Henna-Maria Kailanto (née Uusitupa), PhD

Senior Scientist

“As a Tech Lead of Early life Nutrition Platform, my work is to innovate, design and manage studies that increase our knowledge on how infant health could be supported via microbiome modulation. This modulation can be done via products that either contain probiotics, meaning living microbes that can go through infant gastrointestinal tract alive, or prebiotics, which are food for these beneficial microbes.”

What do you like best about your job?

“I love the part where our team explores the opportunities that could help small children in the future. I find complexity of microbiota fascinating, and I really enjoy innovating how exactly could we give infant microbiota development those important little pumps and gentle nudges to steer it towards the composition that supports health. It is highly motivating to work towards improving health of the next generation.”

What interested you in working in the field of probiotics?

“The microbes that live on inner and outer surfaces of human beings are connected to our health in ways that seem incredible. Already right after birth microbes secrete small particles that are able to cause short- and long-term effects in infant bodily systems. Sometimes, those effects can last until adulthood, and impact the risk of certain diseases. I find that quite amazing and have been curious to understand better and better how exactly does this happen – and that is the road I am still on as a researcher.”

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of?

“I gave a TED talk at the TED@DuPont event in autumn 2019 on infant microbiota development, and on the opportunities probiotics and human milk oligosaccharides offer for infant health via microbiota development modulation. The talk has already been watched over 2 million times and continues to receive viewers. I felt that giving the talk at TED platform gave me an opportunity to increase the awareness on how important it is to secure infant microbiota development from the very beginning of life, and I am proud of grasping to that opportunity.”

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