Topi Salmi Prize 2019

The Finnish Veterinary Association's researcher prize was awarded to Sauli Laaksonen at the Annual Veterinary Congress on 11 December 2019. Laaksonen is a parasitology researcher and a developer of reindeer health care, Doctor of Veterinary, and docent in deer diseases. He has also promoted hunting hygiene among other things.

Sauli Laaksonen’s scientific research has focused on parasites in deer, parasitology and reindeer health care. Laaksonen has studied the circulation and spreading of the main parasites in reindeer and other deer, and together with a network of international researchers, established the connection between climate change and the proliferation of parasites.

Laaksonen began his research career after working as a municipal veterinarian for more than 20 years in Eastern Finland. He found his passion for research when there was an outbreak in reindeer caused by Setaria tundra, a vector-borne nematode, in 2003–2005, and there was not enough information on the parasite at the time. Setaria tundra parasite was the topic of Laaksonen’s doctoral dissertation that was completed in 2010. He has published about 70 scientific publications in international peer-reviewed publication series, quoted about a thousand times. He has also published three medical books on forest animals in Finnish.

Sauli Laaksonen was awarded the prize as a result of his intensive career as a researcher in order to ensure the well-being of reindeer and wild game, numerous major publications and textbooks, extensive support and guidance to young students, and active publication of results and teaching both professionals and enthusiasts.