Research Group Principal Investigator

    Mikael Skurnik
    PhD, Professor of Bacteriology

    Haartman Institute
    Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Room B321
    P.O. Box 21, Haartmaninkatu 3 00014 University of Helsinki

    Tel: +358 2941 26464
    Mobil: +358 50 336 0981 mikael.skurnik [at]

Contact Information

Postal Address
Immunobiology Research Program
P.O.Box 21, Haartmaninkatu 3
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Visiting Address
Haartman Institute
Haartmaninkatu 3
00290 Helsinki

Tel. +358 2941 1911 (tel. exchange)
Fax + 358 2941 26382
Email name.lastname [at]


Yersinia Research Laboratory and Phage Therapy - Presentation


A. Yersinia Research Laboratory

We study molecular biology of Yersinia virulence and focus on the molecular and genetic characterization of the Yersinia virulence factors such as YadA, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Ail. We also study the molecular biology and genetics of Yersinia-specific bacteriophages. To understand how bacteria cause diseases we continue in three projects to characterize the structure/function relationships of the Yersinia virulence factors, their interactions with host, and the intricate regulatory networks controlling the expression of the virulence factors. This will deepen our understanding on the disease mechanisms and in the long run provide novel means to cure or prevent infectious diseases. We also continue to elucidate the molecular biology and genetics of bacteriophage φR1-37. In addition to pure academic interest to the resolve the molecular mechanism behind the rare dUcontaining DNA, we foresee possibilities to exploit the identified nucleotide metabolism enzymes and inhibitors in biotechnological applications.

B. Phage Therapy (PT)

The aim is to set up a PT laboratory in Finland. We have initiated the project to establish the logistics and practical issues in setting up and maintaining a collection of therapeutic phages. In order to run PT service for clinicians, safe bacteriophage preparations for therapeutic use approved by appropriate authorities need to be produced and the infrastructure needed for this requires short and long time investments. Overall we want to demonstrate that PT is beneficial in the treatment of severe (antibiotic-resistant) bacterial infections (in Finland) and thereby convince the authorities to include PT as part of the public health care.

More information is available here.