Jaana Bäck


Curriculum Vitae

1. Personal information

Name: Jaana Kaarina Bäck

Nationality: Finnish


2. Education and academic degrees:

1994      PhD., University of Oulu, Physiological plant ecology. Topic of PhD thesis: ‘Effects of acidic precipitation on Scots pine and Norway spruce needles and their low temperature tolerance’ May 1994

1985      M.Sc., University of Kuopio, Environmental Sciences

Adjunct professorships:

1998                   Plant ecophysiology, Univ. of Oulu

2010                   Forest-atmosphere interactions, Univ. of Helsinki

3. Current position:

8/2013 –           Professor in Forest-Atmosphere Interactions, Dept. of Forest Sciences, Univ. of Helsinki

4. Language skills:             Finnish (native), English (fluent), Swedish and German (good working skills), Spanish and French (beginner level)


5. Previous professional appointments:

2/2012 – 7/2013            Research coordinator 50% (Dept. of Physics) and University lecturer, 50% (Dept. of Forest Sciences) Univ. of Helsinki

1/2007 -1/2012              Research coordinator, Univ. of Helsinki

8/2004-12/2006             Research fellow, Univ. of Helsinki

1/1998- 7/2004              Post-doctoral fellow, Acad. of Finland

1/1995- 12/1998            Assistant in Plant Ecology, Univ. of Oulu

8/1990-7/1996               Junior research fellow, Acad. of Finland

1/1988-12/1990             Research fellow, Univ. of Oulu

10/1985-12/1987          Research assistant, Univ. of Oulu (Ministry of Environment)


Career breaks:

1997-98                         Parental leave (son born in Feb 1997) 12 months

1999-2003                     Parental leave (twin daughters born in Jan 2000) 37 months


6. Main research interests

I have a background in environmental sciences and ecophysiology. I'm interested in how ecosystems function, and what mechanisms are driving their functions. My research is concentrating on forest ecophysiology, more specifically on how biosphere dynamically influences the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and vice versa, including carbon exchange and biosynthesis and emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC's) from both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. These processes significantly influence the atmospheric aerosol formation in the boreal forested areas, and are thus contributing to natural processes that are slowing down the climate change. Previously I have also worked with the effects of elevated ozone, carbon dioxide and acidic deposition and heavy metals on the boreal and temperate tree species.

Until Feb 2017, I have published 81 papers in peer-review journals and 30 chapters in peer review books. 


7. Major research funding and academic leadership, student supervision

Ongoing research projects

2017               Advance_eLTER, J Bäck as UHEL PI

2015-2019       eLTER H202 project, J Bäck as UHEL PI

2014-2016        Impacts of Sokli phosphorus mine on Northern ecosystem functioning and atmosphere, Maj and Tor Nessling foundation, Project leader J. Bäck

2014-2019        Finnish Center of Excellence in ‘Atmospheric Science – From Molecular and Biological processes to The Global Climate’ (Academy of Finland; project leader Prof. Markku Kulmala); J. Bäck as co-PI and team leader

2014                   Biogenic Aerosols – Effects on Clouds and Climate (BAECC) (Dept. of Energy, US; project leader prof. Tuukka Petäjä); J. Bäck as co-investigator

2012 – 2017     Infrastructure for Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems ESFRI Preparatory Phase (ANAEE-PP), J. Bäck as WP leader and Steering committee member

2011-2015        Optimizing forest management and conservation to account for multiple interactions with the climate (University of Helsinki, project leader Prof. Eero Nikinmaa), J. Bäck as WP co-chair

2010-2015        Cryosphere-atmosphere interactions in a changing Arctic climate [CRAICC] (Nordforsk; Project leader prof. Markku Kulmala), J. Bäck as Project Coordinator, WP co-leader


Academic leadership

2011- (ongoing)      Leading the ‘Ecosystem processes’ -research group (15 post doctoral or senior researchers and 22 MSc students (http://www.helsinki.fi/metsaymparisto/index.html))

2010 – (ongoing)    In charge of the ecosystem research, SMEAR measurement network http://www.atm.helsinki.fi/SMEAR/

Student supervision

  • official main supervisor of 4 ongoing PhD theses [tentative finishing year]: Anni Vanhatalo [2018], Laura Matkala [2019], Mari Mäki [2019], Kaisa Rissanen [2019]
  • co-supervisor or follow-up group of 6 ongoing PhD theses: Johanna Joensuu, Beñat Olascoaga-Gracia, Kourosh Kabiri, Maria Dominguez, Teemu Paljakka
  • finished PhD theses:  Juho Aalto, Dept of Forest Sciences, Univ. of Helsinki, 2015; Ditte Mogensen, Dept of Physics, Univ. of Helsinki 2015, Hermanni Aaltonen, Dept of Forest Sciences, Univ. of Helsinki, 2012; Hanna Lappalainen, Dept of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Helsinki; 2010; Albert Porcar-Castell, Dept of Forest Ecology, Univ. of Helsinki, 2008; Nuria Altimir-Escale, Dept of Forest Ecology, Univ. of Helsinki, 2006; Eija Juurola, Dept of Forest Ecology, Univ. of Helsinki, 2005


8. Major teaching duties and pedagogical competence

BSc or vocational level:

-          Tree ecophysiology, 6 credits (annually 2012- ) in English, Univ. of Helsinki

-          Ekologian perusteet, 3 credits (1990-1992), in Finnish, Univ. of Oulu

-          Forest damages caused by air pollutants (1988-1993), in Finnish, Rovaniemi School of Forestry

MSc/PhD level:

-          Forests and peatlands as modifiers of atmospheric composition, 4 credits (annually 2009-) in English, Univ. of Helsinki

-          Ympäristötekijöiden muutos ja metsät, 5 credits (2012) in Finnish, Univ. of Helsinki

-          Winter school ‘Cryosphere processes and their special features’, 5 credits (annually, starting in 2012) in English, Univ.of Helsinki

-          Field course ’Air pollution  - effects, causes and consequences– data analysis’ 4 credits (annually, starting 2010), in English, Univ.of Helsinki

Other teaching duties: In charge of the weekly postgraduate guidance group at Forest ecosystem processes, 2005-2011 (research ethics, publishing, mentoring)


9. Other academic merits and activities:


2017                    Pro Scientia –award, given by the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters

Grant and thesis review tasks

2017                     Faculty opponent, PhD thesis: Ylva van Meeningen, Lund University

2016                     Opponent, PhD thesis: MSc Rajendra Ghimiri, Univ of Eastern Finland

2016                     External evaluator, Docentship: PhD Vesa Palonen, UHEL Physics

2015                     External evaluator, PhD thesis: Mikhail Paramonov, Univ of Helsinki

2015                     Opponent, PhD thesis: MSc Michelle Schollert, Univ of Copenhagen

2014                     Opponent, PhD thesis: MSc Kaisa Hartikainen, Univ. of Eastern Finland

2013, 2014           Member of the international peer evaluation committee, Swedish Research Council research grants (VR NT-8)

2012                      External evaluator, Docentship: PhD Juha Heijari, Univ. of Eastern Finland

2010 - 2012         Member of evaluation panel, Univ. of Helsinki research grants (annual)

2010 - 2012         Member of evaluation panel, University researcher, Univ. of Helsinki

2009                      External evaluator, PhD thesis: MSc. Elina Häikiö, Univ. of Kuopio

2008                      External evaluator, PhD thesis: MSc. Delia M. Pinto, Univ. of Kuopio

2006-07                Evaluator for the positions of University researcher, Univ. of Helsinki


Editorial Boards and referee tasks

2012-                           Member of Editorial board, ISRN Atmospheric Sciences

2012-                           Review Editor, Frontiers in Plant Sciences

2012-                           Guest Editor, ‘Interactions between climate change and the Cryosphere: SVALI, DEFROST, CRAICC’ in Biogeosciences, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and Cryosphere

2012-2013                  Guest Editor, Environmental and Experimental Botany Special issue         “Boreal vegetation under air pollution stress – atmosphere-vegetation interactions”

2006 – 2012               Subject Editor (Forests) in Boreal Environment Research

2006 – 2007               Assisting scientific editor in Silva Fennica

2005 – present        Editor, Report Series in Aerosol Science 77 (2005), 87 (2007), 92                  (2008), 93 (2008), 94 (2008), 102 (2009), 109 (2010), 126 (2011), 128                 (2011) (national journal)


Referee in e.g. Analytical Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Atmospheric Environment, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Biogeosciences, Boreal Environment Research, Chemosphere, Critical Rev. in Biotechnology, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Environmental Pollution, Forest Ecology and Management, New Phytologist, Plant Cell & Environment, Sensors, Silva Fennica, Tellus B, Tree Physiology

Most important scientific positions of trust and administration:

2016- present            Vice chair of the Master Programme ATM-MP, UHEL

2015-                            Chair, EASAC Working group on Multifunctionality of European Forests

2015-                            Member in Helsinki Life Sciences infrastructure committee

2014-                            vice chair, research infrastructures, Department of Forest Sciences, UHEL

2014-                              vice member, Department council, Department of Forest Sciences, UHEL

2013-present              Board member, Naisten Tiedesäätiö (Womens’ Science Foundation)

2012-present              Steering committee member in EU-FP7 ANAEE ESFRI Preparatory Phase Project (WP leader in Financial and Human Resources)

2011 –2013                   Board Member in the Earth Science Women’s Network European          Committee (ESWN-European Board)

2010 - present            Principal Investigator, University of Helsinki, Department of Forest        Sciences

2010 – 2012                  Member in Scientific Steering Committee of the Nordic Center of   Excellence ‘Cryosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Arctic Climate’ (CRAICC)

2008 – present           Member (secretary in 2008-11) in the steering group of ‘Finnish Center of Excellence in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Meteorology of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change’

5/2005 – 12/2007       Acting coordinator in the Helsinki University Environmental Research   Centre (HERC) research consortium URPO—Urban and Rural Air Pollution, 12 months in total

1/1994 – 12/1996      Member of the Board of the Faculty of Sciences in the Univ. of Oulu


Other scientific activities and positions of trust

2016-2020         Elected Co-chair, Gordon Research Conference on Biogenic Volatiles and               Atmosphere

5/2014               co-convener, session 4 ’Extreme events and environments’, 4th iLEAPS science Conference, Nanjing

4/2013               Co-chair; European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Session AS4.10/BG2

6/2012               Secretary of the committee planning the Atmospheric Research Center,  University of Helsinki, Finland

9/2012               Member of organizing committee, 2nd Annual meeting of the Cryosphere- Atmosphere Interactions in Changing Arctic Climate (CRAICC), Oslo, Norway

10/2011            Member of organizing committee, 1st Annual meeting of the Cryosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in Changing Arctic Climate (CRAICC), Iceland

2/2011               Member of organizing committee, Kick-off Meeting of the Cryosphere- atmosphere interactions in a changing arctic climate (CRAICC) NCoE project,         Helsinki, Finland

10/2010            Co-chair and organizer, Nordic-Baltic BACCI workshop on ‘Interactions  between atmosphere and biosphere: role of BVOCs’, Tartu, Estonia

7/2010               Member of organizing committee, HUMPPA-COPEC measurement campaign, Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station, Finland

6/2010               Member of organizing committee, World Congress of Resource Modeling   Association, Helsinki, Finland

12/2007            Chair, 1st Finnish-Estonian VOC workshop, Hyytiälä, Finland

2007-2011        Co-chair, annual CBACCI/ABS workshops for teachers, Helsinki, Finland, 5 times.

Latest publications

  1. Long-term measurements of volatile organic compounds highlight the importance of sesquiterpenes for the atmospheric chemistry of a boreal forest

    Hellen, H., Praplan, A. P., Tykkä, T., Ylivinkka, I., Vakkari, V., Bäck, J., Petäjä, T., Kulmala, M. & Hakola, H., 1 Oct 2018, In : Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18, 19, p. 13839-13863 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Transpiration directly regulates the emissions of water-soluble short-chained OVOCs

    Rissanen, K. A., Hölttä, T. S. & Bäck, J. K., Oct 2018, In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 41, 10, p. 2288–2298 10 p., PCE13318.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Prediction of photosynthesis in Scots pine ecosystems across Europe by a needle-level theory

    Hari, P., Noe, S., Dengel, S., Elbers, J., Gielen, B., Kerminen, V-M., Kruijt, B., Kulmala, L., Lindroth, A., Mammarella, I., Petaja, T., Schurgers, G., Vanhatalo, A., Kulmala, M. & Back, J., 18 Sep 2018, In : Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18, 18, p. 13321-13328 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

View all (193) »

Latest activities

  1. EASAC Forests report launch

    Jaana Kaarina Bäck (Speaker: Keynote)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

  2. EASAC report launch, Helsinki

    Jaana Kaarina Bäck (Speaker: Keynote)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

  3. EASAC report launch, Stockholm

    Jaana Kaarina Bäck (Speaker: Keynote)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

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Latest prizes

  1. Pro Scientia –award

    Jaana Bäck (Recipient), 13 Nov 2017

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (1) »

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