While everyone sleeps we still understand poorly the very fundamental mechanisms that regulate sleep, coordinate timing of wake, sleep, feeding and metabolism.

In addition, sleep disorders affect over 30% of the population but yet very few targeted therapies exist. People with sleep disorders experience severe sleep deprivation but yet they often face social stigma for their disease. It is essential that biological mechanisms leading to sleep disorders get identified and that the disorders themselves get treated. To do this Dr Ollila's group aims to understand why we sleep, what controls our daily, monthly and annual rhythms and how disruption of circadian rhythms and sleep disrupt immune and metabolic homeostasis leading to either sleep disorders or comorbid metabolic and psychiatric problems. Ultimately, the goal of Dr Ollila's group is to find out what are the crucial mechanisms that control sleep and how can sleep be used as a biomarker for disease. This work will lead to findings which provide targets for pharmaceutical discoveries and interventions.

Selected work

  • Narcolepsy. Kornum BR, Knudsen S, Ollila HM, Pizza F, Jennum PJ, Dauvilliers Y, Overeem S. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017 Feb 9;3:16100. doi: 10.1038/nrdp.2016.100. Review. PMID: 28179647
  • HLA-DPB1 and HLA class I confer risk of and protection from narcolepsy. Ollila HM, Ravel JM, Han F, Faraco J, Lin L, Zheng X, Plazzi G, Dauvilliers Y, Pizza F, Hong SC, Jennum P, Knudsen S, Kornum BR, Dong XS, Yan H, Hong H, Coquillard C, Mahlios J, Jolanki O, Einen M, Arnulf I, Högl B, Frauscher B, Crowe C, Partinen M, Huang YS, Bourgin P, Vaarala O, Désautels A, Montplaisir J, Mack SJ, Mindrinos M, Fernandez-Vina M, Mignot E. Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Jan 8;96(1):136-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.12.010.
  • Genome-wide association analysis of self-reported daytime sleepiness identifies 42 loci that suggest biological subtypes. Wang H, Lane JM, Jones SE, Dashti HS, Ollila HM, Wood AR, van Hees VT, Brumpton B, Winsvold BS, Kantojärvi K, Palviainen T, Cade BE, Sofer T, Song Y, Patel K, Anderson SG, Bechtold DA, Bowden J, Emsley R, Kyle SD, Little MA, Loudon AS, Scheer FAJL, Purcell SM, Richmond RC, Spiegelhalder K, Tyrrell J, Zhu X, Hublin C, Kaprio JA, Kristiansson K, Sulkava S, Paunio T, Hveem K, Nielsen JB, Willer CJ, Zwart JA, Strand LB, Frayling TM, Ray D, Lawlor DA, Rutter MK, Weedon MN, Redline S, Saxena R. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 13;10(1):3503. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11456-7. PMID: 31409809
  • Genetic variants in the HLA class II region associated with risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Wang W, Ollila HM, Whittemore AS, Demehri S, Ioannidis NM, Jorgenson E, Mignot E, Asgari MM. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2018 Jul;67(7):1123-1133. doi: 10.1007/s00262-018-2168-2. Epub 2018 May 12. PMID: 29754218
  • Prolonged sleep restriction induces changes in pathways involved in cholesterol metabolism and inflammatory responses. Aho V*, Ollila HM*, Kronholm E, Bondia-Pons I, Soininen P, Kangas AJ, Hilvo M, Seppälä I, Kettunen J, Oikonen M, Raitoharju E, Hyötyläinen T, Kähönen M, Viikari JS, Härmä M, Sallinen M, Olkkonen VM, Alenius H, Jauhiainen M, Paunio T, Lehtimäki T, Salomaa V, Orešič M, Raitakari OT, Ala-Korpela M, Porkka-Heiskanen T. Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 22;6:24828. doi: 10.1038/srep24828. PMID: 27102866