VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

VTT is one of the world leaders in nanocellulose production, characterization, and in advancing emerging applications including the FuturoLEAF concept to develop active immobilisation strategies for living cells. VTT team has deep understanding on complex biomaterials and surface science. In addition, we have extensive infra related to biobased material solutions from lab to pilot to be offered for the FuturoLEAF project team.

Tekla Tammelin

Research Professor

Dr. Tekla Tammelin, Research Professor in Biomaterials Engineering at VTT, holds a title of Docent in Bioproduct Technology at Aalto University. Her research strategy exploits the inherent features of cell-wall systems, and her research takes advantage from plant-based material assemblies and functions. The scientific aim is to bridge the gap between molecular and macroscopic behaviour of complex plant-derived materials, which will further provide new aspects on strategies to construct competitive and viable solutions. Concepts include e.g. responsive nanoenhanced membranes, gas/vapour barriers, immobilisation templates for energy producing biomolecules and cells, printed electronics and patterned optical structures.

Suvi Arola

FuturoLEAF project manager

Dr. Suvi Arola is a Senior Scientist in the research area of Biomass Processing and Products at VTT. Her background is in biochemistry, molecularbiology, and biomaterials physics with more than ten years of experience in nanocellulose research especially in surface interaction related question, hydrogel rheology, and nanomicroscopy. In her present role, she will focus on revealing the different key parameters involved in the matrix component interactions and structures beneficial for cell fitness and viability.

University of Turku

Photosynthetic Microbes group at the University of Turku has a strong background in conducting of both fundamental photosynthesis research and designing of applied photosynthetic-based systems and solutions. We have a state of the art equipment to study immobilized photosynthetic microbes (photosynthetic cell factories) and expertise in thin-layer immobilization.

Yagut Allahferdiyeva-Rinne

Professor in Molecular Plant Biology

Dr. Yagut Allahferdyeva-Rinne, Professor in University of Turku, holds a title of Docent in Bioenergetics, and acts as a PI of the Photosynthetic microbes’ team. She has been a PI at the Molecular Plant unit, University of Turku since 2010. Her research has mainly focused on plant, algal, and cyanobacterial photosynthesis and the alternative electron-transport routes, which are heavily involved in regulation of photosynthesis.

Aalto University

Aalto University has traditionally been profiled as one of the leading institutes in wood and cellulose related research. Together with VTT, Aalto forms a powerful hub of nanocellulose research on virtually all aspects of the material. The group of Prof. Kontturi has tackled many fundamental challenges in, e.g., nanocellulose production, modification, and properties tuning, such as its relationship with water.

Eero Kontturi

Associate Professor

With M.Sc. in Wood Chemistry (2001) and Ph.D. in Surface Science (2005), Professor Kontturi’s research interests lie broadly within interfacial phenomena occurring in plant-based materials. This includes surface reactions (particularly gas-solid), adsorption-based approaches and fundamental analytics utilising ultrathin films. The general aim of his research is to develop new materials by fundamental physico-chemical understanding of plant-based materials (especially cellulose). Professor Kontturi’s recent work involves illuminating cellulose-water interactions, new preparation techniques for cellulose nanocrystals, and exploring new materials based on cellulose-inorganic hybrid thin films.


The Haupt group in the CNRS Institute for Enzyme and Cell Engineering at Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France, is one of the leading groups world wide in affinity technology and MIPs. They have pioneered many new approaches, in particular in the nanomaterials and nanocomposites fields but also at the interface of chemistry and biology. Current activities are the use of MIPs in biosensors, for bioimaging and cell recognition, and as biologically active materials and drugs.

Karsten Haupt

Professor, Université de Technologie de Compiègne

Professor Karsten Haupt, with a background in biochemistry, bioengineering, affinity technology and molecular imprinting, has been a researcher at INSERM, Paris, before joining the University of Paris as an associate professor. In 2003, he was appointed full professor of Nanobiotechnology at Université de Technologie de Compiègne (UTC), France, where he is the Head of the Institute for Enzyme and Cell Engineering. He was also one of the founders and scientific advisor of the French company PolyIntell that commercializes molecularly imprinted polymer-based products for biomedical, food and environmental analysis. His present research interests include chemical and biosensors, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) and synthetic receptors, biomimetic polymers and nanostructured materials for biomedical applications, including drug delivery, medical treatment and diagnostics. His vast knowledge in MIP technology will be a key asset in the FuturoLEAF -project.

Technical University of Graz

The TU Graz belongs to the leading institutions in the development of environmentally-friendly biocatalytic reactions. Research at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at TU Graz combines production, engineering and application of enzymes for the utilization of renewable resources. TU Graz has an extensive experience on the utilisation of autotrophic microorganisms and inexpensive inorganic energy sources to fuel cofactor regeneration.

Robert Kourist


Professor Robert Kourist is the head of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology (Technische Universität Graz) since 2017. The major focus of his research is enzyme engineering particularly lyases and oxidoreductases. His team highlights the development of decarboxylase variants as well as the combination of lyases with metal-catalyzed reactions in organic solvents. Moreover, his work on coupling oxidoreductases to photosynthesis utilized inexpensive inorganic energy sources to fuel cofactor regeneration.

CyanoBioTech GmbH

CyanoBioTech GmbH is a company whose business is drug discovery and development based on bioactive natural products from cyanobacteria exploiting evolutionary success and creating novel bioactive ingredients for the pharma, agro, and cosmetic industry.

Dan Enke


Dan Enke is a biochemist by education and entrepreneur and co-founder of Cyano Biotech GmbH in 2004 and Cyano Biofuels GmbH in 2007. For his entire career since 1999, he has been working on cyanobacteria with a focus on the development of novel therapeutic applications as well as strain engineering towards diverse industrial products.