Photo of Kristiina Hilden
  • PL 56 (Viikinkaari 9)



  • Viikinkaari 9, Biocenter 1

    00790 Helsinki


1993 …2021
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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I am the principal investigator in the Fungal Genetics and Biotechnology group which studies plant biomass modifying enzymes from asco- and basidiomycete fungi. The research focuses on various aspects of fungal molecular biology and enzymology. Lignocellulose, particularly lignin, degradation has been the long term interest at the Division of Microbiology and Biotechnology. Our research has provided strong international contribution in the field of fungal and enzymatic degradation of lignin and lignocellulose.

Our most recent projects focus on the aromatic metabolism of basidiomycete fungi and enzymatic valorization of lignin. The project Aromafung aims to detail understanding of aromatic metabolism in lignin-degrading basidiomycete fungi. EU-funded project FALCON aims to convert lignin-rich industrial waste of 2G biofuel plants to higher value products, in particular shipping fuels, fuel additives and chemical building blocks.

The long-term research interest is functional genomics of plant biomass degrading fungi from various biotopes. Our on-going studies include different and complementary points of view: i) Genome mining and characterization of novel plant biomass modifying activities and fungal carbon metabolism, ii) Elucidating the difference in plant biomass strategies between ascomycetes and basidiomycetes iii) More applied projects aiming to the production of antioxidants and iv) Heterologous production of novel catalysts for lignin valorisation.

Research activities:

  1. Fuel and chemicals from lignin through enzymatic and chemical conversion (FALCON) EU-H2020-NMBP-BIO-2016, (2017-2020)
  2. Dissecting aromatic metabolism in lignin-degrading basidiomycete fungi (Aromafung), Academy of Finland project, (2016-2020)
  3. Production of high quality lignin from technical lignins by enzymatic catalysis (LigniCat), Novo Nordisk Foundation, (2016-2019)
  4. Optimized esterase biocatalysts for cost-effective industrial production (OPTIBIOCAT) EU-FP7, KBBE-.2013.3.3-04, (2013-2017)
  5. Sustainable biomass conversions by highly efficient catalytic processes (SUBICAT) EU-FP7, Marie Curie-ITN, (2013-2017)
  6. Enzymes for selective cleavage of lignin (Ph.D. project of Mila Marinovic)
  7. Plant biomass modifying enzymes of ascomycete fungi  (Ph.D. project of Sadegh Mansouri)
  8. Aromatic compound metabolizing enzymes in ascomycete (Ph.D. project of April Liwanag)

International collaboration:

Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands: Elucidating the difference in plant biomass strategies between ascomycetes and basidiomycetes. Project members: Kristiina Hildén (PI), Miia Mäkelä (PI), Ronald de Vries (PI), Miaomiao Zhou, Ad Wiebenga,

Concordia University, Montreal, Canada: Dissection of strategies for plant biomass degradation by Dichomitus squalens. Project members: Adrian Tsang (PI), Kristiina Hildén (PI), Miia Mäkelä (PI), Ronald de Vries (PI), Johanna Rytioja (post-doc)

Joint Genome Institute, USA: Comparative analysis of Aspergilli to facilitate novel strategies in fungal biotechnology.

Joint Genome Institute, USA: Comparative analysis of 3 Pycnoporus species: P. sanguineus, P. coccineus and P. cinnabarinus

Joint Genome Institute, USA: Genome of the polypore Obba rivulosa. Project members: Otto Miettinen (coordinator), Kristiina Hildén, Miia Mäkelä, David Hibbett (Clark University, USA), Joseph Spatafora (Oregon State University, USA), Igor Grigoriev (USDA Joint Genome Institute, USA), Kerrie Barry (USDA Joint Genome Institute, USA), Annele Hatakka,, see also newspaper article

Previous activities:

- Test centers for green energy solutions – Biorefineries and business needs, Nordic Council of Ministers (2014-2015)

- Fungi in white biotechnology: Expression of novel lignocellulose degrading enzymes (FunBio) EU-FP7, Marie Curie reintegration grant, PERG08-GA-2010-276794 (2011-2013)
- Heterologous expression of wood-rotting and litter-decomposing fungal genes involved in lignin degradation (FunGen) EU-FP7 Marie Curie (IEF) Fellow, PIEF-GA-2009-236714, 2008-2011
- Gene regulation and function of the ligninolytic system of wood and litter degrading fungi, Postdoctoral Fellow Grants (209022, 216343), Academy of Finland (2004-2008)


My teaching consists of lectures and laboratory courses in biotechnology and mycology. Bachelor level courses are in Finnish and master courses in English. I also supervise bachelor, master and doctoral theses as well as students in their master studies.

Bachelor courses 2016-2017: Laboratory course in gene technology (BIOT201), Bachelor seminar (BIOT350), Fungal biology (MYKO251), Microbial biotechnology (YBIOT315), Basics in microbiology (MIKRO221)

Master courses 2016-2017: Production of recombinant proteins (YBIOT565), Bioresource and Food Enzymology (BIOT400), Advanced traning in a research group (BIOT422)

Visiting lecturer: Industrial Biotechnology for lignocellulose based processes (2013, 2015, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Collaborator in PhD programme "Criticat CDT" which is a comprehensive and state-of-the-art PhD training programme in catalytic science funded by the UK funding agency EPSRC. PhD programme (2014 - 2022) is hosted by the Universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh and Heriott-Watt.


Education information

PhD, Docent in microbial biotechnology

Fields of Science

  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Microbial biotechnology
  • Mycology
  • Gene expression
  • recombinant protein production
  • Transcriptomics
  • Proteomics
  • applied microbiology

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

Publications 1993 2020

On the Effect of Hot-Water Pretreatment in Sulfur-Free Pulping of Aspen and Wheat Straw

Hyväkkö, U., Maltari, R., Kakko, T., Kontro, J., Mikkilä, J., Kilpeläinen, P., Enqvist, E., Tikka, P., Hilden, K., Nousiainen, P. & Sipilä, J., 2020, In : ACS Omega. 5, 1, p. 265-273 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Progress and Research Needs of Plant Biomass Degradation by Basidiomycete Fungi

Mäkelä, M. R., Hilden, K., Kowalczyk, J. E. & Hatakka, A., 2020, Grand Challenges in Fungal Biotechnology. Nevalainen, H. (ed.). Springer International Publishing , p. 405-438 ( Grand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Open Access

A comparison between the homocyclic aromatic metabolic pathways from plant-derived compounds by bacteria and fungi

Lubbers, R. J. M., Dilokpimol, A., Visser, J., Makela, M. R., Hilden, K. S. & de Vries, R. P., 15 Nov 2019, In : Biotechnology Advances. 37, 7, 27 p., 107396.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

Cinnamic Acid and Sorbic acid Conversion Are Mediated by the Same Transcriptional Regulator in Aspergillus niger

Lubbers, R. J. M., Dilokpimol, A., Navarro, J., Peng, M., Wang, M., Lipzen, A., Ng, V., Grigoriev, I. V., Visser, J., Hildén, K. S. & de Vries, R. P., 27 Sep 2019, In : Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 7, 12 p., 249.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Colonies of the fungus Aspergillus niger are highly differentiated to adapt to local carbon source variation

Daly, P., Peng, M., Mitchell, H. D., Kim, Y-M., Ansong, C., Brewer, H., de Gijsel, P., Lipton, M. S., Markillie, L. M., Nicora, C. D., Orr, G., Wiebenga, A., Hilden, K. S., Kabel, M. A., Baker, S. E., Makela, M. R. & de Vries, R. P., 25 Dec 2019, In : Environmental Microbiology. 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Projects 2011 2021

Activities 2001 2019

New Biotechnology (Journal)

Kristiina Hilden (Reviewer)
2019 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

30th Fungal Genetics Conference

Kristiina Hilden (Speaker)
16 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

GRC Conference on Biomass to Biobased Chemicals and Materials

Kristiina Hilden (Speaker)
14 Jul 201919 Jul 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Opponent of doctoral dissertation

Kristiina Hilden (Opponent)
12 Feb 2019

Activity: Examination typesOpponent of doctoral dissertation

Pre-examination of the PhD thesis

Kristiina Hilden (Supervisor)

Activity: Examination typesPre-examiner of doctoral thesis