Matti Leisola is an Emeritus professor of Bioprocess Engineering. He obtained his Master of Science in Technology degree in 1972, Licentiate of Science (Technology) degree in 1975 and D.Sc. in biotechnology in 1979 from Helsinki University of Technology. Leisola did his post-doctoral dissertation (Habilitation) in Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EHT-Zürich) in 1988.
Matti Leisola is an expert of industrial biotechnology. He has researched the mechanisms of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin degradation by selected fungal species, and microbial enzymes connected with sugar and rare sugars. He has teached biochemistry and biotechnology at the University of Helsinki and EHT since 1975, and he has supervised and advised over 100 master’s theses and some 30 dissertations. He is especially interested in the relationship between faith and facts, evolutionary biology and abiogenesis.
Leisola led a research group at EHT between 1981-1988. He was also a Director of Research in the technology center of Cultor Plc between 1988-1997. He was the head of the Chemical Engineering department (2002-2007) and the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical and Materials Sciences at the University of Helsinki (2008-2010). Leisola has co-founded many biotechnology companies and acted as a consultant as well as a member of the advisory board. He is a founding member and the vice-president of the International Society of Rare Sugars and the editor-in-chief of the BIO-Complexity science journal until 2015.
Leisola has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited over 6000 times (Google scholar). He has obtained seven patents and has published several books in Finnish. Academy of Finland, Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation) and the industry granted Leisola’s research group approximately 10 000 000 euros of research funding between 1997-2012. Adding to that, Leisola has won several prizes, including the Latsis Prize for a significant young researcher in 1987 in Switzerland.