Researchers working in the Andressoo group.
Jaan-Olle Andressoo

Principal Investigator

I am fascinated by how regulation of gene expression affects complex phenotypes such as development and aging. I find particularly interesting how gene untranslated regions (UTRs) mediate regulatory processes such as microRNA binding, and whether targeted alterations of them can lead to scientific and therapeutic advances. Specifically, I aim to develop tools allowing control of endogenous morphogen expression to treat neurodegenerative diseases. I believe that the ability to regulate endogenous gene expression has enormous scientific and therapeutic potential.

My favorite free time activities are sea kayaking and drumming, not to mention fishing and different kinds of indoor and outdoor sports.


Daniel Garton

Ph.D. student

I graduated from Columbia University in 2016 where I majored in Neuroscience with a special concentration in Linguistics. During my studies at Columbia University, I spent 4 years working in Professor David Sulzer's lab, specializing in amphetamine pharmacology and autophagy. Upon graduation, I began my academic career in Helsinki as I completed 1 year of supervised, independent research with Jaan-Olle Andressoo's group after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Now, as I continue my research in the Andressoo group, my interests focus on neurotrophic factors, and how they modulate the basic biological underpinnings of neuronal function.


Giorgio Turconi

Ph.D. student

I graduated in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Novara, Italy, in 2015. I carried out my Master's thesis project at the University of Helsinki, and after that I continued my research investigating the molecular mechanisms, in particular microRNAs, involved in the altered neurotrophic factor BDNF signaling in fragile X syndrome. I joined Andressoo’s group in 2017, where I investigate the role of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and mitochondrial metabolism in normal brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative disorders.

Ana Montaño

Ph.D. student

I received my B.Sc. degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 2013. During my B.Sc. studies I specialized in developmental biology and genetics, and developed my thesis on dietary antimutagenic compounds at the Antimutagenesis and Antiteratogenesis Lab in the same University. In 2017 I obtained the M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Helsinki. I carried out my master's thesis on an Alzheimer's disease project at the Henri Huttunen lab, where I studied the effects of a circulating peptide on the growth and viability of primary neurons. I joind Andressoo's lab in 2017, where I have recently started my PhD project on the development of tools to regulate endogenous gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. My main scientific interest is to understand better the molecular, cellular and genetic bases of neurodegenerative diseases and to contribute to develop more effective ways to treat them.

Heikki Virtanen

Ph.D. student

I started my PhD in 2019. I have a Master degree in Pharmacology from the University of Helsinki. I completed my undergraduate degree in Pharmacy in 2016. In Jaan-Olle Andressoo’s lab, I have been studying a GFRA1 hypomorph mouse model and its Hirschsprung’s-disease-related phenotypes.

Sakari Hietanen


I am a molecular biosciences student at the University of Helsinki. During my B.Sc. studies I have developed a deep interest in Genetics which will also be the focus of my master’s programme. In addition to my studies in molecular biology I also have a previous background in Chemistry. In Genetics, I am fascinated by the underlying molecular mechanisms that make regulation of gene expression possible. In the spring of 2018 I got the opportunity to join Jaan-Olle’s group and enthusiastically look forward to the times to come.

Vilma Iivanainen


I have a bachelor’s degree from Biology from the University of Turku and a master’s degree from Neuroscience from the University of Helsinki. Previously, I have studied neurotrophic factors in Pirvola and Saarma group. I joined Andressoo group in the end of 2021 because I wanted to use mice models to study how neurotrophic factors contribute to brain function in health and disease.



  • Nadine Schweizer, Ph.D., now National contact person for Horizon 2020 for life sciences and bioeconomy, Sweden
  • Mugen Terzioglu, Ph.D., now a senior researcher at the University of Tampere, Finland

Ph.D. students

  • Lauriina Porokuokka, Ph.D. 2020, now Pharmacist
  • Kärt Mätlik, Ph.D. 2018, now a Postdoctoral researcher at The Rockefeller University, New York, USA
  • Carolina Vilenius, changed her career
  • Jaakko Kopra, Ph.D. 2016, now Medical Advisor at AbbVie, Finland
  • Anmol Kumar, Ph.D. 2014, now a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Anu Planken, Ph.D. 2011 (co-supervisor)

MSc students

  • Laoise Casserly, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh
  • Jenni Lahtinen, now a project coordinator at the University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Matilde Aquilino, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Ilaria Morassut, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Geneve, Switzerland
  • Mark Cowlishaw, now a Research Assistant at the University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Rana Mabrouk, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Eastern Finland
  • Dipabarna Bhattacharya, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Soophie Olfat, now a PhD student at Karolinska Institute, Sweden


Group members at the Karolinska Institute
  • Soophie Olfat, Ph.D. student
  • Isabel Runneberger, Ph.D. student
  • Anastasius Damdimopoulos, Bioinformatician (25%)

Topics: gene regulation, ADHD, mouse models, Alzheimer’s disease