We’re very happy to welcome Anna-Liisa Laine, University of Helsinki, Finland, to our Editorial Board!
Read more about her below and visit her website http://www.helsinki.fi/~allaine/
What’s you main research focus at the moment?
Much of my research is focused on understanding why pathogens occur where they do. To get at this seemingly simple question I combine
experimental and molecular studies of host-pathogen co-evolution with data on epidemiology. I’m especially interested in how variation is generated in host resistance and pathogen infectivity, and how this variation affects epidemiological dynamics. While I mainly study within season disease transmission, I’m also extremely interested in how parasites transmit from one season to the next.
At heart I’m an ecologist and we do our field work in the Åland archipelago where 4000 meadows are annually surveyed for fungal pathogens of plants.
Can you describe you research career?
After completing my Masters at the University of Oulu in 2001, I started a PhD in the Metapopulation Research group at the University of
Helsinki, under the supervision of Ilkka Hanski. In my PhD I focused on understanding how host-parasite coevolution proceeds in a situation where the hostpopulations are highly fragmented. I defended my theses in 2005 and in 2006-07 in did a post doctoral project in the lab of John Thompson at the University of California, Santa Cruz. There we focused on understanding how plant-pollinator mutualism responds to changes in the local Community composition. I had another post doctoral stint in 2009-10 in with Pete Thrall and Jeremy Burdon at CSIRO, Canberra, Australia. There I had the opportunity to work with the classic wild flax-rust pathogen interaction,
addressing questions of host-parasite coevolution. Now I’m back at the University of Helsinki where I started my own lab in in 2010, and I
work as an Academy research fellow.
How come that you became a scientist in ecology?
When I was a high school student, I loved cell biology, and coming from a family of scientist going into seemed like an obvious choice. However, when I started my studies at the university, I became fascinated with ecology. This was mainly due to two professors in those early years, Lauri Oksanen and Juha Tuomi. I had the chance to work as a research assistant in Lauri’s herbivory project and my interest for species interactions has continued ever since.
What do you do when you’re not working?
With two small kids, I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing with legos and finger painting recently… When I have a chance, I go