Dr. Saarma is the academy professor and director of the Centre of Excellence in Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience Research of the Academy of Finland at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki. He is investigating neurotrophic factors and their receptors in development and neurodegenerative diseases. His group has 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 pre-clinical models of Parkinson’s disease. Currently his group is investigating the mechanism of action and therapeutic potential of CDNF and also the biology of GDNF. Dr. Saarma is the member of several academies and EMBO. He has received several domestic and international scientific prizes and awards including the prestigious Nordic Science Prize.