Heidi Leskinen

Heidi LeskinenTell us about yourself
My name is Heidi Leskinen and I’m working at MTT Agrifood Research Finland in Jokioinen. I was born in a small city called Salo which is situated in south-western Finland and I graduated with a master’s degree as well as a PhD degree in food chemistry at the University of Turku, Finland. Currently my research focuses on ruminant lipid metabolism and qualitative and quantitative analysis of lipids. My area of expertise is structural analysis of lipid molecules, especially in the determination of fatty acid structures and positional distribution of fatty acids in triacylglycerols. I’m familiar with techniques, such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.

What is your role in RuminOmics?
In RuminOmics project, I have primarily been responsible for the fatty acid analysis in feed and milk samples, but I have also taken care of issues related to, for example, blood metabolite analysis and sampling. I’ve been helping out in ruminal sampling and building up the respiration chambers which is something I would have never guessed a food chemist would be doing during her career.

What interested you most about the project?
What makes RuminOmics such an interesting project is its multidisciplinary approach to generate new scientific data and provide knowledge for livestock industry, which in the end benefits the health of humans.

What and/or who inspired you to make a career in science?
My parents encouraged me to study and I have always got the support I needed from them as well as from my teachers. Natural sciences, nutrition and well-being have always been my interests and food chemistry was a perfect choice for me because it combines chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition and health. At MTT I have had a chance to widen my know-how to animal nutrition and nutrigenomics. My teachers, supervisors and co-workers at the university and MTT have been my best inspirations and I’ve learned a lot from them in the past years.

What do you enjoy most about the work?
The most important thing in my work is the possibility to learn new things and develop myself and my skills, which is something that I also like to follow in my personal life and free time. I love to be involved in many things, although sometimes this multitasking feels like a drawback, if it hinders the possibility to fully concentrate on something.

What is your favourite day of the week and why?
For me the best day of the week is perhaps Friday. Sometimes Friday can be also frustrating when you realize that the week is almost gone already and you feel that you haven’t really achieved anything. Nevertheless, it’s usually just nice to go home and start the weekend with my family. Regardless of how fun it has been at work I still look forward spending time with my lovely little daughter who brings so much love and joy to my life.