Multidisciplinarity opens new horizons
Laurila is a researcher because he likes to learn. You can’t solve research problems overnight and things don’t always go as planned. You never know precisely what’s going to happen next. The unpredictability of research motivates Laurila to keep going. “I learn new things all the time in this job. When I think I know something for sure it usually means I’m completely lost!”
Research projects utilise electrochemistry, materials science, theoretical modeling, physics, biochemistry and know-how in clinical healthcare. According to Laurila multidisciplinarity stems from curiosity. Researchers at Aalto University focus on materials and measuring techniques whereas the Viikki Campus of the University of Helsinki and HUS determine what the research projects mean for the human body and healthcare. The University of Helsinki and HUS are located close to each other which further increases collaboration.
Laurila’s research group is also looking for partners in the business world. The group doesn’t manufacture devices that utilise carbon materials, so Laurila challenges companies to do so. He thinks companies that use carbon materials will soon find their place in the healthcare industry.
Laurila and his group collaborate for example with Carbodeon, a Finnish company that manufactures nanodiamonds. They are small diamond grains coated with a thin carbon cover. Nanodiamonds can for instance improve the durability of different devices. “Carbodeon does things with nanodiamonds that no one else in the world is capable of”, Laurila says.
He sees his research group as a link in a long chain and emphasises the importance of collaboration in all its forms. At Aalto University people are doing world-class research on the different nanoforms of carbon. Laurila praises research groups led by his colleagues, professors Esko Kauppinen, Jari Koskinen, Kari Laasonen, Sami Franssila, Tanja Kallio and Harri Lipsanen.
Transparency is the main value of Laurila’s group. The researchers are happy to help companies and other researchers who want to use carbon compounds. “By putting our heads together we can create more with less money and time.”