Topi Salmi Prize 2013

The Topi Salmi Prize, which is awarded every three years, was granted to Professor Liisa Sihvonen at the Annual General Meeting of the Finnish Veterinary Association on 27 November 2013. Ms Sihvonen, Professor of Veterinary Virology at the University of Helsinki and Research Director at Evira, won the prize for her international and distinguished career as researcher and teacher of veterinary virology.

Liisa Sihvonen, Professor of Veterinary Virology at the University of Helsinki and Research Director of Evira, found her research niche early on in her career. Today, she has a distinguished career in national and international research of viral diseases and, in her capacity as teacher, she helps others in finding and achieving their personal goals.

Ms Sihvonen aimed for a career in research and viral diseases early on in her studies. She also gained experience working as locum municipal veterinarian, at a small animal clinic and as inspection veterinarian. After graduation, Ms Sihvonen worked as microbiology assistant at the College of Veterinary Medicine.  

One year after graduation, she went to Cornell University in the United States, returning to Finland after receiving a research grant and a position at the Academy of Finland in order to start writing her Ph.D. thesis. In 1981, Ms Sihvonen obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine. The subject of her Ph.D. thesis was the maedi-visna virus in sheep. After that, she launched her actual career as researcher and teacher.

Ms Sihvonen’s colleagues who nominated her for the Topi Salmi Prize, Professors Timo Soveri, Satu Pyörälä and Mari Heinonen from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki, describe their colleague: ‘Her research work has an exceptional social impact. She has not closed herself in the ivory tower of research, but distributes her knowledge and expertise for the use of society. Ms Sihvonen is also a popular and highly esteemed teacher and research tutor. Her colleagues and fellow workers regard her as a person with a conciliatory and constructive approach to finding a solution to various problems, with boundless energy for the benefit of our own discipline, veterinary medicine.