Mart Saarma is Academy Professor and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Finland.Prof. Saarma has studied neurotrophic factors and their receptors in the development and in neurodegenerative diseases. His group discovered several GDNF family receptors and demonstrated that RET receptor tyrosine kinase is the signalling receptor for GDNF. Recently his group has discovered a new neurotrophic factor CDNF and shown that this protein very efficiently protects and repairs dopamine neurons in vivo.
Prof. Saarma has received several domestic and international science prizes, including the Nordic Science Prize of the Lundbeck Foundation in 2009. He is member of several academies, the EMBO Council, and the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.