As the year is closing, we have the pleasure of welcoming a new talent, as Mareena Hyypiäjoins the Scientific Content & Digital Engagement team.
Mareena is a calm, yet forthright person. “I am very meticulous and dedicated. My former supervisor and dear mentor mentioned that I have relaxed confidence, determination, writing and speaking talent, and great scientific insights”, she elaborates.
As with many MedEngine employees, Mareena has a strong urge to learn new things. Her background is rather multidisciplinary: Her first degrees (B.A. and M.A.) are in education and she has worked as a researcher with educational technology and teacher training at the University of Eastern Finland for five years.
““My parents would teach me about all the wonders, including the detailed structure of a heart.““
Mareena says she’s always been fascinated about biology and human anatomy and physiology. “I grew up in the countryside and was surrounded by nature. My parents would teach me about all the wonders, including the detailed structure of a heart or the biomechanics of the knee and ankle, or the different butterfly species. I have also always been very empathetic and wanted to help people in some way”, she recalls. Later in life she realized that working within medical sciences would perfectly combine her exploratory nature, interest in the human body and a possibility to provide help to others.
So, after a career in pedagogy, she decided to pursue another in biomedicine. “I did a B.Sc. in Biology with minors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Eastern Finland and then an M.Sc. in Translational Medicine at the University of Helsinki. I have specialized in translational neuroscience and personalized medicine, working mostly with Alzheimer’s disease, immunology, genomics, and drug discovery in the central nervous system”, she sums up her endeavors.
“In the future, through all the downstream analysis, the discoveries could offer better treatments for patients suffering from a variety of brain diseases. ”
In addition to having gained experience in the wet lab, during her studies she completed an internship as a genome legislation trainee in the Biotechnology and Medicines Unit at the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. “I also had an eight-month visiting researcher position in the Brain Targeting Program at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, just before joining MedEngine”, Mareena tells us. While working at the Brain Targeting Program in Boston, the group received tissue samples from the brain surgeries of a nearby hospital. “It was quite cool to walk with the sample to the lab and work with it by isolating and culturing different brain cells from the tissue. Not to mention that in the future, through all the downstream analysis, the discoveries could offer better treatments for patients suffering from a variety of brain diseases!”, she exclaims.
Mareena has been very keen on observing the world around her since she was a child. “I remember before I knew how to write, I would tell stories to my parents who would write everything down and create these little booklets. I would then illustrate them and create my very own books”, she recalls. Storytelling and conveying messages have followed her on her path ever since, both when teaching at the primary school or university level or when writing scientific papers or smaller articles about her research.
“Translating new scientific discoveries and innovations to improve people’s lives is what I strive for. Being able to make a positive impact, a difference, is what profoundly inspires me in my work. At MedEngine, I wish to bridge medical science with business and to be a science communicator. Here I can utilize both my inquisitive and creative sides, and in addition, my coworkers are bright, friendly, and fun. I cannot imagine a better place to work!”, she adds excitedly.
“I enjoy, for example, learning to play piano or a new language, trying to solve my way out of an escape game, or doing blind wine tasting.”
Mareena likes to challenge herself both in and out of work. “That’s why I enjoy, for example, learning to play piano or a new language, trying to solve my way out of an escape game, or doing blind wine tasting. I also like creative activities; thus, you can sometimes find me knitting or painting. Moreover, I used to play football for many years rather competitively and every once in a while—especially when I smell the freshly cut grass or watch a game at the stadium—I get the spark to get back on the field”, she laughs.
Great to have you on with us, Mareena! A warm welcome!