I obtained my PhD in genetics year 1980 at the University of Helsinki (UH) followed by a postdoctoral EMBO fellowship at the Public Health Research Institute of the City of New York (1981-1982). I held a Senior Scientist position at the Academy of Finland (1983-1992) followed by a Research Directorship at the Institute of Biotechnology, UH (1992-1997). I was nominated as Professor in General Microbiology (UH) year 1993. Between 2002 and 2007 as well as 2011 and 2016 I had an Academy Professor position at the Academy of Finland. Since 1992 I have directed two Center of Excellence in Virus Research at UH. I was elected as an EMBO member 2006 and an European Academy of Microbiology member 2013 .
I have published over 300 peer reviewed primary articles many in high rank journals such as Nature, Cell, PNAS, Mol.Cell, Plos Biology and EMBO Journal etc. and the rest in leading microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and virology journals.
My research has advanced by discovering how viral molecular machines (polymerase and packaging enzyme complexes) work, what determines the size in certain icosahedral viruses and how to self assemble a complex infectious viral particle from its purified structural constituents as well as how RNA dependent RNA polymerases operate. The accumulating information on virus structures has led to a surprising new hypothesis on virus evolution and origins. This hypothesis covers the entire viral universe and structural evidence is accumulating showing that viruses infecting hosts in different domains of life (bacteria, archaea, and eykarya) may be related although there is no sequence similarity observed using any of the available bioinformatic tools. Accordingly my scientific interests are focused on the viral universe as a whole as well as how viruses operate as seen at atomic level.