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Frequently asked questions

Helix ry

What is Helix?

Helix ry is a student organization for students studying biochemistry, microbiology, cell and molecular biology at the University of Helsinki, which was founded in 1969. One of Helix ry’s main goals is to safeguard the academic and professional interests of its students (Rules, Section 3). For example, Helix’s education officers fight to maintain the quality of teaching in our faculty. They also ensure communication between students and teaching staff and can sit on faculty councils or management teams.

Helix represents the common interests of bioscience students at the University of Helsinki and organizes various events. The board and officials of Helix are students who are elected annually at the general meeting. Any person who is studying biosciences as a major or minor subject at the University of Helsinki can become a full member of Helix. Anyone can become a supporting member.

What are biosciences

“Biosciences are closely related fields that cannot be clearly delineated. These include biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, and genetics. Biosciences also include biology, chemistry, physics, biophysics, ecology, animal science, plant science, immunology, marine biology, neuroscience, and environmental science.

The current state of bioscience development has been compared to the revolution in physics a hundred years ago. The amount of information in the field is growing at an enormous rate, which is why research that organizes this information into a coherent whole is becoming increasingly important.” (

Why study biosciences?

Biosciences teach us to understand the living world around us and study the phenomena and laws of nature. In biosciences, the world can be examined from the molecular level to entire ecosystems, and one can delve into the most fascinating and unusual solutions found in nature.

How can DNA contain the genetic material of all organisms? How do fireflies produce light? What signaling pathways are involved in gene activation? How do chameleons change color? How do genes work? Why do Magicicada cicadas appear only every 13 or 17 years? What is the impact of fragmentation on species? What genetic and epigenetic changes are associated with an increased risk of cancer? Biosciences study these questions and much more.

What is Kertsi?

Kertsi, or Helix’s clubroom at the Viikki Biocenter 1 (1014), is open during semesters when the Biocenters are open. Kertsi is essentially the living room for bioscience students on campus. It is primarily intended for hanging out between lectures (and during them). There are two computers available for use in Kertsi. The students’ own handbook shelf is located there, containing basic works in the field from Campbell and Stryer to Kakkaukko.

Good tools for hanging out in the Kertsi include PlayStation, several card and board games (such as the Penguin Game and Baby-Making Game), and numerous magazines that students leave lying on the coffee table. Helix’s own magazine, Vapaa Radikaali, also has a comprehensive archive.

In the fridge, you can keep your own snacks, and in the microwave or toaster, you can warm up leftovers from home that you brought with you over the weekend if you don’t like the Unicafe lunches (or the queues). Be sure to mark your own food so that the eager club room coordinator doesn’t throw it away while cleaning. For the sake of general comfort, don’t forget your food in the fridge to incubate over its best-before date! The common room also has a coffee maker and a kettle, as well as coffee and tea provided by Helix for its members. Snacks and beverages such as instant oatmeal, noodles, and small bites are also available. There’s also a soda vending machine outside the common room.

Above all, the Kertsi is meant for killing time and doing nothing, and let’s face it, stressed-out white-coated students can be quite amusing to watch. However, please don’t come to the common room wearing your lab coat from the lab course: we don’t want antibiotic-resistant bacteria incubating in our couch cushions!

Studying in a University

What is the University of Helsinki?

“The University of Helsinki is an international community of over 40,000 students and employees, operating on four campuses in Helsinki and 15 other locations throughout Finland. High-level research generates new knowledge, which is used to train diverse experts for various fields and applied in societal decision-making and the business world.

Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki aims to strengthen its position as one of the world’s best multidisciplinary research universities and actively work towards human well-being and a just society.” (

What is the Viikki campus?

“The green Viikki campus is located about nine kilometers from the center of Helsinki. More than 6,500 students and approximately 1,800 staff members study and work in a natural environment.

The multidisciplinary Viikki campus has four faculties: the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Faculty of Pharmacy, and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. In addition, the Biotechnology Institute and the Neuroscience Research Center, both separate institutes of the University of Helsinki, are located on the campus.

There are plenty of services on the campus, and an ecologically oriented residential area is an essential part of the whole.” (

What is the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences?

“The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, together with its units, forms the most prominent and extensive center of biological and environmental research and education in Viikki.

The importance of biological and environmental knowledge in society is increasing. Applications are essential in healthcare and medicine, sustainable use of natural resources, and solving environmental problems.” (


Instructions for applying to the University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences can be found here.