Building Bridges 2020: Sex, Gender and Precision Medicine

DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
LOCATION: Online (Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants)

please register via Weboodi (DOCPOP-110, 1 ECTS; more details on requirements below).
Others: please register via e-form. Registration deadline November 10.

The Building Bridges symposia series is arranged to bridge clinical and basic/translational research and provide examples of how teams of investigators are working together towards a better understanding of the pathophysiology of disease and improved options for patient treatment and care. 

PARTICIPANTS: The 9th Building Bridges symposium will highlight current progress in research on sex differences in human health and disease. As such, the events are open to the entire scientific community as well as clinicians.  

ORGANIZERS: Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki Doctoral Programme in Population Health (DocPop), Centre of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (CoECDG)


Session I: Biological bases of sex - Early developmental aspects

Chair: Taru Tukiainen & Elisabeth Widén

9:00 Mark Daly (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
9:10 Hannu Sariola (University of Helsinki)
The spectrum of sex determination
9:45 Melissa Wilson (Arizona State University)
Sex-biased genome evolution
10:20 Discussion with Hannu & Melissa
10:35 Break
10:50 Taru Tukiainen (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
The X chromosome effects in sex differences                                                       
11:25 Maris Laan (University of Tartu)
Footprints of placental genome (dys)function                                                                                            
12:00 Discussion with Taru & Maris
12:15 Lunch break


Session II:  Sex- and gender- based differences in common disorders - Clinical impact on cardiovascular and infectious disease

Chair: Hannele Laivuori

13:00 Nabila Bouatia-Naji (Paris cardiovascular research center, INSERM, Université de Paris)
Genetic investigation of challenging cardiovascular diseases predominant in women. Focus on arterial fibromuscular dysplasia and spontaneous coronary artery dissection
13:35 Cecilia Lindgren (University of Oxford)
Sexual dimorphism in obesity and body fat distribution
14:10 Sabra Klein (Johns Hopkins University)
Sex differences in immune responses to influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses
14:55 Discussion with Nabila, Cecilia & Sabra
15:15 Break


Session III: Genes and registries - Exploring the patterns of sex difference across diseases

Chair: Elisabeth Widén

15:30 Jaakko Kaprio (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Using twins to investigate pat­terns of sex dif­fer­ence across diseases
16:05 Discussion with Jaakko
16:20 Elisabeth Widén (FIMM, University of Helsinki)
Closing words & summary


University of Helsinki Course Code: DOCPOP-110
ECTS Credits: 1 ECTS (for full attendance & learning diary)

Requirements for 1 ECTS: compulsory attendance in the seminar, pre-reading materials prior to the course, learning diary submitted before the deadline.

For University of Helsinki doctoral candidates the credits will be registered directly to WebOodi based on attendance and learning diary. If a certificate of attendance is needed, please contact the coordinator (


Please write one page on the main messages of the seminar day AND one page summarizing three articles of choice from the pre-reading materials (pre-reading materials will be sent to everyone by email).

Learning diary submission deadline: November 29, 2020. Please return your learning diary to:
Please note that all learning diaries will be checked for plagiarism with Urkund.

What is a learning diary?

A learning diary is a tool of reflection. It helps the student to assess what she/he has learned in the seminar/ articles. The aim of a learning diary is to analyze and comment on the talks/ articles.

The key to writing a learning diary is to draw on the talks/ articles, but instead of just repeating what the speaker/ writer has said, the students should speak with their own voice. A diary is a subjective view, and a learning diary should reflect what the student has heard and learnt; it’s the student’s own analysis and insights that count. The speaker’s/ writer’s ideas may even be taken further and elaborated on.

The following questions may help you write your learning diary:

What did I learn? What was new to me? Was there something that changed my views and why? Focus on and analyze the themes important to you.

What did I not understand? What went against my own ideas? Why? What was less comprehensible? Why? Focus on and analyze the questions that left you puzzled.