Youth Technology Competition Winner gets summer job at Aalto University

Suvi Laitinen wants to learn new things, especially in medicine, and with technology at the forefront
suvi laitinen
‘I am enthusiastic and happy at work and I've already learned a lot of new things,’ said Laitinen

16-year-old high school student Suvi Laitinen and her friend Lena Maula won the Millennium Youth Prize competition in last autumn. Their entry was a proposed new treatment for Alzheimer's disease and it won them the main prize. For five weeks this summer, Suvi Laitinen is working in a different laboratory at the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at Aalto University.

Laitinen is shaddowing the work of a researcher or a research group, observing what each group is studying, and she also participates in the work where she can.

‘I made an English language brochure for Petri Ala-Laurila’s research group which they can use during school visits. I also observed research carried out with a microscope, read research articles and watch videos about research,’ Laitinen said.

During Midsummer week, Laitinen is at the MEDUSA laboratory where ultrasound research is led by Heikki Nieminen. Every day, Laitinen follows the laboratory work of a different researcher.

‘This week, I will model a small sampling stand for 3D printing. On one of the days there will be research on acoustic levitation,’ said Laitinen.

Laitinen already knows a little about the tasks of the upcoming weeks, although the majority of them are only revealed to her at the laboratories.

‘I will be writing a story about empathy for the group conducting a film research that they can use in a future study,’ Suvi Laitinen said.

Laitinen is very pleased with her summer job.

‘I am enthusiastic and happy at work and I've already learned a lot of new things,’ said Laitinen.

From a challenge on Alzheimer's disease to technology and medicine

During the summer of 2018, Suvi Laitinen spent two weeks nursing her great grandmother who has Alzheimer's disease. Participating in the competition and choosing the challenge of medicine diffusion was a natural choice for Laitinen who is studying natural sciences and mathematics at high school.

The competition challenge was to transfer the drug molecule into the target cell as effectively as possible.

‘We gathered as much information about Alzheimer's disease as possible. Our sources were mainly the Current Care Guidelines and publications of various universities. Our most important source was a study carried out by the University of Eastern Finland on specialised stem cells, which found that when a person has Alzheimer’s, astrocytes, or supporting cells, do not produce enough lactate. Our solution was based on increasing the amount of lactate in the brain, giving the neurons more nourishment and slowing the progression of the disease.’

After the competition, Laitinen wanted a summer job in science.

‘I sent an open application because Aalto University has just the combination of technology and medicine that interests me,’ Suvi Laitinen said.

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Related news

Kaksi opiskelijaa ohjauslaitteen ääressä. Kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Unto Rautio.
University Published:

Aalto places 184th in the world in the Times Higher Education ranking

The university has retained its position within the top 200, despite fierce global competition
Aalto Day One 2019-2020
University Published:

Aalto Day One 2019: videos of the opening ceremony now available

The opening of Aalto University’s 10th academic year was celebrated on 3 September 2019.
The cover that was submitted for Energy and Environment Sciences
University Published:

Since cooling demand is primarily driven by the sun, could it also be powered by the sun?

The International Energy Agency has dubbed increased global cooling demand as one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate. A new study entitled - Meeting Increased Global Cooling Demand with Photovoltaics during the 21st Century - yields critical new insight to a fundamental question: How much photovoltaics (PV) would be needed to power the world sustainably?
Aalto University / Riemuteekkarit / photo: Linda Koskinen
University Published:

Satellites and the Electrical Engineering Workshop aroused enthusiasm among jubilee alumni

Alumni who started their studies 50 years ago at the former Helsinki University of Technology convened to celebrate.