ESCMID Panorama

Awardee 2008 for Excellence in Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Pentti Olavi Huovinen born 1956 in Helsinki, Finland; MD, PhD, Professor and Director of the Department of Bacterial and Inflammatory Diseases at the National Public Health Institute (KTL), Finland, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to understanding antibiotic resistance, especially resistance towards macrolides. His laboratory has published breakthrough results on the mechanisms and surveillance of resistance, molecular epidemiology of important pathogens, relationship between antibiotic consumption, and resistance and impact of antibiotic resistance on clinical practice. In addition, Pentti Huovinen has great merits for promoting Clinical Microbiology in the medical community and the general public and thus for the development of our discipline.

Research Interests
From his early years on, Pentti Huovinen has been interested in the spread of resistant bacterial pathogens and their mechanisms of resistance. Up to his postdoctoral period (1986-87) at Harvard Medical School and during his years as a research associate at the University of Turku his main research focus was on plasmid- and transposon-mediated resistance. In 1990, KTL started a nationwide surveillance network of 25 clinical microbiology laboratories to control bacterial resistance. Thereafter, this network has supported studies on the relationship between antibacterial use and resistance and on the molecular background of resistance as well as an intervention to control macrolide resistance among group A streptococci. In 1998, the MIKSTRA-programme was started to guide optimal use of antibiotics in outpatients according to national current care recommendations. From 1995, outpatient usage of antibacterials has continued to decrease in Finland. Today, his research interests include the control of bacterial resistance at an individual level and the protection of normal microbiota.