Tarja Tanner (front) with Chief Engineer Bergitte Olderbø and Senior Scientist Jan Tore Samuelsen.

Tarja Tanner is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Cariology at the University of Oulu, Finland, and a clinical dentist at the public dental clinic in Vaasa. At the beginning of September 2017 she came to Oslo and to NIOM to spend six months as a visiting scientist.

While at NIOM, Tanner worked closely with our Senior Scientists Håkon Valen Rukke, Aida Mulic, Rune Becher and Jan Tore Samuelsen on three different projects.

Before returning to her native Finland, she answered some questions about her time at NIOM.


Tarja Tanner (midle) with Foteini Machla (left) and Maria Kassapidou (right).

How has your stay at NIOM been?
My 6 months at NIOM has gone really fast. It took some time to get the project up and running, and on the final stretch I had to hurry to finish all my lab experiments. So typical! I really enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds.


Could you describe your project and the preliminary results?
During my six months I worked on three different projects. First I had possibility to join in a cooperation project between NIOM and Oral Health Centre of Expertise for Eastern Norway. We investigated the activities and attitudes of dentists and dental hygienists´ in the Public Dental Service towards the snus use intervention among adolescents. It was a very interesting project and the manuscript will be soon ready for submission.

We also started a Nordic collaboration on dentists´ opinions on dental erosive lesions, their knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment strategies. This questionnaire survey has been undertaken previously in Norway and Iceland and will be now undertaken in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Our main goal is to publish an international article comparing the data from the five countries, a real multi-national paper. I am really looking forward this collaboration! The project started quite smoothly, so I´m sure that it will continue also in a good atmosphere. Hopefully, we have something more to tell in a year’s time!

My third project at NIOM was a really exciting adventure for me. I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge about snus also through experiments in the laboratory. The aim of our study was to investigate the cytotoxic effects of combined exposure to nicotine and HEMA using in vitro techniques. Exposure to HEMA caused a dose dependent decrease in cell viability whereas nicotine exposure had no measurable effect. Compared to HEMA exposure alone, however, exposure to a combination of HEMA and nicotine reduced the cell viability significantly. This could imply that nicotine exposure amplifies potential adverse effects of HEMA exposure. The mechanisms causing this amplification are currently being investigated.

I’m really enthusiastic about continuing to collaborate with researchers and scientists at NIOM. Even if my six months as visiting researcher has NIOM ended, I feel like my work with NIOM colleagues has just started.