Örebro researcher one of the most influential in the world

Tuulia Hyötyläinen, Örebro University.

Tuulia Hyötyläinen, Örebro University.

Tuulia Hyötyläinen, Professor of Chemistry at Örebro University, has been named as one of the world’s most influential women researchers in analytical chemistry. It is the journal The Analytical Scientist that highlights 50 women active within academia as well as industry.

“I am naturally both happy and honoured to have been selected. But it is also a very good initiative, highlighting women researchers in this way,” says Tuulia Hyötyläinen, pointing out that her research field is very male dominated. Few women can be seen at international conferences, in boardrooms, or on the editorial board of scientific journals.

“That does not, however, reflect real life. There are many highly-skilled women researchers in our field. Which is why this power listis important, not least to encourage younger researchers.

Like a detective

Tuulia Hyötyläinen is a researcher of metabolomics. The aim in her work is to identify new biomarkers for specific diseases and to elucidate the processes involved.

“Finding that particular piece of information in myriads of data and then linking it to the mechanisms behind the diseases, that’s real detective work,” says Tuulia Hyötyläinen, claiming that cooperation with researchers from other fields is crucial for progress.

Metabolomics combines scientific study and technologies to describe how disease, environment, toxins, diet, and genetic factors impact cell metabolism.

Her research is currently focused on diabetes, fatty liver disease and head injuries.

“We have been able to identify specific biomarkers making it possible to diagnose and also predict these diseases,” she says.

Combining two interests

Tuulia Hyötyläinen opted to specialise in metabolomics, having conducted research in both analytical chemistry and biochemistry.

“Within metabolomics I am able to combine these two fields – technological advances and the development of new instruments have been incredibly fast-paced in the last ten years. That, in combination with the discovery of new biomarkers, means that metabolomics can now be used on individual patients.”

In other words, science and technology have made great progress.

“Currently, there is a bottleneck in terms of how we are going to be able to identify relevant information in the huge amount of data produced, and to do so efficiently. We need new methods to process the information we are able to retrieve, but we are today seeing continuous improvements in that respect,” says Tuulia Hyötyläinen.

Text and photo: Maria Elisson
Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight