Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen
1971 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Current areas of expertise

Microbially produced  toxins and bioactive substances in food, feed,  indoor air and buildings, microbial activity in boreal environment, industrial and  environmental microbiology, biodegradation of chemicals in the environment, microbial biodeterioration of materials, microbes colonizing manmade environments.


Educational activities (teaching)

1991 - 2008,  chair and professor in microbiology (Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology), responsible for the microbiology education of Fac. Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki..Currently working on a new edition of the  microbiology textbook in Finnish, 700 pp (2002 edition is sold out). Courses in scientific writing; lectures also  to general audiences.


Positions held:

Current: principal investigator 2014-  (professoral agreement), University of Helsinki

2008-2013 Research Director, Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki

1992-2008    Professor and chair, microbiology, Institute of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

1995-2000    Academy professor ( a distinguished position granted  and funded by the Academy of Finland) . Guest professor at University of Toronto, Dept Pulp & Paper Science.

1990-1992    Research leader of the Environmental Unit  of Helsinki University Department for Research and Development, Lahti

1973-1991    Associate professor and acting head (1985-87) of the Dept  of General Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki; on leave for full time research  in industry 1983-4.

1970-1973    Scientific coworker, Dept of Physiol. Chemistry, Medical School at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

1965-1970    Teaching fellow, and Lab instructor (1965-66) Dept of Biochemistry, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


Recent Awards and distinctions

2013             Elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

2009             Distinguished with the Medal of Honour by the Society of the Finnish Chemists

2006             Distinguished as the member of Honor of Mikrobiologikilta (The Society of Microbiologists in Finland)

2004             Elected by member vote of the Finnish Chemical Society and the Federation of Chemical Industries (Finland) as the second greatest present-day chemist in Finland

2001             Centre of Excellence (vice chair)selected by the Academy of Finland for special support in 2002-2007

2000             Displayed as one of the 10 distinguished women in science in Finland in 100 years. Exhibition at the National Library of Finland.

1996             Maj and Tor Nessling Award as recognition for contribution in research and education in environmental research

1996             Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun I luokan ritarimerkki (Award by the President of Finland)

1994             Intern. Fed. of Inventors’ Associations’ IFIA-Soroptimist prize for the best invention by a woman for the protection of the environment (European Inventions Competition, Monaco)

1994             Award from the Suomalaisen Työn Liitto, for innovatively contributing to the advancement of welfare in Finland

1994             Centre of Excellence Award  (together with dr. K. Sivonen) by the Consistorium of the University of Helsinki within the University.

1992             Finlandia Prize for the Environment (Ympäristön Finlandia palkinto)


Professional Membership on Boards and Professional Associations

2009 - current, board member, Finnish Society of Medical Mycology

2003- 2005   Expert for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, Brussels)

2002             Galapagos Nature Reserve expedition to investigate the indigenous microflora. Invitation of Equador National Park Authority.

1998-2000    European Commission, Member of the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SANCO).

1998-2001    Steering Committee Member (Groundwater Pollution) and Finnish representative in the program for “Environmental Pollution: processes, impacts and remedies, 1998-2001) of the European Science Foundation (ESF)

1995-97        Finnish IIASA Committee (appointed by the Ministry of Education)

1995-1998    European Federation for Biotechnology, national delegate for environmental biotechnology

1993-1997    Board member of the Finnish Branch of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

1990-1997    Full member of EERO (European Environmental Research Organization)


Commitments in Scientific Organizations:

                     Helsinki University Center of Excellence (1995-2000); Academy of Finland Centers of Scientific Excellence (CoE) for the years 2002-2007 ("Microbial Resources")  and for 2008-2013, by the Academy of Finland as partner in the Centre of Excellence  "Integrated for Photosynthesis and Microbial Metabolite Research" (jointly between Helsinki and Turku Universities). European Science Foundation (ESF) Committee member for Environmental Pollution (1998-2001), Finnish Society for Environmental Science, Chairperson 1995-6;MISTRA (Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, Sweden), evaluator; Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS,USA), American Society for Microbiology, Belgian Society for Toxicology and Ecotoxicology;  Scandinavian Society of Toxicology; ESTIV, Vereinigung fuer Allgemeine und Angewandte Mikrobiologie.  


Other  commitments:

              2010 Evaluator for the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI, Biological and Medical Sciences); Evaluator of scientific expertise in Flemish Belgium on requested  by the Research-Foundation - Flanders (Belgium) for the Metusalem Prize, 10 M€ (2007); evaluator of environmental remediation programs and grant applications for the Academy of Finland (1995-2001), 5th Frame Work research proposals for EC (2001), for the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (1997), IIASA (International Inst. for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria) 1996, MISTRA (Soil remediation in Cold Climate, Sweden) 1995, 1998, European Commission for a.o. Environmental program and INCO-Copernicus proposals 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996; Member of planning and construction working group for the national Finnish company for the treatment of hazardous waste, Ekokem OY 1979-1982, and then Board member of the same Company 1982-1992.



295 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, sum of cites 7739; cited 5043 times, h-index:50 (Web of Science searchdate: 2015-12-27), authornames: salkinoja salonen m*,  salkinojasalonen m*, salonen ms, vandijks m];  Coauthor in  >100 scientific books, 35 educational & general papers, 5 educational videotapes, 16 patents, 20 textbooks; invited lectures & scientific presentations in >100  conferences.  


Recent major research  grants:

From Academy of Finland:

2008-2013: Center of Scientific Excellence  together with Kaarina Sivonen and Eva-Mari Aro (coordinator)

2002-2007; Center of Scientific Excellence, together with K. Sivonen (coordinator), PE Saris and A. Hatakka;

2001-2004, 3 major grants; Salkinoja-Salonen

TEKES (Finnish Agency for Technology and Innovation)

2014 -2015, PI for Research consortium "Terveellinen rakennus" ("Healthy Building", with Aalto University and Metropolia College for Applied Sciences).

2007-2010, PIMU consortium, 3 research partners and 4 financially contributing industrial partners, for design and  application of novel surface technologies.

2003-2006, ShinePro Consortium (6 research partners)

2003-2006: Biofouling consortium (coordinator), 3 research partners and 6 industry partners


2008 -2010, “Biogas residue- a safety risk in organic farming?”, funded by  Research Council of Norway, jointly with Norwegian Lifes Sciences University and University of Stuttgart (DE).

2001-2004 Quality of Life Program, QLK1-CT-2001-00854 “Bacillus cereus” (European Commission)

2002-2005 QLK1-CT-2001-00930 “Biosafepaper”,(European Commission)

National Foundations (recent)

2009-2015, The Finnish Work Environment Fund, projects for research in the field of indoor health affecting chemicals and microbial toxins (Tsr # 109124, #111126, #112134)

Patents and  innovations

Inventor / co-inventor  in granted 16 patents (Finnish and international) and in several more that are pending.  The recent innovations  (after 1999) deal with methods for controlling biofilms and microbial deterioration in warm water industry, paper and board  manufacture.


Ph.D. theses  supervised:

From 1982 to 2015,  54 PhD theses were completed under my personal mentoring. Recent completions: Irmgard Suominen 2005; Jukka Kurola 2006; Raimo Mikkola 2006; Irina Tsitko 2007; Elina Jääskeläinen 2008; Charlotta Kanto-Öqvist 2008; Rainer Peltola 2008; Jaakko Pakarinen 2008; Camelia Constantin 2008, Timo T Nieminen 2009, Ranad Shaheen 2009, Mari Raulio 2010, Minna Peltola 2011, Jaakko Ekman 2011; Douwe Hoornstra 2014; Christina Liedert 2014; Stiina Rasimus-Sahari 2016





Education/Academic qualification

Rakennustekniikka, Doctor honoris causa, Inaugurated doctor honoris causa, building physics, Aalto University

Award Date: 7 Oct 2016

External positions

tekniikan tohtori, Aalto Yliopisto, Tekniikan korkeakoulu

7 Oct 2016 → …

Vieraileva tutkija, Sähkötekniikan ja automaation lts

May 201631 Dec 2019

Fields of Science

  • 212 Civil and Construction engineering
  • 116 Chemical sciences
  • microbial toxins
  • indoor air
  • biocides
  • wetting agents
  • chemical toxicology
  • Chemical Biology
  • chemicals
  • indoor environment
  • inhalation chemistry

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.