The TYKS Foundation helped initiating research on children’s infections

12 October 2022

Lauri Ivaska graduated as licentiate of medicine from the University of Turku in 2009. After that, he worked for, e.g., the Mynämäki and Paimio health centres, the joint emergency services of Turku University Hospital (TYKS) and the anaesthesiology and paediatric units of the Central Hospital of Central Finland before specialist training in the Department of Paediatrics of TYKS.

Under the guidance of Ville Peltola, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Lauri Ivaska completed his doctoral dissertation at TYKS. Ivaska was inspired by the practical nature and the topic of the research project. His doctoral dissertation finished in 2017 dealt with different ways of distinguishing children’s viral and bacterial infections.

The assessment of the cause and severity of paediatric febrile disease is part of everyday work of a physician at all emergency clinics where children are treated. The most important tools for this are mapping the patient’s background and the course of the disease as well as the child’s condition and findings in the examination situation. With certain laboratory tests, this “situational picture” can be further refined as needed.

Ivaska felt that the opportunity to work in the facilities of the TYKS Foundation was very welcome form of support for a young researcher.

The opportunity to work at my own workstation during the months spent as a researcher was a great help in the doctoral dissertation project. I could collect all the material I needed for research in one place and work without distractions. My research is clinical in nature and our research group does not have its own facilities, such as laboratories or offices. In this respect, the support provided by the TYKS Foundation is indispensable – veritable targeted support for young researchers.

The TYKS Foundation also supported Lauri Ivaska’s study trip to Canada in 2017. Clinical work in the infection team of a large North American paediatric hospital taught a lot about the field. After a short time, it was possible to participate in the treatment of many patients who you may not meet in Finnish hospitals for many years. Finnish hospitals are of excellent quality. It is always good to get an occasional reminder that things can be done in many ways.

Lauri Ivaska

Graduated as a specialist in paediatric medicine in 2019. Since then, his work has continued at the Department of Paediatrics of TYKS, recently as a clinical teacher of paediatric medicine, and in the additional degree programme in paediatric infectious diseases at TYKS. Clinical research has also continued as a natural part of his job description.

Children’s infections are still interesting. Ivaska has led a project to investigate epidemics caused by group A streptococcus in day-care centres and schools. The study is still in progress. New research projects on coronavirus and pertussis vaccines are also under way. The most important partners in the research work can be found in the research groups of clinical microbiology and immunology at TYKS and the University of Turku. In Professor Qiushui He’s pertussis research group, Ivaska is responsible for the clinical side of the research projects.