University of Helsinki (Finland)

University of Helsinki (Finland)

Tarja SIRONEN (coordinator)

Associate professor, Department of Virology, Emerging Infections Research Group


Tarja Sironen develops her research in the Emerging Infections Research Group, Zoonotic Virus Research Unit at the Helsinki One Health network. She has worked on tick-borne infections, coronaviruses, Puumala, and many other zoonotic agents, including rodent- and bat-borne ones. She is interested in analysing the conditions that turn these microbes into pathogens. She aims to produce through her research knowledge that helps to prepare for various infectious threats in a changing environment. In her work, she also examines those environmental factors that have an effect on the emergence of infectious diseases.



Doctoral student


Hussein Alburkat is studying rodent-borne viruses. He did his Master thesis on Mammarenavirus LCMV that infects humans in Southern Iraq, which led to the detection of two novel LCMV strains. Currently he is working in projects studying rodent-borne viruses from both field caught rodents and patient samples from three different environments: Finland, Kenya and Iraq. The study interest includes serology diagnostics (to screen the samples to viruses, such as arenaviruses, flaviviruses, hantaviruses, and orthobunyaviruses), virus detection, distribution and molecular epidemiology using NGS techniques.



Doctoral student




Post-doctoral fellow

Vincent Bourret

Vincent is a french vet and researcher with a strong expertise in virology. He will stay several months in Helsinki to characterize the coronaviruses circulating in the rodent populations surveyed during BioRodDis, using a combination of serological and molecular approaches.




Heikki HENTTONEN (the one !)

Retired professor


Heikki's research fields cover the population ecology of small mammals, and the ecology and evolution of rodent-borne parasites and pathogens. He has particularly specialized in long-term surveillance and experimental studies on rodent dynamics, and in the ecological interactions of rodent dynamics and rodent-borne pathogens and parasites. He has been involved in several EU-financed and other projects on rodent-borne pathogens in Eurasia, and in NSF-financed projects on rodent parasites in N America. HH coordinated the rodent-borne diseases project in EDEN program (FP 6: Emerging Diseases in a Changing European Environment, altogether 50 partner teams) and rodent-borne pathogens in EDENext (FP 7: Biology and control of vector-borne infection in Europe, 46 partner teams), and was the chairman of the steering committee of EDENext. ;

ORCID iD 0000-0002-5674-3271

Modification date: 18 July 2023 | Publication date: 09 March 2021 | By: N Charbonnel