FIMM welcomes Andrea Ganna, a new FIMM-EMBL group leader

FIMM is very happy to announce that Andrea Ganna has joined the institute as a new FIMM-EMBL Group Leader. Dr. Ganna joined the FIMM Human Genomics Programme from his Post-doc position at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in March 2019.

Dr. Andrea Ganna’s research interests lie in the intersection of epidemiology, genetics and statistics. He has gained extensive expertise in statistical genetics by working with different types of large-scale genomic and health record datasets for almost ten years.

Power of data science combined with population-scale registry and biobank data

Ganna’s group at FIMM is focusing on developing novel statistical and deep learning approaches and applying those on extremely large-scale genetic and disease trajectory datasets from biobanks.

Our ultimate aim is to be able to identify individuals who are in an increased risk of developing a common, preventable disease such as cardiovascular disease. Early identification of high-risk individuals would help us to target possible pharmacological interventions to those individuals who would benefit the most.

- Andrea Ganna

Currently Ganna’s team is training deep learning models with Finnish data resources such as FinnGen. He is also planning some pilot projects within Finngen to understand the combined clinical value of family history of diseases and genetic information.

Ganna and his collaborators at Karolinska Institutet are also running a project where health registries from multiple Scandinavian countries will be utilized.

We will explore the lifetime reproductive success of individuals with different diseases. In practice, this can be achieved by comparing the average number of children in diseased individuals with similar information in the overall population. I am excited about this project, this can only be done in Nordic countries and can be very informative both for researchers and clinicians.

A great start for a new endeavor

During his first few months at FIMM, Dr. Ganna has already succeeded in receiving significant amounts of extra funding. In May, he received a highly competitive 5-year Academy Research Fellow position from the Academy of Finland.

Ganna is open to considering highly motivated junior data scientists to join his team. In the near future, he is planning to recruit at least one PhD student and on Post-doc.

Dr. Ganna encourages talented researchers to consider moving to Finland. He himself has settled well and enjoys the unique combination of nature and fun that Helsinki has to offer.

The long-term goals of the Ganna group are ambitious. After the first five-year FIMM group leader period, he is expecting to be able to demonstrate the clinical impact of the risk prediction models developed in his lab that combine genetics with disease trajectory information. For that, pilot studies are needed and should be launched during the next few years.

We are tremendously enthusiastic about the potential of Andrea's research.  The time is perfect to bring together genetic data, health data and advanced computational methods and enable our field to contribute significant improvements in prediction and prevention in healthcare.  FIMM is extremely fortunate to have recruited Andrea to lead in this important direction!

- Mark Daly, Director of FIMM


Dr. Ganna gained his PhD in 2015 with Professor Erik Ingelsson at Karolinska Institutet developing risk prediction models for cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality.  In 2015-2019 he did his post-doc with Benjamin Neale at the Analytical and Translational Genetics Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute, working with large-scale exome and genome sequencing data, focusing on ultra-rare variants in coding and non-coding genomic regions.