These studies were carried out at the Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, during the years 1993-1999. I am grateful to the Head of the Department, Prof. Antti Vaheri, for providing the excellent research facilities and scientific atmosphere. Already from the first years the department felt like a second home to me, because as a medical student my working hours were in the evenings and weekends - not to mention some of the nights that I spent snoozing at the library`s sofa waiting for the next time point. The years of research work have taught me tremendously both scientifically and, at least as much, non-scientifically.
I wish to express my gratitude to Prof. Jorma Keski-Oja, for his interest in my work, guidance, and support. Prof. Keski-Oja is also the Head of the Helsinki Biomedical Graduate School, that I was privileged to take part in my last years of studies. I am also grateful to Prof. Tomi Mäkelä for his expertise and thought-provoking comments. Prof. Kari Alitalo, and Drs. Michael Datto and Xioa-Fan Wang are warmly thanked for collaboration and for providing reagents.
Dos. Pirkko Härkönen and Prof. Juhani Syväoja are gratefully acknowledged for reviewing and improving this thesis.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, the "Boss", Dos. Marikki Laiho for her excellent guidance that is so vital for anyone with a medical school backround. Due to her encouragement and support the research work continued also in less successful days, and her optimism changed the insuperable difficulties to interesting challenges. Her scientific talent, remarkable memory and enthusiasm never ceased to amaze me, and made her - in my eyes as in others´- an ideal supervisor.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the laboratory has been exceptional. I want to thank the heart and soul of our lab, Annari, whose excellent technical assistance, friendship, and sense of humor have made the practical work enjoyable. During the years, the deepest thoughts and doubts I have been able to share with Laura, and there has been no scientific, medical, or personal questions that I have not been able to discuss with her. Because of her great contribution to my work and life as general she is thanked for listening, caring and friendship. I also warmly thank Minna for friendship and for explaining mysterious genetic issues, and Kimmo for welcomed co-operation in the p53 field. Leena and Hanna, who were in the prevailing circumstances forced to comment on the manuscript, are thanked for the answers and lots of laughs. Warm thanks are also owned to Erja, Aura, Jiri, and Fan. I will never forget the always-too-long lunch and coffee breaks that were spent with old, as well as with new members of our lab.
I would also like to acknowledge Tiina, Piia, Heli, Carita, Kaisa, Pipsa, Juha, Kirsi, Marko, and Tuomo at the Haartman Institute for collaboration, support and wide-ranging discussions. Satu Cancar is thanked for introducing me to the world of science - and to Marikki- , and Päivi Loizos for admirable positive attitude, and for keeping the wheels of bureaucracy rolling as smoothly as possible. I am happy that the pleasent moments with Minna G. have continued also outside the lab.
All my friends are thanked for patience and support, particularly the members of the "Five", Päivi, Terhi, Tiina, and Leena, who have faithfully followed the different phases of my scientific and private life and gave me something else to think about.
Above all, I express my gratitude to my late mother Leena, my farther Hannu, sister Virve and her Samuli, and aunt Leila and her husband Jussi for their continuous interest, support, and unquestionably love.
These studies were financially supported by the Finnish Cancer Organizations, the Academy of Finland, the Ida Montin Foundation, and the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim.
Finally, to Mika and Henriikka, my loved ones, belong my warmest thoughts. During these years my husband has shown enormous flexibility, support and understanding. More than anything, I am gratefulful for the constant love and joy he and Henriikka have brought to my life.
Helsinki, August 1999