Tuomas Jyske’s career has always been determined by a meaningful goal. Working for a meaningful goal contributes to a better world. He works at Varian, which is a leading manufacturer of radiotherapy technology. Tuomas and his colleagues develop software for the planning of radiotherapy for cancer patients. Varian radiotherapy software and devices are used in treating millions of patients every year. In this way, Tuomas Jyske has a hand in helping improve patients’ health.
Tuomas Jyske comes originally from Saarijärvi. His professional dream was to follow his father and become a vet. However, because of the potential risk of allergy, his study counsellor encouraged this young man, who liked science, to go into teaching. With this idea in mind, after graduating from the upper secondary school, Tuomas applied to the University of Jyväskylä to study physics.
“Jyväskylä is near Saarijärvi and of a suitable size. The university had a good reputation and it was possible to study physics there – the choice was easy.”
Jyske had physics as his major, and information technology and mathematics as his minors. He aimed to become a physics teacher at first, and pursued pedagogical studies for a year or so. The university also offered a few courses in medical physics, which Tuomas attended. The teacher was a physicist at the local hospital, and Tuomas found these courses particularly interesting.
“In addition to the courses, the best thing from my university years are the long-lasting friendships. In Jyväskylä, we used to cycle year round and I have cycling as a free-time activity still today. Jyväskylä offered plenty of activities otherwise as well, because there are lots of young people in the town.”
At the final stage of his studies, Jyske got a summer job at Datex-Engström (now GE Healthcare), where he developed software for patient surveillance monitors to control, for example, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. His university studies were well in line with the professional demands. The summer job was eventually extended to a decade-long employment relationship. Jyske also did his master’s thesis for Datex-Engström.
Jyske’s career has taken him from Datex-Engström to ABB and eventually to his present job at Varian. He is in charge of a team of ten that focuses on the development of proton radiotherapy, which is still missing from the arsenal of treatments available in Finland.
“It is important to find a high-spirited work community where one’s own job has a sensible goal. There are seven different nationalities in my team. I like the notion that there is not just one right way to do things but our work is based on collaboration.”
The team’s work is critical, since in radiotherapy, the beams must be targeted accurately on cancerous tumours while saving healthy tissue and vital organs from radiation as far as possible. Proton therapy makes it possible to destroy cancer tissue in the most critical parts of human body, such as the brain, yet avoiding damage to healthy tissue.
Through his work, Tuomas has learned that a scientist’s toolbox should preferably contain some software engineering skills as well. Such a combination can open doors especially to the intensely growing field of health technology, which demands plenty of “cross-breeds” of scientists and coders.
Nowadays, Tuomas typically spends most of his workday in meetings with his team members. The work culture at Varian is progressive, as the manager meets his employees at least once a fortnight. Instead of annual development discussions, they have continuous dialogue. Exchanging the latest news makes the work more meaningful.
“Varian’s vision is a world where people need not be afraid of cancer. The vision is important to me and to my colleagues. As we have relatives who have fought cancer, and I know that we can help. How important it might be to the world and to all these people.”
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