Merja Penttilä

Wihuri International Prize 2012

Merja Penttilä
Bioeconomics

Born 27 January 1956 in Hämeenlinna, Finland

Studied at University of Helsinki, doctoral degree in 1987 in molecular genetics (Dept. of Genetics)

Research and group leader positions at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Research professor in biotechnology at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 1999–
Adjunct professor at Aalto University in synthetic biology, 2015–

Deputy Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology, 2000–2005
Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in White Biotechnology – Green Chemistry
Coordinator of a large Strategic Tekes project Living Factories, 2014–2018
2008–2015 Coordinator and leader of number of large research projects at national and EU level, including projects with national and international companies
Member of the Finnish Advisory Board for Biotechnology, 1998–2001, 2008–2012
Member of the Scientific Committee for Finnish Chemical Industry, 2005–2009
Member of the Steering group for White Biotechnology of the EU technology platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), 2005-2010
Board member of the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, 2008->
Evaluator for a number of national and international science foundations, and for quality of science at university or national level, the most recent ones being:
Member of the Industrial Advisory Board of the Synthetic biology network SynBERC (USA), 2011–
Scientific Advisory Board member of the Toulouse White Biotechnology program (France) 2012–
Expert Committee member of the Novo Nordisk Foundation on Biotechnology-based synthesis and production (Denmark), 2012–
Member of the International Millenium Technology Prize Nomination Committee, 2015–2016
Chair of the Technology vision panel for Finland on Biosciences and Society (Finnsight2015), 2005–2006
Member of the vision group for the government-launched strategy work for Sustainable growth and wellbeing in Finland (Tulevaisuus2030), 2012

Publications and patents

  • Over 270 scientific publications in the fields of molecular biology and industrial biotechnology
  • 65 patents or patent application families in industrial biotechnology

Honours

Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, 2007
Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2015–

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