This work was carried out at the Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of St. Petersburg University and at the Division of Plant Physiology at the Department of Biosciences, Viikki Biocenter, University of Helsinki. This research was supported by the Center of International Mobility (CIMO) and the Academy of Finland, which are gratefully acknowledged.
I have been very fortunate to have two supervisors of my Ph.D. studies and research. I completed my M.Sc. degree under the guidance of Professor T.V. Chirkova at the University of St. Petersburg and continued as her Ph.D. student. I am grateful to Tamara Vasilievna for introducing me to the field of plant physiology, long-lasting encouragement and scientific discussions. My sincere gratitude is due to Dr. Kurt Fagerstedt, my supervisor at the University of Helsinki. I wish to thank him for the support, both in scientific matters and everyday life. His scientific advise, friendship and patience supported me through all these years.
I want to acknowledge the reviewers of my thesis, Ass. Professor Kaarina Pihakaski-Maunsbach (University of Aarhus, Denmark) and Docent Jaakko Kangasjärvi (University of Helsinki, Finland) for critical reading of the thesis, and for their valuable comments and suggestions.
I also want to thank Professor Liisa Simola for providing the working facilities at the Division of Plant Physiology and for her positive attitude towards my studies. Professor Marjatta Raudaskoski is greatly acknowledged for her interest in my research, scientific discussions and encouragement. My warm thanks to all my colleagues who have created a friendly atmosphere at the Department and have supported me in so many ways: Helena Åström, Markus Gorfer, Kaisa Haakana, Pekka Haapaniemi, Mubashir Hanif, Kristiina Himanen, Michael Färdig, Jarmo Juuti, Anna Kärkönen, Eija Kukkola, Aulikki Kylänpää, Erja Laitiainen, Mikko Lehtonen, Maaret Mustonen, Olga Olinevich, Alejandro Pardo, Riitta Parviainen, Arja Santanen, Pekka Saranpää, Marja Tomell and especially Eija Virolainen, who conducted a part of the tocopherol study presented here.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to Sara Niini, Vanamo Salo and their families for introducing me to the Finnish culture for the support during my 'acclimation' period in Finland. I also enjoyed the discussions with Mika Tarkka and Pekka Maijala. Marjukka Uuskallio and Markku Ojala have been always eager to help with any technical matters.
I am indebted to the staff of the Electron Microscopy Division: Michael Hess, Jyrki Juhanoja and Pirkko Leikas-Lazanyi. I thank them for their highly qualified help and discussions. I would like to express my special thanks to Dr. Ove Eriksson, who has inspired the research on the mitochondria physiology.
I am very grateful to my friends at St.Petersburg University: Marie Shishova, Olga Moskaleva, T.M. Zhukova, Vlad Emelyanov and Konstantin Kulichikhin. They have been interested always in my research and ready to help. My warm thanks are due to Vladimir Aseyev for his friendship, support and interest in my work. I have enjoyed our discussions on science and life.
This work would not have been possible without continuous support and encouragement from my husband Dmitry. I am grateful for his patience and help. My daughter Daria has spent the last two years with me in Helsinki and has shared all the ups and downs of this time. Finally, I warmly thank my mother - for everything.
Helsinki, December 2000