Published: 26-04-2016 12:57 | Updated: 26-04-2016 15:09

Interview: Soile Tuomela

Soile Tuomela is one of the four appointed diabetes researchers in Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme at Karolinska Institutet. The aim is to understand the growing health problem diabetes.

Soile Tuomela has just moved to Stockholm from Turku in Finland with her family. She is one of the researchers in the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, financed by Novo Nordisk and has joined Malin Flodström-Tullberg’s research group at CIM.

The group has its focus on type 1 diabetes and viral infections related to the disease. They are studying how viruses affect the immune system and which role they have in the disease process leading to the loss of functional insulin producing beta cells. The final goals are to identify the mechanisms by which virus infections predispose to type 1 diabetes, and to develop measures by which the infections and/or the damage caused by viruses can be prevented.

– I studied biomarkers (a measurable feature that can be significant in a disease process) in diabetes in my previous research project at the University of Turku. Virus infections is a new and interesting focus for me, says Soile Tuomela.

Beta cells in the pancreas – the cells that regulate the insulin and glucose (sugar) levels in the body and which are destroyed in type 1 diabetes are the key study material. The studies are done on both human cell lines and in experimental disease models.

Why did you become diabetes researcher?

– It´s very motivating to do research on type 1 diabetes! It´s a lifelong disease normally diagnosed at young age which is becoming more common indicating a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. At the moment there are no preventive or curative therapies available for type 1 diabetes. The research is important and inspiring, says Soile Tuomela.

More about Soile
Position: Postdoc in Malin Flodström Tullberg’s group at CIM

Background (short): Moved to Stockholm from Turku, Finland. Has a MSc degree in genetics and defended her PhD thesis on molecular systems immunology.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and outdoor activities