Olli Peltoniemi


Description of research and teaching

I have one major area of research and teaching, which is reproduction in domestic animals. As far as research, my main species of interest is pigs, which attracted my interest already as an undergraduate in the late 1980’s. During earlier years of my career, the focus of my research was seasonality of reproduction in mammalian species, particularly pigs. The pig presents an animal species with strictly seasonal breeding activity and characteristics of a continuous breeder within the same species but different breeds. This is something I still find very intriguing – especially in connection with seasonal effects on maternal recognition of pregnancy and embryonic development. Our research group continues with one line of research on this track. However, during the last decade or so, me and my research group, we have been more interested in the behavioral, physiological and clinical aspects of parturition along with increasing litter size. Again, the main species have been the pig. As newborns are born ever smaller and less viable, more attention needs to be put on the immediate environment, colostrum and immunology of the neonates. We have shown that a good environment, supporting nest building and physiology of the dam shortly prior parturition is of high importance for success of parturition, expulsion of fetal membranes and early development of the neonate. Additional / complementary areas of my research include early embryonic development, castration issues, transcription profiling of the reproductive tissue, aromatase inhibition as a method of pregnancy prevention (especially in canine), reproduction – behavior, animal welfare, endocrine mechanisms of early lactation and colostrum production, animal health and welfare research, behavior of the dam and newly born animals – suckling behavior, epidemiology of animal diseases such as lameness affecting reproduction in production animals (cattle / pigs).

The latest focus of our research interest involves One Health and Welfare, which can be seen as a great research focus stemming on the dynamic relationship between animals and humans. They share the genes, bacteria, pathogens, metabolism, antibiotic resistance and the very environment they live in – so pretty much everything. This intense relationship starts during the embryonic phase of live and continue until the last day. In our society, collection of data on health and welfare has been a traditional strength. Our profession has been collecting health data in digital format regarding dairy cows since 1980’s – and using it for the good of health of breeding. It is now good time to bring health and welfare related records and data banks regarding all domestic species to the final stages of digitalization and turn them into genuine Open Science platforms for researchers to take on. When this process is in full swing, it opens great opportunities for our field, especially researchers in food safety, translational animal models and animal health and welfare. I look forward to these challenges and opportunities rising in the near future – there is a natural role in there for veterinary scientists to bring our University of Helsinki as a leading university in One Health related research.

Further information on the affiliationVice - Dean for Research, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Curriculum Vitae

Prof Olli Peltoniemi

Dr med vet, MVSc, PhD, Dip.ECAR, Dip.ECPHM

European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Reproduction

Olli Peltoniemi graduated as a veterinarian from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki in 1992. He then studied reproduction in domestic animals at the University of Sydney, Australia (1993-4) leading to a Master of Veterinary Sciences degree in 1995. He completed the requirements as a National specialist in Production Animal Medicine in 1997 and was awarded a PhD in domestic animal reproduction by the University of Helsinki in 1999. Olli became a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Reproduction in 2001 and the European College of Porcine Health Management in 2005.

Olli joined the staff of the Faculty of Veterinary medicine in Helsinki in 1995 and has held various roles, mainly in clinical sciences and domestic animal reproduction, culminating in a Full Professorship in domestic animal reproduction in 2010. Regarding leadership, in addition to leading his own pig research group for 20 years, he has had a number of leading roles at the Faculty including the deputy head of the Production Animal medicine Department from 2007-9, chairing the research community from 2010-12, and has been the Vice-dean for research since 2010. He was appointed as a board member of TINE, the Research Council of the University of Helsinki in 2014. Olli has served on the ECAR examination committee from 2003-2005, chairing the committee in 2005, served as secretary from 2009-13 and is currently the President of ECAR as well as being a member of the EBVS Board. The most recent challenge is that of a leader of One Health and Welfare research at the University of Helsinki.

Highlighted publications

  1. Seasonal alterations in circadian melatonin rhythms of the European wild boar and domestic gilt,

    Tast, A. A., Hälli, O., Ahlström, S., Håkan, A., Love, R. & Peltoniemi, O., 2001, In : Journal of Pineal Research. 30, p. 43-49 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Environmental and sow-related factors affecting the duration of farrowing

    Oliviero, C., Heinonen, M., Valros, A. & Peltoniemi, O., 2010, In : Animal Reproduction Science. 119, p. 85-91 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Parturition effects on reproductive health in the gilt and sow

    Peltoniemi, O. A. T., Björkman, S. & Oliviero, C., 19 Oct 2016, In : Reproduction in Domestic Animals. 51, S2, p. 36-47 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

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Highlighted activities

  1. FORMAS (External organisation)

    Olli Peltoniemi (Chair)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in national/international committee, council, board

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Latest prizes

  1. Reproduction - award

    Olli Peltoniemi (Recipient), 11 Sep 2014

    Prize: Prizes and awards

  2. Veterinary Act of the Year - Award

    Olli Peltoniemi (Recipient), 2003

    Prize: Prizes and awards

  3. Pro Animalia

    Olli Peltoniemi (Recipient), 2003

    Prize: Prizes and awards

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