Professor Emeritus Markku Mäki from the University of Tampere has received the Distinguished Service Award from ESPGHAN, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
The annual award is granted in recognition of an individual who has given a major contribution to the development of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology or nutrition. The award may be granted as a whole life accomplishment or to celebrate a major recent achievement.
“Professor Mäki’s scientific achievements are outstanding,” said Professor Raanan Shamir in the conference where the award was granted.
Mäki’s research has focused on gluten-induced diseases and their treatment, epidemiology, genetics and mechanisms both in children and adults. The research he has conducted has provided new information on disease mechanisms, forming a basis for the development of new universal clinical tools.
Mäki was a pioneer in the use of serological markers to diagnose coeliac disease (CD). He was the first to introduce autoimmunity as a mechanism in CD. His research also showed that that CD exists without a manifested small intestinal mucosal lesion and that new diagnostic criteria were needed. In addition, Mäki has developed diagnostic tests for CD and continues this work; he is also currently conducting drug trials to treat CD.
Mäki has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 300 of which relate to CD, and his publications are annually cited for more than 1,000 times. He has also received several other international and Finnish awards.
The award was conferred at the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition conference in Geneva.
Mäki has been a member of ESPGHAN since 1978; he served as Secretary General of the Society in 1997 – 2000.
The founding members of ESPGHAN also include professor emeritus and former rector Jarmo Visakorpi from the University of Tampere.