FIMM Young Investigator of Month 2021

Congratulations to Pyry Helkkula on his recent publication in PLOS Genetics!

ANGPTL8 protein-truncating variant associated with lower serum triglycerides and risk of coronary diseas. Pyry Helkkula, Tuomo Kiiskinen, Aki S. Havulinna, Juha Karjalainen, Seppo Koskinen, Veikko Salomaa, Mark J. Daly, Aarno Palotie, Ida Surakka, Samuli Ripatti, FinnGen. Published: April 28, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009501

Pyry Helkkula is a PhD student in Samuli Ripatti’s group. Pyry’s research interests lie in finding ways to help prevent cardiometabolic disease, particularly with the use of genetic information. For this reason, in his thesis Pyry aims to find drug target genes for cardiometabolic disease, understand the genetics of statin adherence and develop novel methods that improve the quantification of disease risk. Pyry holds a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College. In his free time, Pyry enjoys cycling and delicious meals with friends.

Congratulations to Vasudha Ahuja on her recent publication in Diabetes Care!

Accuracy of 1-Hour Plasma Glucose During the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test in Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in Adults: A Meta-analysis. Vasudha Ahuja et al. Diabetes Care. 2021 Apr;44(4):1062-1069. doi: 10.2337/dc20-1688.

Vasudha Ahuja is a postdoc researcher in Tiinamaija Tuomi’s group. Her research focuses on the ability of glucose at one-hour time point post oral glucose tolerance test in diagnosing type 2 diabetes by studying its diagnostic accuracy and precision. Her work further employs various glucose and insulin traits post oral glucose tolerance test in predicting diabetes complications and studying the genetic variants associated with these traits. She is a medical doctor and holds a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh (US). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, long walks, and different indoor sport activities such as circuit training, high-intensity interval training, kick boxing, and yoga.

Congratulations to Alyce Whipp on her recent publication in Scientific Reports!

Ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate as a biomarker of aggression. Whipp AM, Vuoksimaa E, Korhonen T, Pool R, But A, Ligthart L, Hagenbeek FA, Bartels M, Bogl LH, Pulkkinen L, Rose RJ, Boomsma DI, Kaprio J. Sci Rep. 2021 March 12;11(1):5813. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-84635-6

Alyce Whipp is a PhD candidate in Jaakko Kaprio's group, in the final stages of her PhD studies. Her research focus has been on clarifying the heterogeneity in adolescent aggressive behavior by looking at co-occurrence with other behaviors, gender differences, different subtypes of aggression, and ratings from different observers of the behavior (e.g., parents, teachers, teens themselves), as well as investigating biomarkers of aggression and prediction of later outcomes. She is also a part of the FIMM social justice and inclusivity group, is an instructor of soft skills (e.g., academic writing, presenting, pitching) and a language editor of manuscripts, dissertations, and grants. She holds a master's degree in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan (US). When not working at the computer, she enjoys reading, nature walks, being with her kids, and laughing with friends (in 3D or on Zoom).

Congratulations to Dmitrii Bychkov on his recent publication in Scientific Reports!

Deep learning identifies morphological features in breast cancer predictive of cancer ERBB2 status and trastuzumab treatment efficacy. Bychkov, D., Linder, N., Tiulpin, A., Kücükel, H., Lundin, M., Nordling, S., Sihto, H., Isola, J., Lehtimäki, T., Kellokumpu-Lehtinen, P-L., von Smitten, K., Joensuu, H. & Lundin, J., 2021, Scientific Reports.

Dmitrii Bychkov is a FIMM-EMBL/HIIT PhD Student at Johan Lundin's research group. His research focus is on computer vision for biomarker and outcome prediction in cancer. He is developing and adapting deep learning methods to interpret microscopic samples of solid tumours and find associations between tumour morphology and patients' clinical data. Currently, Dmitrii is at the final stages of his PhD studies and finalizing his doctoral thesis. Dmitrii holds a master's degree in Bioinformatics from Aalto University.

Congratulations to Sanni Ruotsalainen on her recent publication in the European Journal of Human Genetics!

An expanded analysis framework for multivariate GWAS connects inflammatory biomarkers to functional variants and disease. Sanni E. Ruotsalainen, Juulia J. Partanen, Anna Cichonska, Jake Lin, Christian Benner, Ida Surakka, FinnGen, Mary Pat Reeve, Priit Palta, Marko Salmi, Sirpa Jalkanen, Ari Ahola-Olli, Aarno Palotie, Veikko Salomaa, Mark J. Daly, Matti Pirinen, Samuli Ripatti & Jukka Koskela. European Journal of Human Genetics volume 29, pages309–324(2021). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-020-00730-8

Sanni Ruotsalainen is a PhD student in Samuli Ripatti’s group. Her main research interest in the past years has been in the genetics of cardiovascular disease and multivariate methods. Her thesis focuses on improving the understanding of genetic background of the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by utilizing Finnish biobank data and developing statistical tools. She has completed her master’s degree in statistics in 2017 and enjoys using statistical methods to uncover the intriguing mysteries of human genome and disease development. In her free time, she enjoys different outdoor activities and sport, reading, playing board games and knitting.

Congratulations to Shabbeer Hassan on his recent publication in the European Journal of Human Genetics!

High-resolution population-specific recombination rates and their effect on phasing and genotype imputation. Shabbeer Hassan, Ida Surakka, Marja-Riitta Taskinen, Veikko Salomaa, Aarno Palotie, Maija Wessman, Taru Tukiainen, Matti Pirinen, Priit Palta, Samuli Ripatti. European Journal of Human Genetics. E-pub ahead of print - 28 November 2020. 10.1038/s41431-020-00768-8

Shabbeer Hassan is a PhD student in Samuli Ripatti’s group. His main research interest in the past years has been to understand how past demographic processes have impacted the current genomic makeup of Finnish population. Further on, how these processes then impact the extensive variation of the genetic basis of complex diseases such as dyslipidemias, varicose veins etc. His thesis focusses on the central theme of Finnish population genomics and its comparison to other Non-Finnish Europeans. He has completed his master’s in biostatistics in 2015 and enjoys using statistical methods to tease apart the complex threads of human disease genomics. 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.