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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

My research

I am interested in the basic mechanisms involved when bacteria infect the human host. My research group studies at the molecular level the secretion, biogenesis and function of bacterial surface proteins and protein appendages involved in infectious processes. We also apply these bacterial protein complexes in extracellular secretion and surface display of heterologous proteins with the aim to generate biotechnological, medical or diagnostic applications.

For more information about my research and research group, please visit our homepage  





Education information


MSc, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1986

PhD, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1991

Adjunct professor (Molecular microbiology), University of Helsinki, Finland, 1993


External positions

R&D Microbiologist, Orion Diagnostica Oy

1 Aug 200031 Jul 2001


  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Molecular microbiology
  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • 318 Medical biotechnology

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 1987 2016

Penicillin binding protein 3 of Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 8325-4 binds and activates human plasminogen.

Kylväjä, S. R. K., Ojalehto, T. H. I., Kainulainen, V. L., Virkola, R. T. H. & Westerlund-Wikström, B. A., 4 Aug 2016, In : BMC research notes. 9, 10 p., 389.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Fermentation and dry fractionation increase bioactivity of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)

Puupponen-Pimiä, R., Nohynek, L., Juvonen, R., Kössö, T., Truchado, P., Westerlund-Wikström, B. A., Leppänen, T., Moilanen, E. & Oksman-Caldentey, K-M., 14 Nov 2015, In : Food Chemistry. 197 , Part A, p. 950–958

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Comparative genomics of Lactobacillus crispatus suggests novel mechanisms for the competitive exclusion of Gardnerella vaginalis

Ojala, T., Kankainen, M., Castro, J., Cerca, N., Edelman, S., Westerlund-Wikstroem, B., Paulin, L., Holm, L. & Auvinen, P., 5 Dec 2014, In : BMC Genomics. 15, 21 p., 1070.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Colony Immunoblotting Assay for Detection of Bacterial Cell-surface or Extracellular Proteins

Lehti, T. A. & Westerlund-Wikström, B., 5 Sep 2013, In : Bio-Protocol. 3, 17

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

Cytotoxic response persists in subjects treated for tuberculosis decades ago

Savolainen, L., Koskivirta, P., Kantele, A., Valleala, H., Pusa, L., Tuompo, R., Westerlund-Wikström, B. & Tuuminen, T., 5 Dec 2013, In : BMC Infectious Diseases. 13, 11 p., 573.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Projects 1997 2018

Tekes / Salwe 2014 / Westerlund-Wikström Research Program

Westerlund-Wikström, B. & Brandt, A.


Project: Research project

Functional phenolics

Heinonen, M., Kylli, P., Maarit, R., Viljanen, K., Vuorela, S., Salminen, H., Kähkönen, M., Puupponen-Pimiä, R., Nohynek, L., Vuorela, H., Moilanen, E., Westerlund-Wikström, B. & Ollilainen, V.


Project: Research project

Activities 1987 2018

Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE (Organisational unit)

Benita Westerlund-Wikström (Member)
1 Oct 201830 Sep 2021

Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in research network

Pre-examiner of MSc thesis by Natalie Istomin

Benita Westerlund-Wikström (Participant)
Feb 2018

Activity: Other activity typesOther

Pre-examiner of MSc thesis by J.M. Tofayel Chowdhury

Benita Westerlund-Wikström (Pre-examiner)
May 2018

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)

Functions of probiotics, postbiotics and prebiotics on supporting skin health

Benita Westerlund-Wikström (Supervisor)
16 Apr 2018 → …

Activity: Examination typesMember of doctoral thesis committee / follow-up group

Co-supervisor of MSc thesis by Satu Paavonsalo

Benita Westerlund-Wikström (Co-supervisor)
May 2018

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)