Department of Dermatology, Allergology and Venereology

The mission of the discipline is to provide basic education in the field to those pursuing a degree in medicine or dentistry, as well as to educate specialists in dermatology and allergology. The discipline is also responsible for conducting research and organising postgraduate research education of a high standard in the field. It organises continuing education for specialists and general practitioners.

Departmental facilities are located at the Skin and Allergy Hospital in Meilahti.

The purpose of basic education in dermatology and venereology is to provide medical students with sufficient knowledge and skills in identifying and treating the most common dermatological disorders and those venereal diseases that occur in Finland. The dermatology course is organised four times per year for fifth-year students.

Instruction in clinical allergology is provided on the course in microbiology and immunology for second-year students.

Contact person: Professor Annamari Ranki,

  • Pathomechanism of cutaneous lymphomas and novel target genes
  • Mechanism of autoimmune disorders: novel targets for targeted treatment
  • Rare and hereditary skin diseases
  • Allergology of skin diseases

Contact person: Docent Sari Pitkänen,

  • Spread mechanisms and prognostic factors of skin cancers

Contact person: Docent Anita Remitz,

  • Pathomechanisms and treatment of atopic dermatitis

Contact person: Professor Antti Lauerma,

  • Pathomechanism of contact dermatitis
  • Role of the microbiome in skin diseases and allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Acne

Contact person: Docent Jaana Panelius,

  • Skin manifestations of borreliosis
  • Disorders of connective tissue (cutaneous lupus erythematosus and scleroderma)
  • Autoimmune bullous diseases

Annamari Ranki Research Group

Our research is focused on three different areas: autoimmune disorders, cutaneous lymphomas and rare disorders with cutaneous symptoms. In autoimmune disorders, we study the pathogenetic mechanisms of lupus erythematosus from the early impact of UV radiation to the activation of the interferon signalling pathway. As regards autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED), we have begun repairing the gene mutation with the CRISPR/Cas9 method in patients’ induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). In cooperation with international partners, the objective is to redifferentiate repaired cells into a form suited for treatment.  In the field of rare and severe skin diseases, we are conducting wide-ranging international research as part of the ERN-Skin network. We have identified several new disease mutations and are currently investigating their functional impact. As regards cutaneous lymphomas, we are studying the significance of immunosuppressive metabolites expressed by niches, as well as the composition of exosomes separated from serum and their significance to the spread and prognosis of lymphoma. With the help of cell models, we are also studying the significance of the syncytin protein, found earlier in lymphoma cells, to the pathogenesis of lymphoma.

Mika Mäkelä Research Group

The research group conducts its work at the paediatric unit of the Skin and Allergy Hospital, which is for the most part responsible for paediatric allergology operations in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in fluid cooperation with the Children’s Hospital. The group is focused on two groups of disorders: asthma and severe food allergies in young children. The study of asthma in young children is centred on pathophysiology, diagnostics and treatment. We aim to find the factors that determine the persistence and severity of the disorder both in tissues and in the parameters of respiratory physiology. In food allergies, the emphasis has been on the development of diagnostics based on molecular allergology analyses and food desensitisation. Research is mostly based on clinic work. Laboratory analyses are conducted primarily with various domestic and international partners.

Jaana Panelius Research Group

This group’s research is focused on the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders of connective tissue, or cutaneous lupus erythematosus and localised scleroderma, as well as on the mapping of the autoimmune responses of the skin manifestations of borreliosis. Research related to lupus and scleroderma is part of the dissertation project of the junior specialising physician at the department. As regards lupus erythematosus, the aim is to investigate the immunopathogenetic mechanisms underlying the disorder and, specifically, the significance of inflammasome activation in its pathogenesis. Localised scleroderma is being investigated in a European multicentre study, but research conducted independently at the department is focused also on its pathogenesis. As regards borreliosis, the focus is on the immune response to borrelia and its surface layer proteins, tissue specificity and invasion, mechanisms of postinfectious autoreactivity in cell models and inflammasome activity in skin biopsies, as well as the genetic predisposition to contracting the various forms of the disorder. In each research area, new findings help develop diagnostic and therapeutic methods, as well as determine the prognostic factors of the disorder in question. Research is conducted in cooperation with domestic and international parties.

Sari Pitkänen Research Group

Our research group works in the procedural unit of the Skin and Allergy Hospital, which treats more than half of all skin cancer cases in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and almost all cases of precancerous skin lesions. Our research group focuses on the diagnosis and prognosis of skin cancers. We also strive to chart factors that make people more susceptible to skin cancer and its potential spread as well as to establish the mechanisms that underlie skin cancer. Our melanoma research centres on the genetic factors of melanoma, whereas our research on keratinocyte-derived cancers (squamous cell carcinoma and its precancerous stages) concentrates on the etiological factors of cancer, such as the potential role of DNA viruses in the pathogenesis of cancer, particularly in immunosuppressed patients. Consequently, organ transplant patients constitute one of the key groups we investigate in addition to melanoma patients. We engage in research cooperation with organ transplant surgeons as well as other University researchers. Our group currently includes two doctoral students writing their dissertation.

Contact details

Head of de­part­ment

Professor Sirkku Peltonen
PO Box 22 (Meilahdentie 2)
00014 University of Helsinki

Stu­dent af­fairs

Eija Ruoppa
PL 22 (Meilahdentie 2)
00014 University of Helsinki