For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Suvi Häkkinen believes that NPBTs (new plant breeding techniques) will definitely be used in the future as their power has already been proven in many applications. She thinks and hopes that “Europe will eventually get on board with countries which allow the NPBT usage in more rational and scientific basis.”
Suvi is the leader of the Commercial exploitation of chicory as a multipurpose crop work package (WP8). This work package aims to develop the technology behind its research for business purposes. Her VTT team is also involved in other WPs in the CHIC project and they mainly study chicory-derived terpenes and their bioactivity potential, how inulin from modified chicory behaves in the gastrointestinal model, and they also screen the NPBT chicory products for their potential toxicity. Researchers are developing an exploitation strategy that’s built on two strong business cases for NPBT chicory-based dietary fibre and bioactive terpenes. Based on the research information, business cases related to inulin and terpenes are being built, together with industrial partners of the project.
As part of this project, she has certainly enjoyed collaborating with skillful scientists towards a very interesting and important research target. She joined the project when project coordinators, with whom she had a fruitful collaboration in the past, invited her and her team. New plant breeding techniques are a highly controversial topic both in the scientific sense and from European and global regulatory perspectives. The CHIC project also focuses on research dissemination in a very special way. It involves incredible artists in a fascinating arts and science platform.
As the project approaches the end, Suvi will miss the consortium, the excellent partners, and the great project spirit. One of her favourite memories of being a part of this project is getting involved in the Arts & Science project, working with different resident artists in laboratories, and making videos related to CHIC in various ways. However, as a scientist herself, it has been very nice to read high-value scientific publications written and published by CHIC partners already at this stage.
At VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, she works in Industrial Biotechnology and Food research area. Her expertise is in plant biotechnology, especially plant metabolic engineering and natural product research. She did her Ph.D. at Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University) related to functional genomics of medicinal plants. She is also a curator of the VTT Plant Culture Collection and plants GMO responsible at VTT.
Work Package Leader
Dr. Suvi Häkkinen, WP8 Coordinator
Commercial Exploitation of Chicory as a Multipurpose Crop