Anna Liisa Laine is Professor in Plant Ecology on the Research Program in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Helsinki. Her research pursues an understanding of how diversity is maintained in host and parasite populations, in order to answer questions on how the risks of virulence and pathogen occurrence evolve. She studies how plants in particular, and any individuals and populations in general, survive and develop their resistance under continuous attack by multiple pathogens.
While previous studies have employed models where a single host battles a single pathogen, Laine and her team have used gene sequencing methods to establish that one individual may be infected by multiple pathogens, up to dozens at a time, despite only showing symptoms of one or a few. She is Vice-President of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Research Centre for Ecological Change at the University of Helsinki