The Nordic EMBL Partnership celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Women scientists of the Nordic EMBL Partnership on the forefront of molecular medicine research

Illustration for International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Created by Nóra Lehotai in Canva.
Photo: Illustration for International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Created by Nóra Lehotai in Canva.

The 11th February is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Gender inequality persists at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines worldwide, even though these fields are critical drivers of economy and growth.

Although progress has been made throughout the years thanks to gender equality initiatives, further work is required to enable education reaching more girls and women, to increase the number of women taking up positions in STEM roles, to eliminate the existing pay gap, and to create stable career paths for women where they can grow and take on top positions at the workplace.

On this special day, the Nordic EMBL Partnership is placing some of its female colleagues from different roles, or initiatives, to the spotlight to show and encourage girls and women to dream and lead a career in science.

The Nordic EMBL Partnership features women tackling challenges of modern biomedicine

Anne-Marie Fors Connolly, MIMS

Dr Anne-Marie Fors Connolly is a MIMS clinical research fellow, advancing our understanding on viral infection caused changes in the blood vessels which may lead to serious complications. With her translational research, she would like to raise awareness to risk factors and improve prevention and treatment strategies. 
Read the article about Anne-Marie to find out how she integrates clinical practice with research here.

Anne von Philipsborn, former DANDRITE

Professor Anne von Philipsborn is a DANDRITE alumna, who currently leads a neuroscience and neurobiology research team and teaches medical and biomedical research students at the University of Fribourg. Anne praises the scientific independence she had while setting up her lab and expanding her research expertise in neurobiology during her term at DANDRITE.
Read the interview with Anne to get to know her career path here.

Anna Överby Wernstedt, MIMS

Professor Anna Överby Wernstedt joined the MIMS leadership as deputy director in January 2022, taking over this role from Maria Fällman. Anna is also a former MIMS group leader, with active research at the field of viral infection of the brain.
Read the article of welcoming Anna in the MIMS Leadership group here.

Andrea Puhar, MIMS

Dr Andrea Puhar is a MIMS group leader, studying how the elements of the gut and intestinal bacteria, both harmful and good, regulate and respond to the dynamic appearance and disappearance of extracellular ATP, and how this impacts the development of disease.
Read the article to learn about a new way of detecting infection, discovered by Andrea and her team here.

Anni Nieminen, FIMM

Dr Anni Nieminen is the manager of the Metabolomics Unit at FIMM. This core facility helps scientists in their search for new biomarkers or determining how certain genes or nutrients affect diseases, or even to understand phenotypes of model organisms via high-throughput mass spectrometry based approaches. Anni has a molecular cell biology background, and together with her experienced team members, they can provide the best possible service for a project.
Learn more about Anni and the Metabolomics Unit here.

Camila Esguerra, NCMM

Dr Camila Esguerra is a group leader and leader of the Zebrafish Core Facility at NCMM. Zebrafish is a very powerful model organism which enables studies in molecular, cell, developmental, neurobiology, genetics and drug discovery. Camila and her research team are also using this model for their research on epilepsy. They aim to understand the seizure triggers and behavioral changes in the early brain. 
Read the article on Camila’s research and the zebrafish model here

Charlotte Boccara, NCMM

Dr Charlotte Boccara is a Group Leader at NCMM, strengthening the neuroscience research of the institute. Charlotte and her team explore why we sleep and the link between sleep and healthy development. She is also a very innovative scientist, working on developing models for sleep deprivation.
Learn more about the role of sleep, explained by Charlotte here.


DANDRITE’s new initiative called “DANDRITE Inspire” is dedicated to the International Day of Girls and Women in Science. DANDRITE wishes to inspire girls and women by showing them the opportunities and exciting adventures you meet during a career in science, especially in neurobiology.
Follow Assistant Professor Andrea Moreno and become a neuroscientist for a day through this video here.

Elisabeth Widén, FIMM

Dr Elisabeth Widén, a physician by training, is a group leader at FIMM, who is interested in implementing genomic research into medical practice. Elisabeth and her team, with others included, are involved in the GeneRISK study, working with a population cohort of over 7000 people from southern Finland to provide them personal disease risk information, among other type of information.
Learn more about Elisabeth’s work and the GenRISK study here.

Emmanuelle Charpentier, former MIMS

Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, former group leader at MIMS, was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Jennifer A. Doudna, for the groundbreaking work on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. 
Read the article about Emmanuelle Charpentier awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry here.

Helena Kilpinen, FIMM

Dr Helena Kilpinen is a FIMM Group Leader, harnessing the power of induced pluripotent stem cell technology in order to study rare neurodevelopmental disorders. One of the biggest challenges of rare genetic diseases is setting up a diagnosis. Helena and her team aim to understand what happens at the cell level to then identify targets for potential therapies to improve the quality-of-life of the affected people.
Read more about Helena and her team’s research here.

Karolina Spustova, former NCMM

Dr Karolina Spustova completed her PhD in the Gözen group at NCMM at the end of 2021. Karolina employed model membranous protocells and looked at how they behave on solid surfaces, which used to be abundant on the early Earth. She spoke very fondly of her time at NCMM as a PhD student thanks to the great environment, passion for science and a good team spirit. 
Find out more about Karolina’s career journey here.

Janna Saarela, NCMM

Professor Janna Saarela became the director of NCMM in the beginning of 2019, following her role as Research Director of the Technology Centre at FIMM. Janna’s research interests and clinical expertise, coupled with her focus on understanding the biological pathways and mechanisms behind immune disorders, fit extremely well with NCMM’s emphasis on translational research.
Read the article about welcoming Janna as NCMM Director here.

Jelena Radulovic, DANDRITE

Professor Jelena Radulovic joined the DANDRITE Senior Management team in January 2023. Jelena is a neurobiologist and has been affiliated to DANDRITE since 2020. 
Read the article welcoming Jelena in the DANDRITE Senior Management team here.

Laura Carroll, MIMS

Dr Laura Carroll joined MIMS in autumn 2022 as a MIMS Investigator. She develops and applies methods to analyze massive genomic and metagenomic data sets that biologists and clinicians can use to improve human, animal and environmental health. 
Read the feature article about Laura Carroll to find out more about her research, background and her thoughts on girls and women in science here

Laura Turunen, FIMM

Laura Turunen is one of the managers of  the High Throughput Biomedicine (HTB) Unit at FIMM. Advanced personalized healthcare; precision medicine, is becoming more and more available but also challenging. High throughput screening technologies are essential in realizing the benefits of functional precision medicine and life science research. 
Learn more about the dedicated knowledge and work by Laura at the HTB Unit here.

Paula Lindner, former DANDRITE and NCMM

Dr Paula Lindner was the very first joint PhD student of the Nordic EMBL Partnership, sharing the project between DANDRITE and NCMM. Her project focused on thapsigargin, a naturally occurring plant compound, which is also a specific inhibitor of the endoplasmic reticulum calcium pump, and has been used as a prodrug for cancer therapies.
Read the interview with Paula to find out what were the benefits of the joint project for her PhD study here.

Pirkko Mattila, FIMM

Dr Pirkko Mattila leads the Single-Cell Analytics Unit at FIMM. This research infrastructure offers cutting-edge single-cell sequencing and spatial transcriptomics technologies to study, for example, cells before and after cancer treatment. Pirkko has had an interest in genomics since her PhD studies and with the constant advancements in spatial transcriptomics, the passion is kept alive. 
Read the full article about Pirkko’s and the Single-Cell Analytics Unit’s expertise here.

Roza Berhanu Lemma, NCMM

Dr Roza Bernhau Lemma is a researcher within the group of Dr Anthony Mathelier at NCMM. Roza and her colleagues have been investigating the interplay between DNA methylation patterns and transcription factors gene expression in samples from cancer patients. Their findings have the potential to lead to better cancer diagnosis and/or prognosis.
Learn more about Roza and her teammates research here.


Young DANDRITE or YoDA, is the association of early-career researchers uniting the scientists at DANDRITE. YoDa is not just a community for students and postdocs but an active group of “career-young” people who link ideas – social, scientific and career-oriented - from the community to materialization, with the support of the management team. YoDA welcomes all researchers and provides a supporting and welcoming environment for everyone at DANDRITE. 
Get to know YoDA here