Research - Genetics

The research in Genetics covers an area from molecular analysis gene function to genomic level understanding of central biological processes. The focus is on three major but interacting areas of genetic research: Plant genetics and genomics aims at mechanistic and systems level understanding of plant adaptive responses to environmental cues, Human genetics research explores the molecular basis of hereditary disorders, and Bioinformatics research elucidates protein-protein interaction networks and develops methods for motif discovery in DNA and protein sequences. Additional areas of active research are developmental genetics and microbial genetics.

Core Facilities:

Viikki Metabolomics Unit - ViMU

Current research groups / projects in alphabetical order according to group leader

University lecturer Pekka Heino: Signaling processes and gene expression during cold adaptation in plants

The focus of research is in elucidating the signaling processes involved in activation of gene expression during cold acclimation of plants. >> Read more

University lecturer Tapio Heino: Drosophila as model organism in developmental biology
We are using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model to study the developmental role of actin-binding proteins and also to study the role of a novel mammalian neurotrophic factor found also in Drosophila. >> Read more

PhD Ville Hietakangas: Hietakangas Lab
Our group studies nutrient sensing in animals. We aim to understand how nutrients regulate gene expression and signalling to adjust metabolism and growth. Our main experimental approaches include Drosophila genetics and genomics. >> Read more

Professor Liisa Holm: Bioinformatics
The group's main interests are protein sequence-structure-function relationships and computational analysis of gene regulation. >> Read more

Academy Research Fellow Iiris Hovatta: Genetic and neurobiological basis of anxiety disorders. Our aim is to identify genetic factors that regulate anxiety. We use functional genomics approaches to identify gene regulatory networks involved in the regulation of anxiety, investigate the mechanisms of affected genes and miRNAs, and study them as candidate genes for human anxiety disorders. >> Read more

Professor Minna Nyström: DNA mismatch repair and cancer
The object of the project is functionally characterize genetic and epigenetic changes associated with risk of colorectal cancer. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we address pathogenic and functional significance of inherited DNA mismatch repair gene mutations found in cancer patients as well as epigenetic alterations in normal mucosa involved in colorectal cancer risk and initiation. >> Read more

Docent Päivi Onkamo Group
The aim of the Project is to sequence ancient Finnish and Fenno-Ugrian human remains. Both whole genomic, as well as more traditional maternal and paternal lineages will be compared to both current Finns, the neigbouring populations, as well as other Fenno-Ugric people. The ultimate goal is to find how and when the "present-day Finnish" population has emerged: the migrations, admixtures etc. Which archeological cultures brought which component, if that can be determined? >> Read more

Professor Tapio Palva: Signal networks controlling adaptive responses in plants
The overall aim of our research program is to elucidate the fundamental biological processes and signal networks that govern plant responses to their environment; in particular our research focuses on understanding defense signaling and control of growth and cold acclimation in plants. >> Read more

Professor Juha Partanen: Regulation of neuronal differentiation in the embryonic midbrain
Our group is interested in how neuronal diversity is generated during embryonic development. In particular, we study the mechanisms of intercellular communication and gene regulation, which control neuronal differentiation in a distinct region of the vertebrate brain -  the midbrain.
>> Read more

Docent Katarina Pelin: Characterization of isoforms and identification of factors regulating alternative splicing of the nebulin gene
The research is focused on elucidating the regulation of expression and splicing of the nebulin gene, which encodes a structural protein of the skeletal muscle sarcomere. >> Read more

Docent Hannu Saarilahti and docent Suvi Taira: Virulence mechanisms of phytopathogenic bacteria
The research aims to characterize virulence determinants of Gram-negative phytopathogenic bacteria, including their gene regulation and effects on the plant-bacterium interaction.
>> Read more

Professor Jim Schröder: Identification of fetal placental cells in maternal blood
Isolation of fetal cells and fetal DNA from maternal blood for diagnosis of genetic disease.
>> Read more