Group members

Prof. Hannele Yki-Järvinen, MD, PhD, FRCP

Dr. Hannele Yki-Järvinen, MD, FRCP, is Professor of Medicine at the Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland. She is a specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology. Her main academic interests are causes and consequences of insulin resistance in vivo in humans, especially non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and application of this knowledge to treatment of type 2 diabetes. She has published over 200 original articles in English and over 50 reviews and written chapters to textbooks such as the International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus, the Oxford Textbook of Endocrinology and Diabetes and the Textbook of Diabetes. She is currently funded by 2 grants from the European Union for study of NAFLD.

International Awards

  • 1993 G. B. Morgagni Young Investigator Award, Padova, Italy
  • 1993 The 28th Minkowski Award, European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 1995 Anders Jahre Pris, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 1999 Novartis Award in Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, San Diego, USA
  • 2008 The 16th Servier Lecture of the Diabetes Center, Manila, Philippines
  • 2008 Dr. Augusto D. Litonjua Endowed Lectureship, Manila, Philippines
  • 2011 Harold Riffkin visiting Professorship. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York USA


  • H2020-JTI-IMI2 EU project 777377-2  LITMUS
  • Academy of Finland 2017-2021
  • Juselius Foundation 2020-2023
  • Helsinki University Hospital  2021-2023
  • Novo-Nordisk Foundation 2019-2023
Panu Luukkonen, MD, PhD, Docent

Panu Luukkonen, MD, graduated in 2011. He is a clinical researcher with a profound interest in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its metabolic and hepatic sequelae. He is particularly interested in dissecting the pathophysiology of NAFLD by combining omics approaches with stable isotope methodology in genetic and acquired human models. One of his articles (Luukkonen PK, Zhou Y et al. J Hepatol. 2016;64) received enough citations to place it in the 1% of the academic field of Clinical Medicine and was recognized as a ‘Highly cited paper’ by the Essential Science IndicatorsTM.

In 2018, he will defend his PhD thesis on the heterogeneity of NAFLD in humans. In his thesis, he has demonstrated that insulin resistance and the risk variants in PNPLA3, TM6SF2 and MBOAT7 have very distinct effects on the hepatic lipid metabolism. He has also studied how the macronutrient composition of a hypercaloric diet determines the magnitude and mechanisms of liver fat accumulation and the associated metabolic outcomes in humans. Dr. Luukkonen was granted a Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki joint doctoral candidate position for 2016-2017 and a doctoral candidate position at the University of Helsinki for 2018.

Beginning from 1st of March  2019, Panu will continue research as a postdoc in prof. Gerald Shulman´s laboratory at Yale University.


Porthan Kimmo, MD, PhD, Docent

Kimmo Porthan, MD (1997), PhD, Docent, specialist in internal medicine, member of the group since Aug-2019. Most of his scientific publications have been in the field of cardiovascular medicine, particularly electrocardiography.

Ahlholm Noora, MD

Noora Ahlholm, MD, graduated in 2017.  She is specializing in internal medicine in University of Helsinki. She began her doctoral studies in 2019, and she is studying non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) -related liver fibrosis. She is currently doing clinical research in a family study investigating the heritability of NAFLD-associated fibrosis and the factors affecting it.

Mari Lahelma, MD
Sami Qadri, MD
Päivi Ihamuotila, study nurse

Biomedical Laboratory Scientist, Study Nurse.

Päivi has worked earlier in Wihuri Research Institute and Prof. Matti Tikkanen’s group in Folkhälsan.

She joined our group at Aug-2017.

Aila Karioja-Kallio, study nurse

Biomedical Laboratory Scientist, Study Nurse.

Aila has worked before i.a in Akseli Hemminki’s Cancer Gene Therapy Group (CGTG) as a Laboratory Technician.

She joined our group at Nov-2013.

Susanna Lallukka-Brück, MD, PhD

Susanna Lallukka-Brück, MD, PhD, graduated in 2015 and defended her doctoral thesis in 2018 from University of Helsinki. She is working as a clinical researcher studying on the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with insulin resistance ('Metabolic NAFLD'), a common variation in PNPLA3 gene ('PNPLA3 NAFLD') and lipodystrophy. She has showed that inflammation in subcutaneous adipose tissue and increased plasma activity and hepatic expression of coagulation factors characterize 'Metabolic NAFLD' but not 'PNPLA3 NAFLD'.

Dr. Lallukka-Brück was granted a 2-year doctoral candidate position for doctor in training at the University of Helsinki for 2016-2017.

You Zhou, PhD, Docent
Katriina Nemes, MD, PhD

Katriina Nemes, MD, PhD, graduated in 1969. She is a specialist in internal medicine and diabetes care. She worked at Jorvi Hospital as internal medicine specialist in 1977-2005 and at the Department of Liver Surgery and Transplantation, at the University Central Hospital in Helsinki in 2010-2013. In addition, she had a private practice and acted as a consultant on diabetes care in 1980-2013.

She defended her doctoral thesis on non-cholesterol sterols and lipoproteins as indicators of liver damage in primary biliary cirrhosis before and after liver transplantation in 1993 from University of Helsinki, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Liver Surgery and Transplantation. She is a clinical researcher at those Departments with a profound interest in pathophysiology of NAFLDs, NASH, cirrhosis and HCC with 28 publications on diabetes and lipid metabolism changes in liver diseases, last three ones in 2014-2017.