Professor of Internal Medicine, Specialist in Internal Medicine and Nephrology, Docent in Pharmacology, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital.
When I was studying medicine, my father, who was a specialist in internal medicine, prompted me to seek research work as a way of succeeding in the world of medicine.
From training doctors to research work
My working week is divided into three main areas: basic-level and specialist-level teaching for physicians, clinical patient work and research work. My duties also include administrative work both at the university and at the university hospital. In addition, I am in charge of a research group comprising five physicians working as doctoral researchers, five medical students, a Master of Science in Technology graduating soon, a Master of Biotechnology, a statistician and two study nurses.
When I was studying medicine, my father, who was a specialist in internal medicine, prompted me to seek research work as a way of succeeding in the world of medicine. I followed his advice and embarked on research work. However, my progress was slow, particularly at the early stage. My thesis was completed several years behind schedule, and it certainly did not deal with the first topic I examined. This slow progress was partly due to the guidance I received – or more to the point, did not receive, as was the case with many others. After I had acquired expertise in vascular research, I tested my abilities as research supervisor. Over the years, this has led to 11 completed doctoral degrees.
Focus on high blood pressure
My research concerns the effects of hypertension and kidney disease on the cardiovascular system, particularly on the blood vessels. With regard to kidney disease, my particular interest lies in the hormonal regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Over the last four years, we have developed an extensive, non-invasive protocol for assessing the structure and function of the human cardiovascular system. We believe that this protocol will provide a lot of new information on the cardiovascular system.
The first vascular mechanism that hypertension disturbs is the dilation of blood vessels, i.e. their relaxation into a less constricted state. This is why the mechanisms that normally dilate the vessels do not function as well in hypertension, which over time makes the situation worse and increases blood pressure even more. In renal insufficiency, many adverse changes occur in the blood vessels, exposing the patient to worsening of vascular lesions and to harmful cardiovascular events. With the help of the cardiovascular system protocol, we have observed that there can be very different mechanisms behind a similar elevation in blood pressure. This has opened new possibilities in both the research and the treatment of hypertension.
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