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Tampere University gets Finland’s first professorship in pediatric hematology and oncology

Published on 19.9.2023
Tampere University
Olli Lohi seisoo seinään maalatun kettuhahmon vieressä.
Olli Lohi. Photo: Jonne Renvall / Tampere University
The new professorship is based at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology. Olli Lohi has been appointed to the post. The funding of the professorship – granted by the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation – is enabled by the children’s support association of ward 10 at Helsinki Children’s Hospital.

Olli Lohi, Doctor of Medical Science, Specialist in Pediatrics, has been appointed to the professorship in pediatric hematology and oncology. The professorship, granted by the Finnish Paediatric Research Foundation, will be based at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology of Tampere University. In addition to clinical research, the professor’s duties include participation in teaching in the field.

“As yet, Finland has not had a professorship in childhood cancer and blood diseases unlike several other leading countries in pediatric research. The professorship in hematology and oncology plays a key role in the development of research and teaching in the field, whose benefits are ultimately passed on directly to patient care,” says Tor Bergman, Chair of the Board of the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation.

Lohi, who was appointed to the professorship, is working as Research Director at Tampere University and Chief Physician at Tampere University Hospital. His key research topics include investigating the mechanisms of leukaemia and the development of new treatments. In 2022, his research group and international colleagues discovered an effective combination drug therapy for T-cell leukemia. In addition to Tampere University, Mass General Research Institute from Massachusetts, and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) participated in the research.

Promoting research and teaching in the entire country

The prognoses of childhood cancers have vastly improved, but still about one in five cancer patients dies. The immediate and long-term side effects of treatments are also a challenge, as children are in the middle of the most important period of development and maturation during heavy treatments.

“However, as knowledge increases, the chances of more gentle and targeted treatments increase. On the other hand, this regrettably poses challenges for the implementation of treatments because personalised treatment requires considerable expertise and human resources,” Lohi points out.

Lohi is looking forward to the development opportunities that come with the new post. During his tenure, he aims to gather, support, and promote research and teaching on childhood blood and cancer diseases throughout Finland.

“Finland is a small and remote country with a very limited number of experts. The frontrunners of research are also pioneers in care, and strong research input will secure competence and world-class care in the future. It is essential that we not only stay at the forefront of knowledge, but produce it ourselves,” Lohi says.

Lohi will take up his duties as professor on 1 January 2024.

Olli Lohi

  • Born on 23 December 1975.
  • Completed upper secondary school in Simo in 1994.
  • Graduated as a Licentiate of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine at the University of Oulu in 1999.
  • Earned the pediatrics specialist qualification in 2008.
  • Nominated as an Adjunct Professor at Tampere University in 2009.
  • Appointed as Chief Physician of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit at Tampere University Hospital in 2014.
  • Will take up the professorship in pediatric hematology and oncology at Tampere University on 1 January 2024.