Professor Emeritus Markku Mäki of the University of Tampere has received the Distinguished Service Award from ESPGHAN, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. The annual award recognises individuals who have made a major contribution to the development of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology or nutrition. The award can be granted for a lifetime’s accomplishment or 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 in children and adults. His research has provided new information on disease mechanisms, enabling the development of new universal clinical tools.
Mäki was a pioneer in the use of serological markers to diagnose coeliac disease (CD), and was the first to introduce autoimmunity as a mechanism in CD. His research also demonstrated that CD exists without a manifested small intestinal mucosal lesion, meaning that new diagnostic criteria were needed. In addition, Mäki has developed – and continues to develop – diagnostic tests for CD, and he is also conducting drug trials to treat CD.
Thus far, Mäki has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 300 of which relate to CD, and his publications are cited more than a thousand times a year. He has also received several other national and international awards.
The Distinguished Service Award was conferred at the annual European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition conference in Geneva.
Mäki has been a member of ESPGHAN since 1978; he served as the Secretary General of the Society from 1997 to 2000.
The founding members of ESPGHAN also include Professor Emeritus Jarmo Visakorpi, a former rector of the University of Tampere.