A public forum. The Finnish Institute of Bioethics collaborates with people and organizations in bioethics and biolaw both nationally and internationally. In tune with its mission, the Finnish Institute of Bioethics aspires to create an open public forum for all parties interested and involved in bioethical issues. If You are interested in collaborating with the Finnish Institute of Bioethics, we warmly encourage you to get in touch with us using the feedback form.

The working team of the Finnish Institute of Bioethics:

Ph.D., researcher Heikki Saxén (chairman of the board) defended his dissertation on the history and development of bioethics at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Tampere in the fall of 2017. During his studies, he has established close collaborative ties within international academia in bioethics, especially in the United States. During the academic year 2014–2015 he was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where his affiliation was also extended for the academic year 2015–2016. In addition to this, Heikki has formed close ties with people in many other institutions on the cutting edge of bioethics, such as the Hastings Center, where he was a Visiting Scholar in spring 2012. Heikki has also lectured in bioethics at the University of Tampere and the University of Helsinki. Moreover, he edited a book on the philosophy of John Rawls, together with Aalto University professor Jukka Mäkinen, called John Rawlsin filosofia: Oikeudenmukaisuus moniarvoisessa yhteiskunnassa (The Philosophy of John Rawls: Justice in a Pluralistic Society), which was published by the Finnish publishing house Gaudeamus in January 2013. In 2016, he wrote, together with Salla Saxén, a pamphlet on how bioethics could transform health care in Finland. In the same year, he was awarded a UNESCO Prize for advancing bioethics in Finland. In 2019, the Pirkanmaa Hospital District awarded Heikki, together with Salla Saxén, a yearly prize for advancing ethics in health care.


MD, Ph.D. Tanja Saarela (vice chairman of the board) is a clinical geneticist who works at the Tampere University Hospital. Her subjects of interest are ethical themes concerning clinical genetics, patient counseling, fetal medicine, preimplantation genetic testing, and also the ethics of medicine and genetics/genomics research. She is a member of the clinical bioethics advisory board of the University of Tampere.



MSSc, Doctoral Candidate, researcher Salla Saxén (member of the board) was the first Finnish scholar to participate in the distinguished Harvard Medical School Bioethics Fellowship, in which she took part in the academic year 2014–2015. She is currently preparing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Eastern Finland on ways of dealing with ethical decision-making in clinical professions. Her close networks in the United States with pioneers in clinical bioethics—still a fairly unrecognized discipline in Finland—enable her to approach ethical issues in clinical environments in an in-depth and nuanced fashion. In 2016, she also wrote, together with Heikki Saxén, a pamphlet on how bioethics could transform health care in Finland. In 2019, the Pirkanmaa Hospital District awarded Salla, together with Heikki Saxén, a yearly prize for advancing ethics in health care.


MSSc, M.Sc. Mikko Värttö (member of the board) is currently a PhD student at the Faculty of Management of the University of Tampere. His research on deliberative methods is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund and Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth’s Fund. For his research, Mikko has organized and evaluated various deliberative forums around Finland. His main interest is on organizations that seek new ways for engaging different stakeholders in decision-making. At the Finnish Institute of Bioethics, Mikko wishes to advance citizens’ deliberation on bioethical questions. He is also a member of board at the Institute for Deliberative Democracy.


Pirhonen_pieniPh.D., researcher Jari Pirhonen is working in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Gerontology Research Center of the University of Tampere. His current research topic is the constituents of a good life in long-term care for older people. In his research, Jari combines philosophy with empirical fieldwork in assisted living surroundings. He applies philosophical theories, such as the Capabilities Approach and Philosophy of Recognition to care, observing whether assisted living residents are able to maintain identity and control over their lives while living in facilities. He is also a researcher in the ROSE project (Robots and the future of welfare services), funded by the Academy of Finland. The purpose of ROSE is to study both the societal and individual level influences of the use of interactional robots in welfare services, particularly in elderly care. Pirhonen studies the influence robots have on human dignity and justice regarding delivery of care.


Koski_pieniAcademy Research Fellow, Dr. Kaisu Koski is an artist-researcher who focuses on the dialogue between art and biomedicine, and the methodology of arts-based research. Between 2011–2013 Kaisu conducted a postdoctoral research project that explored various representations of the body in medical education, conducting fellowships at the medical schools of the University of Alberta and Plymouth University. This study explored the use of anatomical models and problem-based learning narratives. Kaisu currently carries out an Academy Research Fellow project, funded by the Academy of Finland, at the Centre for Practice as Research in Theatre, at the University of Tampere. This project develops arts-based educational videos for medical curricula in Finland, Denmark and the U.S. Click here for Kaisu’s homepage.


BA Antti Sorri has focused on the history and philosophy of science in his studies. He is a seasoned organizer of many kinds of events and an experienced facilitator of philosophical dialogue. In 2010, Antti founded “Puistofilosofia,” an annual philosophy festival that is held every summer in Ikaalinen, Finland. The purpose of the event is to facilitate philosophical discussion and make it available and easily accessible to all. Especially ethical questions have occupied a central place in the event. At the institute Antti aims at fostering similar ends.



MHS, developer (Miina Sillanpää Foundation) Tuija Tuormaa graduated from the University of Eastern Finland majoring in public health. So far, her career path has been in project management at various healthcare-related NGO’s and in research at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland. Professionally she is interested in health promotion, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, health sociology, and medicalization. Also, she is passionate about investigating medical and Big Pharma corruption alongside harmful medical practices in modern medicine. She was introduced to bio- and especially to medical ethics during her studies. She marvels why the UK and the United States have embraced bio- and medical ethics and in these countries these fields have been mainstream for decades. In Finland, social and healthcare-related education hardly addresses bio- and medical ethics, this being the case at universities as well. She believes that bioethical questions cross the whole society and thus we all should have the right to take part, and have a proper platform, in the debates and discussion regarding bioethics.


Ph.D. Henrik Rydenfelt is a researcher at the University of Oulu. His main research interests include the nature of ethical inquiry and debate, ethical pluralism, the ethics of media, communications and social media, as well as their implications for democracy and education. Henrik is an editor or a member of the editorial board in many central academic publications in the field of philosophical pragmatism, as well as a founding member of a Nordic and European cooperation network of the field. He is also the editor of the popular scientific website,



MSoc.Sc in Sociology, MSc in Med. Anthropology, Doctoral Candidate Aleksi Hupli is preparing his PhD dissertation at the University of Tampere School of Social Sciences and Humanities. His dissertation is focused on the policies and practices around human enhancement drug use, especially the use of ADHD medication for both pharmacological therapy and enhancement among ADHD adults and university students in Finland, the Netherlands and USA. He has been granted a personal academic scholarship by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters under the Eino Jutikkala Fund. Aleksi has worked as a junior researcher in the European Research Council (ERC) funded project ChemicalYouth, led by Professor Anita Hardon. Aleksi was also a visiting scholar at the New York University (NYU) anthropology department as part of his PhD research in the spring of 2016. Aleksi has a broad experience in presenting at academic conferences both in Finland and abroad about the use of smart drugs and other psychoactive substances as well as lecturing experience about digital methods and research ethics. In addition, Aleksi is the Vice-President of the Amsterdam Society for Medical Social Scientists (, a member of the Human Enhancement Drug research network and a board member of the Finnish Association for Humane Drug Policy (


Ph.D. Heikki Turunen works as a scientist in the United States at a company developing clinical gene therapies. He’s specialized in the potential of genetic engineering in both research and medicine, especially in the use of viral vectors in treatment of hereditary blinding disorders. He’s knowledgeable on technical details of current advances in methods in biomedicine. In bioethics he’s interested in the potential of molecular genetics, and how new technologies can bring hope to patients suffering from incurable disease.



M.Sc., Doctoral Candidate Taina Ketola is currently working toward transforming the public sector in Finland through different roles and initiatives. She is also preparing a doctoral dissertation at the University of Tampere. As a researcher, Taina started with the issues of municipal law, from which she moved to conduct research on service systems, individuals and organizations. She has worked as a municipal administrator, teacher, chief consultant, and development manager. For the past three years, she has worked as the implementer of the 6Aika cities strategy, developing open innovation platforms in cities. At the Finnish Institute of Bioethics, she wants to be part of an emerging community and promote ethical issues in organizations and in society.

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