Events, seminars and courses organized by the Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics.
CoECDG Journal Club

Centre of Ex­cel­lence in Com­plex Dis­ease Ge­net­ics Journal Club (ongoing)

The aim of the Journal Club is to give the participants an opportunity to learn about recent and impactful articles of interest. The participants will also have an opportunity to present an article of their own choosing to the other participants and network with other researchers and PhD candidates. The Journal Club is open to all interested in the field of complex disease genetics.

In each session one of the participants will present a relevant, recent research article. The papers can be method-based, translational or relevant resources. The articles will be made available to all participants beforehand, so everyone can familiarize themselves with the article and the topic before the session. The presentation will be followed by discussion.

Felix Vaura ( coordinates the Club. If you are interested in presenting, please contact him!

The Journal Club will be hosted one Friday a month: 12:30-13:30 in the 3rd floor coffee area at FIMM. The Journal Club will be held on-site only.


Speakers - Fall 2023

September 22nd: Om Dwivedi (topic TBA)

October 20th: ASHG Presentation Practice (contact if you're interested in presenting!)

November 24th: Max Tamlander (topic TBA)

December 15th: Fiona Hagenbeek (topic TBA)


Please email if you want to present at the Journal Club!


ECTS: 5 attendances and one presentation = 1 ECTS. Max. 2 ECTS (=10 attendances and two presentations). Course code: DOCPOP-133. For enquiries and more information, please contact

Complex Disease Genetics Day 2023

DATE: Friday, January 20, 2023
LOCATION: Ossian Lecture Hall, Folkhälsan, Topeliuksenkatu 20 00250 Helsinki
ORGANIZERS: Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics, Stephanie Zellers, Bradley Jermy, Julius Anckar

Doctoral candidates: Please note! This is not an official course, and thus, no credits can be given. However, if a certificate of attendance is needed, please contact the CoECDG coordinator (

Chair: Samuli Ripatti

 07:45-08:00 Coffee and sandwich

08:00-08:10 Opening words  Samuli Ripatti
08:10-09:00 Keynote: From identification of mutations to targeted therapies for vascular malformations  Miikka Vikkula
09:00-09:20  Cohort effects on regular use of tobacco and quantity of tobacco used: Longitudinal twin modeling in the Older Finnish Twin Cohort  Stephanie Zellers
09:20-09:40  Polygenic risk of BMI and BMI trajectories in twin pairs from Finland: A 26-year follow-up Bram Berntzen  
09:40-10:00 Systematic evaluation of the environmental effect on depressive symptoms in late adolescence and early adulthood: exposome-wide association study and twin modeling   Zhiyang Wang  

10:00-10:30 Coffee Break

10:30 -10:50 Understanding chronic fatigue and dysautonimia Hanna Ollila
10:50-11:10 Medication genetics Tuomo Kiiskinen
11:10-11:30 Health, socioeconomic and genetic predictors of COVID-19 vaccination uptake: a nationwide machine-learning study  Tuomo Hartonen  
11:30-11:50 Tackling Long COVID with the global Host Genetics Initiative collaboration  Vilma Lammi

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-13:20 Phenome-wide perspective into the role of Finnish Y chromosome variation in complex diseases  Anniina Preussner 
13:20-13:40 Genetic contribution to disease-course development in psychotic disorders  Anders Kämpe
13:40-14:00 The effect of incomplete X chromosome inactivation on complex trait genetics Yu Fu

14:00-14:10  Break 

14:10-14:30 The synthetic Genome Zhiyu Yang
14:30-14:50 Finemapping with missing data Joonas Kartau
14:50-15:00 Closing remarks Tiinamaija Tuomi

End of programme

Complex Disease Genetics Day 2022

DATE: Thursday, January 20, 2022
LOCATION: Online (Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants)
REGISTRATION: via e-form
Registration deadline January 17, 2022!
ORGANIZERS: Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics, Claudia Schwarz, Rodos Rodosthenous, Julius Anckar

Doctoral candidates: Please note! This is not an official course, and thus, no credits can be given. However, if a certificate of attendance is needed, please contact Claudia Schwarz (

Session I

Chair: Samuli Ripatti

10:00-10:10 Opening words  Samuli Ripatti
10:10-10:50 Keynote 1: Midlife factors in the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias Mika Kivimäki
10:50-11:05 Lipidome- and genome-wide study to understand sexual dimorphism in lipid metabolism  Rubina Tabassum
11:05-11:20 Multi-omics integration and predictive modeling of blood pressure variability in twin cohort  Gabin Drouard
11:20-11:40 Catalogue of Finnish FH-causing variants   Elisabeth Widén
11:40-12:00 Quantifying the impact of genetic variation on disease burden across 80 diseases   Sakari Jukarainen

12:00-13:00 Lunch break

Session II

Chair: TBC

13:00-13:20 Covid risk alleles Matti Pirinen
13:20-13:40 Assessing the utility and generalizability of polygenic risk scores – progress and opportunities in the INTERVENE consortium Bradley Jermy
13:40-14:00  From one to 27 otosclerosis GWAS loci: Insights into a rare disease Joel Rämö
14:00-14:20 Shared and distinct heritability of infectious and inflammatory upper respiratory diseases in FinnGen Elmo Saarentaus
14:20-14:40 Finnish Pediatric Diabetes Registry Jarno Kettunen

14:40-15:00 Break

Session III

Chair: Tiinamaija Tuomi

15:00-15:40 Keynote 2: TBC Ramnik Xavier 
15:40-16:10 Distinct contributions of genetic risk factors and metabolic dysfunction in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Panu Luukkonen
16:10-16:30 Exome sequencing reveals mechanistic insights into the etiology of schizophrenia  Tarjinder Singh
16:30-16:50 TBC Amanda Elliott 
16:50-17:00 Closing remarks Tiinamaija Tuomi


Build­ing Bridges 2021: Tech­no­lo­gies ad­van­cing mo­lecu­lar medicine – fo­cus on Nordic in­fra­struc­tures

Date and time: Wednesday, 1 December 2021, at 9:00-16:00 CET/10.00-17.00 EET

The Building Bridges symposia series is arranged to bridge basic, translational and clinical research and provide examples of how teams of investigators are working together to advance molecular medicine.  With the 10th Building Bridges symposium we shine the spotlight on technologies used to improve our understanding of health and disease.  In particular, we will demonstrate research advances using infrastructure available in the Nordic region, bridging research and technology development as well as bridging researchers across borders. With an opening and closing keynote from EMBL Heidelberg and EMBL Hamburg, we highlight research infrastructure at EMBL, as well.

Join the symposium and learn more about the research technology and core facility services available within the Nordic EMBL Partnership!

Organizers: The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, a Nordforsk-funded Research Infrastructure Hub in collaboration with the CoECDG. The Nordic EMBL Partnership consists of four international research and technology centers:

  • Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE)
  • Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM)
  • The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS)
  • Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM)

More information and registration HERE!

Complex Disease Genetics Day 2021

DATE: Tuesday, January 19, 2021LOCATION: Online (Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants)REGISTRATION: via e-formRegistration deadline January 15, 2021!Doctoral candidates: Please note! This is not an official course, and thus, no credits can be given. However, if a certificate of attendance is needed, please contact the coordinator (

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

9:00 Welcome words: Samuli Ripatti, CoECDG director
Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (CoECDG)
9:10 Yukinori Okada (Osaka University)
Statistical genetics, disease biology, and drug discovery

Functional Genetics

Chairs: Alyce Whipp & Rubina Tabassum

9:50 Riikka Lund (University of Turku)
Epigenetic mechanisms as mediators and markers of complex diseases
10:10 Olli Pietiläinen (University of Helsinki)
Modeling biological processes underlying schizophrenia in human neurons
10:30 Helena Kilpinen (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Taming biological variability in iPSC-based disease models

10:50 Break
Chairs: Sini Kerminen & Alyce Whipp


Speed talks

Mattia Cordioli (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Genetic and environmental determinants of drug adherence and drug purchasing behaviourHeidi Hautakangas (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Stratifying migraine risk loci by subtypesViola Helaakoski (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Sleep disruption as a risk factor for increased alcohol consumptionTuomo Kiiskinen (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Genetic predictors for trajectories of medication use in dyslipidemia, hypertension and type 2 diabetesMaheswary Muniandy (University of Helsinki): Sustained weight loss and the adipose tissue mitochondriaLinda Ottensmann (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Multivariate genetic analysis of lipidomePrima Sanjaya (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Interpretable feature extraction with deep learning to understand somatic mutagenesis in cancers

12:00 Lunch break

Personalized Medicine

Chairs: Rubina Tabassum & Alyce Whipp

12:50 Emma Ahlqvist (Lund University)
Subclassifying diabetes by clinical phenotyping and GWAS
13:10 Nina Mars (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Why measure the genome for risk, when we can simply ask about family history of diseases?
13:30 Elisabeth Widén (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Genome-based disease prediction & prevention – A practical approach

13:50 Break

Chairs: Sini Kerminen & Rubina Tabassum

14:00 Andrea Ganna (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
COVID-19 host genetics update
14:20 Martti Färkkilä (HUS & University of Helsinki)
Survival and new prognostic markers for PSC
14:40 Elina Sillanpää (FIMM & University of Jyväskylä)
Genetic and epigenetic scoring in physical activity
15:00 Henrike Heyne (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Recessive effects of coding variants in 176,899 Finns

15:20 Break

15:35 Mark Daly (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Progress in the genetics of IBD
15:55 Benjamin Neale (The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard)
Progress in the genetics of mental illness

16:35 End of seminar

Building Bridges 2020: Sex, Gender and Precision Medicine

DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2020LOCATION: ONLINE (Zoom link coming)

REGISTRATION & PROGRAM: please follow this LINK.

The Building Bridges symposia series is arranged to bridge clinical and basic/translational research and provide examples of how teams of investigators are working together towards a better understanding of the pathophysiology of disease and improved options for patient treatment and care. 

PARTICIPANTS: The 9th Building Bridges symposium will highlight current progress in research on sex differences in human health and disease. As such, the events are open to the entire scientific community as well as clinicians.  

ORGANIZERS: Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki Doctoral Programme in Population Health (DocPop), Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (CoECDG)

Complex Disease Genetics Day 2020

Modern GWAS meets Classic HLA and latest advances in complex disease genetics

Time: Wednesday - Thursday, January 22-23, 2020Place: Lecture hall 2 & 3, Biomedicum 1Organizer: Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (CoECDG)DOCPOP-138, 1 ECTS

For more information, please see the seminar page.

Up­com­ing Ge­n­om­ics Con­fer­ences

American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Annual Meeting 2020
San Diego, USA
October 27-31, 2020


Building Bridges 2019: Aging

Building Bridges 2019: Aging

Date: November 28, 2019Location: Lecture hall 3, Biomedicum 1, Helsinki

The Building Bridges symposia series is arranged to bridge clinical and basic/translational research and provide examples of how teams of investigators are working together towards a better understanding of the pathophysiology of disease and improved options for patient treatment and care.

The 8th Building Bridges will the highlight the current progress of age-related research focusing on physical activity, cognitive aging and the aging society.


Com­plex Dis­ease Ge­net­ics Day 2019

Com­plex Dis­ease Ge­net­ics Day

Time: Thursday, January 17, 2019Place: Lecture hall 3, Biomedicum 1Organizer: Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics

Doctoral candidates: Certificate of participation can be provided


Session IChair: Elisabeth Widén

8:30 Morning coffee

Welcoming words: Samuli Ripatti, CoECDG director
Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (CoECDG)

9:10 Søren Brunak (University of Copenhagen)
Disease progression in a life-long perspective

Juha Karjalainen (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard): IBD in FinnGen

Heidi Hautakangas (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Meta-analysis of migraine with over 102,000 cases

10:25 Coffee break

Nina Mars (FIMM, University of Helsinki): High polygenic risk provokes an early disease onset in common cardiometabolic diseases and cancers

Sini Kerminen (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Geographic variation and bias in polygenic scores of complex diseases and traits in Finland

11:30 Andrea Ganna (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard/ FIMM): Scalable stratified LDscore regression to probe biology
12:00 Lunch break

Session IIChair: Matti Pirinen

13:00 Om Prakash Dviwedi (FIMM, University of Helsinki): How does loss of ZNT8 protect from Type 2 diabetes
13:20 Vidya Velagapudi (FIMM, University of Helsinki): Plasma metabolites reveal distinct profiles associating with different metabolic risk factors in monozygotic twin pairs
13:40 Zoltan Kutalik (University of Lausanne)
From genome-wide association studies to causal inference and back
14:15 End of seminar


Build­ing Bridges 2018

Build­ing Bridges 2018: Large scale Se­quen­cing Ini­ti­at­ives and Pre­ci­sion Medi­cine in Clin­ical and Trans­la­tional Research

September 10-11, 2018
Lecture hall 2, Biomedicum 1, Helsinki, Finland

For more information, please see:

Hail Work­shop

On August 14th 2018 the CoECDG at the University of Helsinki will be hosting a coding workshop on

Hail — an open-source, scalable framework for exploring and analyzing very large genomic data.

With the introduction and evolution of next-generation sequencing platforms, it is now feasible to analyze exomes and genomes of thousands and soon millions of people. This remarkable development is accompanied by great computational challenges to analyze the huge data sets. Alongside the new challenges there are also new opportunities. A team from the Neale lab at the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T., US has developed the Hail Project. The aim of the Hail project is to harness the flood of sequenced genomes in order to unravel the genetic architecture of disease. Their open-source framework is already being used to analyze the largest genetic data sets available, to power dozens of major academic studies, and to meet the exploding needs of hospitals, diagnostic labs, and industry.

What is the course about?

In this course, participants will gain an overview of the functionality of Hail and hands-on experience using Hail. Hail is a library for data analysis in Python and runs on Apache Spark. Because it can scale from one computer to thousands, Hail has had enormous impact in the analysis of the largest sequencing and genotyping datasets, but Hail is useful for analyzing data of any scale.

Who is the course instructor?

Cotton Seed is a Senior Principal Software Engineer and Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T., the co-founder and technical lead of the Hail project, and an institute member in the Neale lab.

Course details: The course will be held August 14th  and will take place in Biomedicum. It will start with a seminar giving an overview on “Hail — an open-source, scalable framework for exploring and analyzing very large genomic data” open to everyone, in Lecture hall 3. Right after the seminar the workshop will begin in Meeting room 3, however, this will be open to registered participants only.

More information about Hail: More background including tutorials can be found on the official homepage.

AgendaTalk (12:00-12:45), Lecture hall 3, open to everyone:"Hail — an open-source, scalable framework for exploring and analyzing very large genomic data"

Workshop (13:00-), Meeting room 3, open only for registered participants (the workshop will take around 2hrs and there is time for questions and troubleshooting afterwards if needed)
Please note! The workshop is now full! You can still register for the lecture.

Target audience: Doctoral candidates, postdoctoral scholars, clinical scientists, and principal investigators currently working with genomic data, or about to embark on projects that require analysis of such data.

Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with UNIX/Linux environments is required. Participants should be comfortable with Python (more than basic familiarity). Important: For individuals with no training/preparation in Python nor strong coding skills in a related language this hands-on workshop will not be useful. However, interested individuals can still join the seminar before the course.

Please note that you will need a laptop at the workshop. We strongly encourage you to bring your own laptop, but there are also university laptops available in Meeting room 3, if needed. If you have a Mac/Linux laptop, feel free to install Hail to there before the workshop! Instructions can be found here:
Unfortunately, Hail does not work in Windows.

Costs: Attendance at the course is free.

Doctoral candidates: Certificates for the course will be provided (available only for those who will attend both the lecture and the workshop).


Genes be­hind Dia­betes

Finnish Diabetes Research Society’s Summer Meeting
August 17 – 18th, 2018, Hanasaari Culture Center, Espoo, Finland

Organized by Finnish Diabetes Research Society & Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (FIMM, University of Helsinki)


Kick-Off Symposium 2018

Centre of Ex­cel­lence in Com­plex Dis­ease Ge­net­ics (CoECDG)

Kick-Off Symposium

Thursday February 8th 2018, at 9:00-16:00, Lecture Hall 2, Biomedicum 1

Registration is closed. Thank you all for a great Kick-Off!



8:30 Morning coffee

Session I: Genetic discovery

9:00 Samuli Ripatti: The CoECDG vision for complex disease genetics
9:20 Jukka Koskela: Running phenomewide GWAS using Hail in Google Cloud
9:35 Om Dwivedi: Genetic architecture of type 2 diabetic families
9:50 Rubina Tabassum: Genetics of human plasma lipidome
10:05 Keynote talkMark Daly: Genetic studies on large-scale biobanks
10:35 Break

Session II: Statistical and computational methods

11:00 Christian Benner: Fine-mapping of trait-associated genomic regions
11:15 Hande Topa: Searching for genetic variants matching a given multivariate target profile
11:30 Priit Palta: Accurate and high-throughput genotype imputation with population-specific reference panels
11:45 Lunch break

Session III: Translation

13:00 Martti Färkkilä: Genetics and environmental factors of disease outcomes in two IBD cohorts
13:30 Jarno Kettunen: Rare RFX6 variants and diabetes
13:45 Antti Latvala: Complex traits: Genomics and causality
14:00 Pietari Ripatti: Polygenic hyperlipidemias and coronary artery disease risk
14:15 Emma Ahlqvist: Novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes sharpen genetic associations and improve prediction of outcome
14:45 Andrea Ganna: Insights from the largest genetic study of sexual orientation
15:00 Tiinamaija Tuomi: Closing words
15:15-16:00 Wine & Cheese

For doctoral candidates:

University of Helsinki Course Code: DOCPOP-127, Complex Disease Genetics - From Discovery to Precision Medicine seminarECTS Credits: 1-2 ECTS (1 ECTS for participation, 2 ECTS for participation + talk)