Published: 14-02-2018 10:36 | Updated: 14-02-2018 10:36

Professor Janne Lehtiö new Scientific Director of SciLifeLab

Karolinska Institutet has chosen a new Scientific Director for SciLifeLab, Sweden’s largest life science research centre. Professor Janne Lehtiö will act as a catalyst for collaboration between KI and SciLifeLab.

Janne Lehtiö, professor in clinical proteomics at KI:s Department of Oncology-Pathology, has been appointed Scientific Director of SciLifeLab. The centre for molecular biosciences, a collaboration between host universities Karolinska Institutet (KI), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University, develops advanced technologies for dissemination to researchers across the country.

The assignment includes acting as the representative for and coordinator of KI’s participation in the centre, as well as supporting management on issues related to SciLifeLab. Janne Lehtiö will be taking up the post with immediate effect.

“It is exciting and important work. I hope that I can be a catalyst for collaboration between the various researchers. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute to two-way communication and mutual understanding. Researchers at KI must be made aware of how they can utilise the facilities.

SciLifeLab is an important hub for technology-driven research, that can interact with basic and clinical research.” believes Janne Lehtiö.
“It is extremely interesting to see this type of technology used in point-of-care clinical studies. In future, this may lead to improved individualised care for cancer patients.

The post of Scientific Director is equivalent to 20% of a full-time position. Janne Lehtiö will continue to perform his ordinary duties in parallel with the new position.

Since 2008, he has been the leader of a research group studying cancer and proteomics.
“My own research deals with developing new methods for proteomics and applying these to individual cancer treatments. The primary focus is on lung and breast cancer and leukaemia, both in children and adults.”

He is also director of Karolinska University Hospital’s clinical proteomics facility and is involved in the Swedish national infrastructure for biological mass spectrometry (BioMS), where Stockholm hosts the National Node for Proteogenomics and Chemical Proteomics.

Janne Lehtiö obtained an MSc in biochemistry at Helsinki University and a PhD in bioengineering at KTH. After defending his thesis, Janne worked in industry in the field of biomarker research. He also has experience of close collaboration with Karolinska University Hospital.

Prorektor Karin Dahlman-Wright. Foto: Erik CronbergProfessor Karin Dahlman-Wright, KI’s pro-vice-chancellor, thinks along the same lines as Janne Lehtiö.

“We must ensure that all KI researchers have sufficient knowledge of the technologies available at SciLifeLab. It is also important that

there are good lines of communication between KI’s management, SciLifeLab and the KI researchers working there,” she says.

Karin Dahlman-Wright herself held the position of Scientific Director at SciLifeLab between 2013 and 2015. The position then remained unfilled, whereupon Professor Lars Engstrand took on the task during a transitional period.

“Lars Engstrand did an excellent job but it is now time for KI to seek a more long-term solution,” says Karin Dahlman Wright.

“Janne Lehtiö’s broad technological and methodological expertise, combined with his long experience of managing infrastructure at local, regional and national level, makes him ideally suited to the task,” continues Karin Dahlman-Wright.

“His close collaboration with clinical operations as director of the clinical proteomics core facility is an additional advantage.”

She is now looking forward to Janne Lehtiö taking responsibility for increasing knowledge about the research carried out at SciLifeLab and how it can be applied to the healthcare sector. She emphasises the importance of SciLifeLab’s operations even outside of KI.

“The government is investing heavily in SciLifeLab and it is vital that we make a broad impact across Sweden.”

Text: Ann Patmalnieks