The research team has been assembled from the diverse group of the best in its field and experts interested in the subject.
Johan Eriksson

MD, DMSc, Group Leader

I am professor of General practice at the University of Helsinki since 2006, specialized in internal medicine and general practice. In 1995 I initiated the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study and have been the PI of that study from the beginning.

My research interests include programming of health and disease, lifestyle intervention studies focusing upon common NCDs and epidemiological research focusing upon common health problems.


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Eero Kajantie

I am a specialist in pediatrics, clinical genetics and public health. After joining the HBCS team in 1999 I have been involved in most aspects of our unique cohort. Among these areas, the effects of preterm birth and maternal pregnancy disorders on offspring late-life health are closest to my heart. I am also responsible for collection family income data from the 1930s and 1940s tax records.


Minna Salonen

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow.

I received my PhD in Public Health at the University of Helsinki in 2011. The research focused on early growth and later health including metabolic syndrome, obesity and physical activity. I am currently working with the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study (HBCS) as a postdoctoral fellow. In the HBCS we study long term health influences of early growth and living conditions. Areas of interest include cardiovascular disease and their risk factors, psychological aspects, ageing and cancer.


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Samuel Sandboge


I received my PhD at the University of Helsinki in 2015. My thesis focused on three themes:

  1. The association between early growth and adult health.
  2. The association between dietary fructose intake and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
  3. Regional differences in birth size between Helsinki and the Åland Islands during the years 1934-44.

I am currently working as a Rheumatology Resident at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden. I am interested in identifying early life risk factors for the development of rheumatic disease.


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Niko Wasenius

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a licensed physiotherapist and hold a Master’s degree in health sciences. In 2014, I received my PhD from the University of Helsinki in Faculty of Medicine. My PhD thesis examined the effect of dose of exercise interventions on total daily physical activity and risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Currently I am focusing on dosage, measurement, and regulation of physical activity, and the role of pregnancy and early years in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.


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Tuija Mikkola


My research is focused on gerontology. I have studied bone health, mobility, social activity and sensory functioning in older adults. Currently, my interest is in body composition and functioning among older adults.


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Mikaela von Bonsdorff

PhD, Senior Researcher

I am an adjunct professor (Docent) in gerontology and a Senior Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences. I am an ageing researcher and I study life course epidemiology of active and healthy ageing. I lead the research area of social gerontology at Folkhälsan which is part of the Public Health Research Programme led by Professor Johan Eriksson.


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Monica von Bonsdorff

PhD, Academy Research Fellow

I am adjunct professor in human resource management. My main research interests include ageing in working life, retirement process, health, work ability, human resource management, and company performance. I have been working in the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study group since 2015 and currently studying entrepreneur health and retirement.

Mia-Maria Perälä

PhD, Postdoctoral researcher

I received my PhD in nutrition at the University of Helsinki Finland in 2014. My postdoctoral research focuses on how healthy diet and its interaction with early growth associate with physical functioning in old age.


Hanna Jantunen

MD, PhD Student

I am a medical doctor specialized in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine. I am working on my PhD focusing on physical activity, physical functioning, HRQoL and the ageing process.


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Markus Haapanen

PhD student

I am a fourth-year medical student at the University of Helsinki. Besides clinical medicine my interests include finding how the first decades of our lives affect our later risk of developing chronic diseases. In the HBCS I focus on identifying new early life risk factors for frailty, which is a geriatric syndrome.

Jelena Meinilä

MSc (Nutrition), PhD student

My background education is on Nutritional Sciences and I have a Master’s degree in Food Sciences. I am almost finished with my PhD on the association between diet quality and gestational diabetes. After finishing my PhD I will focus on management of gestational diabetes by dietary modifications as well as on the association between diet and aging related outcomes.


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Sigrid Rosten

MSc, Data Manager

I majored in mathematics and computer science for my MSc. As a programmer and data manager, I supported research in physics at the University of Helsinki, worked on more general computing and support tasks at the Computing Centre of that university. I also supported research on public health for various projects at the National Institute of Health and Welfare and its predecessor the National Public Health Institute. Soon after the IDEFIX project started I joined the project as data manager, and I am continuing in that role now employed by Folkhälsan Research Center.

Hanna Oksa

Midwife, research nurse

I have been working as a research nurse in RADIEL since 2008 and continued with the same task in the RADIEL follow-up study. At the moment I am working as a research nurse in Helsinki Birth Cohort Study.

Maria Finne

MSc Nutrition

I have been working at Folkhälsan since 2013 and in RADIEL follow-up study since 2014. In RADIEL I was in charge of the physical activity data collected from the children and coordinating the cardiac ultrasound research among other tasks. At the moment I function as a research assistant for the physical functioning part of HBCS and admin of the DOHaD webpages.