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Hilkka Lankinen

  • Finland


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Description of research and teaching

Lankinen, Hilkka, Docent of biochemistry (1993)

Born: December 16, 1951, Alatornio, Finland

EDUCATION PhD Karolinska Institute (KI), Biochemistry I, Stockholm, 1986; MSci  University of Helsinki, Dept of Biochemistry, 1978.

 PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND Senior scientist, Dept of Virology, Haartman Institute (HI), Sep 1991 -> Research director, founder of Peptide and protein laboratory, HI, Jul 1994 -> Post-doctoral fellow, protein chemist and enzymologist in peptide based antiviral drug development program (Glaxo Ltd. U.K.), Medical Research Council (MRC) Virology Unit, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1987 - 1991. Ph.D. student, Medical Nobel Institute, Biochemistry I, KI, Stockholm, 1979–1986. Thesis: Mechanisms of overexpression of ribonucleaotide reductase in hydryurea resistant cells and in cells infected with herpesvirus. MOST IMPORTANT SHORT TERM FOREIGN LABORATORY VISITS OF FORMATIVE ROLE were  EMBO short term fellowship, University of Glasgow (Prof. Richard Elliott) 1992 (Nov-Dec); M.I.T. Chemistry U.S.A. (Prof. JoAnne Stubbe) 1998 (in July)

SUPERVISED GRADUATIONS AND DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS (AS SUPERVISOR APPOINTED BY HELSINKI UNIVERSITY) Eng.Biotech. Jussi Hepojoki, M.Sci., Helsinki University, 2008 -> PhD student; Tomas Strandin, M.Sci.Tech, Helsinki University of Technology, 2004 -> PhD student; M.D. Xiaodong Li Ph.D. Thesis: Cellular mechanisms of hantavirus induced apoptosis, University of Helsinki, 2005; M.Sc. eThesis HU M.Sci. Tuomas Heiskanen Ph.D. Thesis: Phage-displayed peptide libraries in the study of Puumala virus neutralization, University of Helsinki, 2003, ISBN 952-10-1302-8, Yliopistopaino, Helsinki

SCIENTIFIC EXPERT POSITIONS AND MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC POSITIONS OF TRUST The first Finnish Council of the European Peptide Society (2002-2010, (1997-2005, founder of the Finnish Peptide Society ( and Organizer of the 30th European Peptide Symposium (30EPS) Helsinki, Finland Hall, (Aug 31-Sep 5), 2008 ( /closed).

Big instruments in peptide and protein chemistry: Slide Spotter, Intavis arrayer, MultiPep Intavis peptide synthesizer (;  BioCAD protein purification workstation (; Biacore 2000™ biosensor (University of Helsinki, Biocentrum Helsinki grant);;     Applied Biosystems 433A Automated Peptide Synthesizer


Experimental supervision, teaching and collaborations in protein interaction analytics, in peptide chemistry and macromolecular interaction kinetics at University of Helsinki (1994 onward), including undergraduate and graduate courses in relevant topics (1991->) and in Infection biology research program (2006->), Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki( Research collaboration in Helsinki University Nanotechnology Training and Research (HENAKOTO) program, graduate and undergraduate projects at Aalto and Helsinki universities, 2008-2011 ongoing in UV-LED directed photoactivation peptide chemistries for nanoarray chips, at Helsinki University, Haartman Institute Peptide and Protein Laboratory (Docent Hilkka Lankinen team) & at Helsinki University of Technology (Aalto University), Dept of Micro- and Nanosciences (Prof Harri Lipsanen team, ; and incudingTekes NAMI/MOST collaboration with Dept of Nanobiotechnology and Nanomedicine, Suzhou Institute of Nano-tech and Nano-bionics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (Assistant professor Li Jiong ;

TRANSMED master of science program, lectures in molecular diagnostics (2011), 30281.

Ed-in-Chief of  the Finnish“Solubiologi” magazine (2011-2013) 

Assisting teacher in clinical chemistry (Människokroppens grundläggande kemi), Karolinska Institute (1979-1984).


1. 30th EPS Abstract book, J. Pept. Sci. 2008 14: 8, Suppl., Ed-in-chief

2. The European Peptide Society Newsletter 2008, Number 39

3. The American Peptide Society Newsletter 2008, Volume 5, Number 2

4. Peptides 2008, Proc of 30th European Peptide Symposium, Ed. 


The basic concept in which our research relies on is that understanding of disease mechanisms is through protein interactions. The ongoing genomes wide functional proteome mapping effort requires sufficient tools and a number of approaches. Our aim is to resolve chemistries and biochemistries of macromolecular interactions, thus the approach is reductionist. By limiting research to one or a related set of interactions of possibly known biological function we further highlight an interaction in terms of its strength, rate and duration, and via identification of interaction sites. The protein interaction interphases (epitopes versus paratopes) as areas stand for a fraction of an average protein surface area. Thus, recognition of a few amino acid residue side chain, be it by protein, nucleic acid, sugar or lipid interaction, may in relevant biological setting have a biochemical and a biological consequence.

 Peptide and protein chemistries offer excellent views to chemistries and biochemistries of protein interaction interphases and thus to functions of proteome. In peptide chemistry, functional centres of proteins are targeted directly, in combinatorial peptide chemistry through binding sites (arrays, libraries, chips, sensors), and in bioactive molecules via capture of independent functions (peptides and their mimets that are increasingly important in biopharma).

Cell culture model and tissue imaging, blood circulation and body secreta diagnostics, all benefit greatly from light sensitive detection, in these, peptide chemistry solutions allow macromolecular targeting and thereby assist mapping of the functional proteome.  

In our own research we use Puumala hantavirus as the model in mapping of functional interaction sites in a virus proteome. We aim through this research to indentification of antiviral targets and drug discovery. A viral genome consist of a few up to a hundred genes which, compared to the human genome (~30.000 genes) is small. Still, a virus infection, from its reproduction in cells to clearance from infectious site, leads to many host interactions (tens or hundreds). These interactions cause alterations, repressions and activations in host protein functions and gene expressions, and as a consequence an infectious disease.

We have through collaborative research at Haartman Institute provided background information especially for proteins that are important in infection, cancer and cell biologies (see References).

Peptide and Protein Laboratory at Haartman Institute is dedicated to synthetic peptide chemistry and protein interaction studies. With communally recruited instrumentation we collaborate in basic research and support research and development in medical diagnostics and in drug discovery. Our research contributions in macromolecular interaction kinetics and peptide chemistry may have impacts in so called translational research from basic research to applications in practical medicine and pharmacology.  

Fields of Science

  • 3111 Biomedicine