Group members
People working in the group.
Taneli Raivio

Taneli Raivio, Principal Investigator, Professor, MD, PhD 

Taneli Raivio received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He did his foreign postdoctoral training in the USA (Harvard Reproductive Endocrine Sciences Center, MA). He is the Niilo Hallman Professor of Translational Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki; and a pediatrician, a pediatric endocrinologist, and Head of Research and Education at the New Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Research Center, Helsinki University Hospital.

Stem Cells and Metabolism Research Program,
Research Programs Unit,
Faculty of Medicine
University of Helsinki
E-mail: taneli.raivio(a)

Taneli's Research Portal profile
Pediatric Research Center

Matti Hero

Matti Hero, Senior Clinical Researcher, MD, PhD

Matti Hero, MD, PhD, works as a pediatric endocrinologist and adjunct professor at the Children's Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland. His clinical research has focused on disorders affecting growth and puberty, with particular interest in the efficacy and safety of aromatase inhibitor treatment in boys with short stature or delayed puberty.  

Kirsi Vaaralahti

Kirsi Vaaralahti, Laboratory Coordinator, BBA, PhD

Kirsi joined Raivio group in 2009. She defended her thesis "Molecular genetics of Kallmann Syndrome and Constitutional delay of growth and puberty in Finland" in 2014. After that, she has been working as a postdoctoral fellow and is involved in several research projects.

Tero Varimo

Tero Varimo, Postdoctoral Fellow, MD, PhD

Tero started in the group in 2012, and defended his thesis "Delayed puberty: etiology, outcome and interactions with growth" in 2017. He is a clinical researcher at the University of Helsinki and his current research focuses on precocious and delayed puberty. Tero received the ESPE Young Investigator Award in 2019.

Yafei Wang

Yafei Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow, PhD

Yafei Wang received her PhD degree of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering at Zhejiang University, China. She joined the group as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2018 and is mainly working on the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells with single cell RNA sequencing, genome editing (CRISPR), and auxin-inducible degradation. She received the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF) in 2020.

Venkatram Yellapragada

Venkatram Yellapragada, PhD student, MSc

Venkatram has a Master's degree in molecular biotechnology, and he is presently carrying out doctoral studies in dissecting molecular mechanisms and key players involved in human hypothalamic cell development and function.

Kristiina Kumar

Kristiina Kumar, PhD student, MSc

Kristiina joined the group in 2014. She is working on genome editing and differentiation of hPSCs.

Laura Kariola

Laura Kariola, PhD student, MSc (Economics), CEMS Master's degree in Management, MD

Laura received her MD degree at the University of Helsinki in 2014. She joined the group in November, 2016. Laura specializes in Pediatrics and works on her PhD thesis on the regulation of puberty timing. 

Annika Tarkkanen

Annika Tarkkanen, Project Coordinator, MA

Annika has completed her Master’s degree in English language. She started working in the group in January, 2016. Besides taking care of responsibilities related to communication and administration in the group, she also coordinates the Pediatric Research Center which is a scientific community that supports researchers and communicates about the latest research achievements to the whole research community, patients and their parents, the general public, political decision-makers and funders of science. 

Johanna Hietamäki

Johanna Hietamäki, PhD student, MB, MSc

Johanna is a medical student at the University of Helsinki, and she has been a member of the group since 2016. Her research focuses on childhood onset hypopituitarism.

Anna-Pauliina Iivonen

Anna-Pauliina Iivonen, PhD student, MSc

Anna-Pauliina joined the group in 2016, and she is currently working on her PhD thesis. 

Ella Kohva

Ella Kohva, PhD student, MD

Ella graduated from the University of Helsinki as an MD in 2015, and is now a doctor in training in pediatrics. She finished her Lic. Med. thesis in Raivio Group in 2015, and is currently working with her PhD thesis.

Nazlı Eskici

Nazli Eskici, PhD student, MSc

Nazli received her M.Sc. in Medical Biology from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey and joined the group in 2018. She is interested in the development and function of hypothalamic GHRH neurons using both genetically engineered human pluripotent stem cells and knock-in mice as models.

Shrinidhi Madhusudan

Shrinidhi Madhusudan, PhD student, MSc

Nidhi received her master’s in Neuroscience from GSN-LMU in Munich, Germany and joined the group in 2020. Her doctoral dissertation is mainly focused on GnRH neuron ontogeny and candidate genes involved in the developmental process.