Taru's group was launched in 2018 and currently comprises Principal Investigator Taru Tukiainen, Postdoctoral researchers Jaakko Leinonen and Clara Benoit-Pilven, PhD students Yu Fu, Annina Preussner, MSc students Eija Sylve, Aino Kenttämies, Elna Satokangas and BSc student Elias Lehto.
Taru Tukiainen

Taru Tukiainen is an Academy Research Fellow at FIMM and holds the title of docent in genomics at University of Helsinki. Taru received her D.Sc. (Tech.) degree in computational systems biology from Aalto University in 2012 for her research on the genetic underpinnings of metabolomics traits in Finnish population cohorts. In 2013-2015, Taru worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Daniel MacArthur at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute, where her work focused on the application of transcriptomics to understand the impacts of genetic variation and epigenetic phenomena. After returning to Finland, Taru completed the three-year Academy of Finland postdoctoral project at FIMM on the role of the X chromosome in human complex traits, prior to launching her own research group in 2018. 

Taru Tukiainen on Researchportal

Jaakko Leinonen

Working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Finnish Institute for Molecular Medicine (FIMM) in group Tukiainen.

Jaakko's past projects have included computational genetics, as well as hands on molecular biology work, including studying CRISPR-Cas9 induced knock-out zebrafish. His Ph.D. thesis focused on translating genetic association results into understanding biology of pubertal timing, by combining human data with zebrafish models. 

Jaakko’s current projects revolve around studying how inherited differences in the levels of sex hormones affect human health and disease. The projects involve analysis of genetic and phenotype data from large data sets like FinnGen and UK Biobank, including hundreds of thousands of subjects. 

Jaakko's personal interests include endurance sports such as cross-country skiing, orienteering, and running.


Jaakko Leinonen on Researchportal


Clara Benoit-Pilven

Clara Benoit-Pilven is a postdoctoral researcher working on sex-differences in the transcriptome and how these differences help explain the observed phenotypic sex-differences in health and disease.

She received her PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Lyon in France in 2016. During her PhD, she worked on developping and comparing tools to study alternative splicing in RNA-seq data. Then, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Neuroscience research center of Lyon (CRNL) and the Laboratory of Biometry and Evolutive Biology (LBBE). She studied the transcriptome of patients affected by a rare congenital disorder called Taybi-Linder. She joined FIMM at the beginning of 2019.

Research interest: Bioinformatics, Transcriptomic, RNA-seq, Gene expression, Alternative splicing

Clara Benoit-Pilven on Researchportal

Yu Fu

Yu Fu received her BSc in Biotechnology degree from Central China Normal University in 2015. In 2017, she received her MSc in Translational Medicine from University of Helsinki with her master thesis focusing on developing qPCR methods to detect and quantify newly emerged DNA viruses. She joined FIMM as a FIMM-EMBL rotation student in the summer of 2017 and worked in two groups during the rotation. She started as a PhD student in the group in 2019 with her main research focus on the role X chromosome in complex diseases and sex difference.

Research interest: X chromosome inactivation, sex difference, genomics

Yu Fu on Researchportal

Annina Preussner

Annina is a PhD student working on understanding the role of Y-chromosomal genetic variation as a potential contributor to sex differences in disease. She joined FIMM in August 2020 as a trainee in Taru’s group, and later continued on her master’s thesis, which focused on assessing Y-chromosomal haplogroups in Finland and studying their role in coronary artery disease. After receiving her MSc degree in genetics and genomics at the University of Helsinki, she started as a PhD student in the group at the end of 2021.

Research interests: Y chromosome, genetics, genomics

Annina Preussner on Researchportal

Shabbeer Hassan

Shabbeer Hassan completed his master’s in biostatistics in 2015 and enjoys using statistical methods to tease apart the complex threads of human disease genomics. He is a PhD student in Samuli Ripatti’s group and is co-supervised by Taru Tukiainen. His main research interest has been to understand how past demographic processes have impacted the current genomic makeup of Finnish population. And how these processes then impact the extensive variation of the genetic basis of complex diseases such as familial dyslipidemias or varicose veins in population and sex-based contexts. 

In his free time, he enjoys long-distance wilderness hiking, reading, gaming (PC and board games), tinkering with woodworking projects and taking solitary long walks in the beautiful Finnish nature.

Shabbeer Hassan on Researchportal

Eija Sylve

Eija Sylve joined Taru’s group in August 2023 as a trainee under Clara Benoit-Pilven’s supervision and, later continued her master’s thesis in Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering, specializing in bioinformatics. She is studying, in collaboration with Minerva Institute, the hepatic transcriptome of insulin resistance in Finnish individuals with obesity.  

Eija has MSc degree in Biochemistry (University of Helsinki,2000), BSc in Pharmacy (University of Helsinki, 2015), and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Technology (Häme University of Applied Sciences, 2015).

Research interest: bioinformatics, transcriptomic, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease

Aino Kenttämies
Elias Lehto
Elna Satokangas
Previous group members

Sannimari Suhonen (FIMM-EMBL PhD student)

Iida Ikkelä (MD student)

Lotta Mielikäinen (MSc student)

Anna Peltola (BSc student)

Juho Asteljoki (MSc student)

Emilia Vartiainen (MSc student)

Leevi Lehtonen (PhD student)