Dr. Maarit Karonen

Short Biography
• 2001 MSc (UTU, Environmental Chemistry)
• 2007 PhD (UTU, Chemistry; Plant proanthocyanidins. Characterization and quantification by degradation methods, HPLC-DAD/ESI-MS and NMR)
• 2012 Docent, adjunct professor (UTU, Natural Compound Chemistry)

My research

As a researcher, I like to search for something new. I like the possibility to develop myself and to realise something that has not yet been understood. I never really dreamed of being a researcher, but accidentally ended up to be one. I was asked to work in our lab during my master studies. I started as a research assistant in a project working on ”preclinical evaluation of the health effects of natural materials”. Soon I discovered that there was a passionate scientist inside me. Today my strong areas are the chemistry of tannins and polyphenols and the qualitative and quantitative analyses of tannins and polyphenols. The main tools are liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.

My PhD work focussed mainly on proanthocyanidins and their analytics and characterization. I started my postdoctoral research by proanthocyanidins, but my postdoctoral researcher’s project “Promising ellagitannins: effects on ruminant health and greenhouse gas emissions” funded by the Academy of Finland brought new winds and tannins to my life. In addition to the chemical techniques familiar to myself, I could work with isothermal titration calorimetry in University of Reading in United Kingdom and study the effects of ellagitannins on in vitro gas and methane production in Wageningen University & Research Centre in the Netherlands.

Nowadays, my main research project is LipidET studying ”Ellagitannin-lipid interactions – Molecular aspects, mechanisms and antimicrobial effect” funded by the Academy of Finland. We already know that plant ellagitannins can affect ruminant nutrition and health for example by the better absorption of feed proteins and anthelmintic effects against intestinal nematodes. The role of ellagitannins is beneficial but the activities can be highly specific depending on their different structural features and physico-chemical properties. So far, the interactions between lipids and membranes and ellagitannins are unknown. In this project, we try to clarify the role and significance of different properties of ellagitannins in these interactions. In addition, we want to know how the structure and size of the lipid are changed in the presence of ellagitannins and what are the modes of the action. One important question also is if ellagitannins could control pathogenic bacteria in animal production. In addition to LipidET, I have other projects where most of the research is performed by PhD students and collaborators. Please, look at my publications in UTU Research Portal.

My research

I have completed teachers' pedagogical studies (60 ECTS). I think that the learning is a lifelong process and I feel that by teaching I also learn by myself. My teaching includes courses and the supervision of BSc, MSc and PhD students in their lab work and theses. The working with wonderful students is one of the best parts in the academic work. At the moment, my courses are:  LC-MS and its Applications; Identification of Bioactives by UV, MS and MS/MS Spectra; Structure, Activity and Quantitation Methods; Scientific Communication of Chemistry and Book Exams of Natural Compound Chemistry.


Dr. Maarit Karonen
Senior Lecturer, Adjunt Professor, Natural Compound Chemistry

Phone: +358 29 450 3179
Email: maarit.karonen(at)utu.fi

Postal address:
University of Turku
Department of Chemistry
Vatselankatu 2
FI-20500 Turku