Venla Oikkonen

PI, Academy Research Fellow, Associate Professor

Venla Oikkonen is a gender studies and STS scholar who works currently as an Academy Research Fellow studying cultural debates about vaccines. She is also Associate Professor at Tampere Centre for Knowledge, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies. Venla leads the GenDis project. She has previously researched cultural aspects of infectious diseases, population genetics, genetic ancestry testing, ancient DNA, and evolutionary theory. Her research within GenDis focuses on endometriosis. Read more about Venla’s research.


Henni Alava

Postdoctoral researcher

Henni Alava is an anthropologist and development studies scholar. As part of GenDis, she will use ethnographic methods to study families’ experiences of pediatric persistent pain and its care in Finland. Her earlier work has drawn on research in Uganda to explore the intersections of Christianity, politics, citizenship and gender. Read more about Henni’s research.


Elina Helosvuori

Postdoctoral researcher

Elina Helosvuori is a sociologist and science and technology studies scholar. In GenDis, Elina will use ethnographic methods to explore intersections of medical practices and experiences of chronic pain, focusing on surgical interventions to endometriosis. Her earlier work includes multi-sited ethnography about assisted reproduction in Finland, in which she explored the entanglement of clinical practices, laboratory labour and patient experience in fertility treatment practices. Read more about Elina’s research.


Lilli Aini Rokkonen

Postdoctoral researcher

Lilli Aini Rokkonen is a sociologist and a social and public policy scholar. In the GenDis project, she will focus on ethnographic research among Finnish migraine patient organizations and interview clinicians and patients dealing with chronic pain. Lilli´s earlier work has focused on feminist studies of motherhood and precarious work, and she holds a PhD from the University of Eastern Finland. Read more about Lilli´s research.


Maria Temmes

Postdoctoral researcher

Maria Temmes is a gender studies and STS scholar. In the project, she will analyze biomedical research in endometriosis, migraine, and fibromyalgia and its impact on healthcare planning. Her previous research has analyzed systems medicine research in cancer from a feminist theoretical angle. Maria holds a PhD in Gender Studies from Central European University. Read more about Maria’s research.


Ahalya Ganesh

Doctoral researcher

Ahalya Ganesh is a Gender Studies scholar. In the GenDis project, they will work on a PhD thesis analyzing the implications of patient activism on the interactions and treatment negotiations between people having fibromyalgia and their clinicians. Their masters’ thesis was on the fetal personhood discourse and how it affects the realization of reproductive justice.


Ilze Mileiko

Doctoral researcher

Ilze Mileiko is a social anthropologist, working on a PhD thesis in gender studies. In her current research she looks at the experiences of Finnish and Latvian women who are affected by chronic fatigue syndrome. She studies how the condition transforms the sufferers’ self-perception considering gendered ideas of success and failure. In her master’s thesis Ilze explored the impact of widespread chronic conditions on young, socially and economically active people’s lives and self-image.


Mianna Meskus

Associate Professor of Sociology

Mianna Meskus is a sociologist and STS scholar. Mianna is involved in the conceptual and theoretical work of the GenDis project, and co-authors papers on studying bioscience and drug governance through ethnographic methods. Her work explores the ethics, politics and peoples’ personal experiences in the biomedical governance of reproduction and aging. Read more about Mianna’s research.

GenDis team


Luna Dolezal, Associate Professor in Philosophy and Medical Humanities, University of Exeter, UK

Anna Durnova, Professor of Political Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria, and Faculty Fellow, Yale University Center for Cultural Sociology, USA

Andrea Ford, Research Fellow at the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society, University of Edinburgh, UK

Jennifer Hamilton, Professor of Legal Studies and Anthropology, Hampshire College, and Visiting Professor of American Studies, Amherst College, USA

Advisory Board

Amade M’charek, Professor of Anthropology of Science, University of Amsterdam

Elina Oinas, Professor of Sociology, University of Helsinki

Celia Roberts, Professor in the School of Sociology, Australian National University

Ayo Wahlberg, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen