Researchers working in the Andressoo group.

JOA group


We are always looking for highly motivated and skilled colleagues. Ideal candidates should have a background in molecular biology and/or animal models.  In particular, we look for expertise in CRISPR-Cas9-related techniques, in proteostasis, mitochondrial and/or neurotrophic functionality, in cell and developmental biology and in mouse and zebrafish models. We are also considering adding the C. elegans model to our toolkit.

If you are interested in a position at any level, please send a cover letter explaining your motivation, CV and the names of two or more references to

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.


Senior Researcher

I have been studying mitochondrial genetics especially in relation with neurodegenerative diseases at Karolinska Institutet and Max-Planck Institute. I joined Jaan-Olle’s Group in 2017 with an enthusiasm of him and the rest of his team in understanding the regulation of gene expression in neurodegenerative diseases. Using the great advantages as a genetic model zebrafish offers, I am trying to approach complicated gene regulations in a different perspective to be able to engineer and control “desired phenotype” with ultimate goal to intervene at any time of course of the diseases and be able to treat it.

Beside science I am a writer, movie director, certified barista, passionate cyclist and traveler.

Post doc

I joined the Andressoo lab in the beginning of my Master’s degree studies, and since then my work has involved studies on the function and regulation of two neurotrophic factors, BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor). Currently I am mainly working on methods that would allow us to increase endogenous gene expression levels without changing their expression pattern. In addition, I am interested in the development and function of the nigrostriatal dopamine system and neurotrophic factor biology.

My background is in gene technology (BSc in 2009, University of Tartu, Estonia) and neuroscience (MSc in 2011, University of Helsinki). I recently defended my PhD dissertation entitled "Altering the 3'UTR to increase endogenous GDNF and BDNF expression“ and I am currently continuing my work in Jaan-Olle’s lab as a postdoc.

PhD student

I graduated in 2007 from the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Pharmacy. I started out studying the neurotrophic factors CDNF and MANF in vitro at the division of Pharmacology and Toxicology. I joined the Andressoo lab in 2010. My main interest is "the brain in the gut", the enteric nervous system (ENS). I am focusing on the role of GDNF and its receptors in the development, maintenance, and diseases of the ENS.

PhD 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.


PhD student

I graduated in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Novara, Italy, in 2015. I carried out my Master's thesis project in Biomedicum at the University of Helsinki, and after that I continued my research investigating the molecular mechanisms, in particular microRNAs, involved in the altered BDNF signaling in fragile X syndrome. I joined Andressoo’s group in 2017, and my project is focused on how elevating endogenous GDNF levels as well as boosting mitochondrial function can be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, with a particular focus on Parkinson’s disease.

Master's student

I completed my Undergraduate studies at the University of Tehran and currently I am doing my Master's degree in Genetics at the University of Helsinki. I started my lab work in Jaan-Olle Andressoo's group in 2015 and in the projects that I am involved in we are trying to understand the exact physiological role of GDNF inside and outside of the CNS and also develop a novel therapy for neurodegenerative disorders by targeting the 3'UTR of the gene.

Master's student

I am currently finishing my Master's studies in Pharmacology at 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.

Master's  student

I studied Genetics at Cambridge University, building on a foundation of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in its Natural Sciences Tripos framework. I will complete my Master's degree at Helsinki University in 2018, and in Jaan-Olle's team currently build large numbers of plasmid constructs and work with human cell lines to research the controlled alteration of many genes' expression levels.

As a human, I have a strong vested interest in taking control of my own firmware. Enjoying being an existence possessing both life and intelligence, I find I want much more of both, and technologies which allow direct manipulation of organisms' blueprints and building blocks appear the most direct path to achieving this. Specifically, for both brain and body I seek lifespan extension and functionality enhancement. When facing threats to homeostasis I do not distinguish between lifespan and healthspan.


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.

Research assistant

I am a biologist who graduated 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. During my M.Sc. studies I I carried out my thesis on an Alzheimer's disease project at the Henri Huttunen lab, where I studied the effects of a metabolically active peptide on the development and viability of neurons. After receiving my M.Sc. degree in Neuroscience in 2017, I joined Andressoo's lab where I am currently working as a research assistant. My academic and professional goal is to understand better the molecular, cellular and genetic bases of neurodegenerative diseases and contribute to develop more effective ways to treat those diseases.

Lab coordinator

I received my Master's degree in genetics from the University of Helsinki in 2018 and before that I received a Bachelor's degree in laboratory sciences from the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in 2011. I’ve been working in different research groups as a research technician and research assistant since then. Currently I’m the laboratory coordinator of the Andressoo group.

PhD students

Anu Planken, PhD 2011 (co-supervisor)

Carolina Vilenius, changed careers

Anmol Kumar, PhD 2014

Jaakko Kopra, PhD 2016


MSc students

Rana Mabrouk

Dipabarna Bhattacharya

Soophie Olfat

Nadine Schweizer, Postdoc

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