributions to the world of scientific research. This time being elected as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS, USA).


Eva-Mari's election as a foreign associate of NAS recognizes her distinguished & continuing achievements in original research


For more information see:

Photo credit: Hanna Oksanen


Academy Award!


Congratulations to our CoE Director and Academician Eva-Mari Aro, who was awarded the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Academy Award for 2018! 


The Academy Award is the most prominent recognition from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and is awarded annually to recognize the scientific career of an especially distinguished member.


For more information see:


Heippa Tony!


We farewell UTU's recent visitor, Prof. Tony Larkum, who is helping to validate the capabilities of our new Dual PAM/MIMS system, being developed by postdoc Duncan Fitzpatrick. In addition to integrating the Dual PAM with the MIMS, Duncan’s new cuvette incorporates an externally triggered high intensity far red light pulse timed to overlap with the standard saturating pulse when determining Pm’. This allows for a more accurate determination of steady state values for PSI acceptor side limitation, and will enable the estimation of rates of cyclic electron transport around PSI (based on methods of Fred Chow and group) during steady state photosynthesis. The new system can also incorporate the Walz Dual KLAS NIR to deconvolute plastocyanin and ferredoxin redox states, whilst correlating them to fluxes of CO2 fixation and O2 evolution/consumption. This will be useful in further elucidating the roles of ferredoxin in the thylakoid membrane.

It is hoped that we will eventually use this system to probe a number of Prof Larkum's hypotheses with respect to coral bleaching, by measuring numerous photosynthetic parameters in the coral symbionts subject to high temperature stress. On the other end of the thermal spectrum, we will examine winter acclimated Spruce at temperatures as low as -20 °C in the cuvette itself.

Thanks also to the UTU workshop team of Pasi Saarenmaa, Molecular Plant Biology's technician Tapio Ronkainen, and PhD student Steffen Grebe.​

Blue bioeconomy



NordAqua visited Turun Norssi to talk to young students about the blue bioeconomy & introduce some of our  microalgal research. Special thanks to Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne and her group for organizing the visit which hopefully inspired some budding young scientists!


Congrats Tuomas!


Congratulations to Tuomas Huokko for the successful defence of his PhD thesis "Integrative regulation of major bioenergetic pathways in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803".

Thanks also to the opponent Prof. Nir Keren (Israel) who ensured an interesting discussion for all.

3MT finals!


Congrats to PhD students Daniel Solymosi & Anita Santana Sanchez for making the final of the University of Turku 3MT Three Minute Thesis Competition!


SE2B meeting

20 - 22.02.18

SE2B meeting "Nanoscale Dynamics of the Thylakoid Pigment‐Protein Complexes" is held in Naantali, Finland. Key notes: Alexey Amunts "Advances in cryo‐EM for studies of pigment‐protein complexes" & Nathan Nelson "X‐ray structures of thylakoid complexes". SE2B is a Horizon 2020 project.For more info see:

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

Molecular Biology of Primary Producers

An Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence