Mart Saarma

Professor Mart Saarma received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. His work has focused on the in vivo roles, therapeutic effects and receptors of the neurotrophic factors including GDNF and the novel neurotrophic factor CDNF discovered by his research group. Dr. Saarma’s work has been instrumental in understanding the therapeutic potential of these neurotrophic factors for neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease. He has published more than 200 scientific articles. Professor Saarma is the member of Estonian Academy of Sciences, Finnish Academy of Sciences, Tanner Academy, Finnish Technical Academy and member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He has received several domestic and international awards including Estonian State Prize for Science and Technology, Finnish Innovation Prize, Väinö Tanner Prize, Runeberg Medical Science Prize and Karl Schlossmann Science Prize. Between 1990 and 2009, Prof. Saarma was the Director of the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. In 2015, Prof. Saarma was nominated as the Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC).