People
Members of Ollila group.
Hanna M Ollila, Group Leader

Dr Ollila received her PhD in 2013 from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Helsinki, mentored by Dr Tiina Paunio and Dr Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen (Stenberg). For the following four years trained as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and was mentored by Dr Emmanuel Mignot and Dr Douglas Levinson examining the genetic underpinnings of type-1 narcolepsy. In 2018 Dr Ollila joined Dr. Jonathan Pritchard's team at Stanford Univerisy training first as a research fellow and later as a visiting instructor. Dr Ollila was co-mentored by Richa Saxena from Center of Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard medical school. Dr Ollila's main research interests are genetic epidemiology of sleep and brain autoimmunity and she has over 30 publications in the field of sleep, narcolepsy and autoimmunity.

Martin Broberg, Post-doctoral Researcher

I am a postdoctoral researcher between the Ollila and Helle groups, with my main areas of research being the genetcis of sleep disorders and congenital heart diseases. I work mainly with genome-wide and exome-wide association analyses, Mendelian randomization, polygenic risk and single-cell RNA sequencing.

Viola Helaakoski, Doctoral Researcher

Viola Helaakoski received her Master's thesis in neuroscience from Kings College London and Bachelor's in law (LLB) from Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on examining the connection between sleep, and sleep disruption in neurological disorders Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and migraine. 

Anniina Tervi, Doctoral Researcher

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Laboratory Science at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in 2016. Subsequently, I worked in clinical laboratories at Central Finland Central Hospital, the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology and Neurophysiology and then the Laboratory of Histocompatibility at the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service. In 2020, I obtained my Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the University of Helsinki and immediately started working towards my PhD in Dr. Ollila’s team. My research interests are in neuroscience and, in particular, sleep and development. My PhD project aims to study the genetic determinants and risk factors for hypersomnolence disorders focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome in the Finnish population. In addition, I am involved in other projects related to, for example, LongCovid and HLA genes. In my spare time, I am an enthusiastic book collector, hiker and a little bit of a painter.

Vilma Lammi, Postdoctoral Researcher

My main projects involve genetics and molecular mechanisms of sleep-related phenotypes and Long COVID. I am coordinating the international Long COVID Host Genetics Initiative collaboration, aiming to elucidate why some people suffer from lingering symptoms for months or even years after the acute phase of COVID-19 infection. I have always been interested in the bidirectional interplay of the brain and the peripheral systems. My background is in biochemistry, but during my master's studies and PhD project I started swimming from the wet lab towards data analyses and computational methods. My PhD research with Dr Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen (Stenberg) at the Sleep Team Helsinki focused on the effects of sleep loss on the immune system and metabolism. This included analysing transcriptomics and metabolomics data from experimentally sleep-deprived young males and epidemiological cohorts (as a visiting researcher with Prof Tiina Paunio at the National Institute for Health and Welfare). In addition to keeping young human males awake for extended periods, I also developed a sleep deprivation method for zebrafish larvae. The last few years I was keeping vigil in another sense, developing the safety and availability of Finnish health and welfare services, as a data scientist at the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health. When I'm not tackling life science problems in silico, I'm tackling people on rugby pitch, practicing acrobatics in circus trainings, or escaping from rooms.

Toni Ruoranen, Research Assistant

I am a student at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences getting my Bachelor's degree in Information- and Communication Technology. My research focuses on connections between weather, exercise and interest in exercise according to Google Trends data.

Tommi Strausz, Doctoral Researcher

I received my licenciate degree in dentistry 2012 and have since been practicing dentistry in both the private and public sectors as well as in the clinical teaching environment at HUS (Helsingin ja Uudenmaan sairaanhoitopiiri). I am aiming for clinical specialisation studies regarding prosthodontics and occlusion physiology. I have some backgroung in engineering physics and mathematics from my studies at the Helsinki University of Technology (now part of Aalto University). In Hanna Ollila's group I am working on my PhD project which concerns the genetics of sleep bruxism and its correlates. I would like to open and explore the links between sleep and this clinically important phenomenon that presents itself frequently at every dentist's office.

Samuel Jones, Senior Researcher

My interests lie in identifying the genetics of sleep disorders and circadian rhythms through genetic association studies in large population-based cohorts, to better understand the causal links between sleep characteristics and disease, particularly mental health and metabolic disorders. Using the UK Biobank activity monitor cohort, I have helped develop a new algorithm for characterising sleep and have derived and investigated measures of sleep timing, quantity and quality and their relationships with disease. I am interested in taking this work further to develop more advanced methods for capturing features of circadian rhythms and sleep behaviours and explain how they are affected by chronic disease. I also hope to leverage large-scale health record data to study the aetiology of a wide range of sleep and circadian disorders.