Principal investigator, M.D., Ph.D., Academy Professor

Biomedicum 1, Haartmaninkatu 8, 00290 Helsinki

+358-9-471 71965 

anu.wartiovaara [at] helsinki.fi

Senior Researcher, Adjunct Professor, Ph.D.
gulayse.dunn [at] helsinki.fi

Gulayse received her Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2007 where she studied transcription factor regulation of cerebral cortex development. She later carried out postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University investigating how RNA-binding proteins control neuron-specific alternative splicing in the cortex. Gulayse later joined Koc University as an Assistant Professor and founding faculty to establish a new Molecular Biology and Genetics Department.

In 2017 she joined the Suomalainen-Wartiovaara group to investigate the role of glia in mitochondrial mouse models of neurodegeneration. Gulayse aims to understand the role of mitochondrial metabolism of retina glia in maintaining retinal physiology and visual function and how this knowledge can be leveraged to develop therapies for metabolic eye diseases, such as some forms of hereditary optic neuropathies, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Adjunct Professor, Ph.D.
liliya.euro [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Adjunct Professor, M.D., Ph.D.
pirjo.isohanni [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
maxim.bespalov [at] helsinki.fi

I joined Prof. Suomalainen-War­tiovaara’s lab in April 2019 to model mitochondrial diseases MIRAS and IOSCA using neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). We can generate iPSC from virtually any person and then we can, with the aid of various chemical stimuli, convert iPSC into other cell types. Using this technology, we generated functionally active neurons from MIRAS and IOSCA patients and are now comparing neurons functionality, metabolism, and gene expression to those from healthy people. 

Before joining Anu’s lab I trained with Mart Saarma as a PhD student, then oversaw high-throughput screening facilities at FIMM and at Biomedicum 1, did a postdoc at San Raffaele Institute, Milan working on in vivo reprogramming of astrocytes into dopamine neurons and then back in Finland working on brain organoids and CRISPR-activators-based cell reprogramming at Timo Otonkoski’s lab.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
saara.forsstrom [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
essi.havula [at] helsinki.fi

I completed my Ph.D. in 2017 at the University of Helsinki, Institute of Biotechnology in the field of molecular genetics. In my Ph.D. I studied the transcriptional control of sugar sensing by using Drosophila as a model organism. After completing my Ph.D., I moved to Australia to do my first postdoctoral training at the University of Sydney. During this time, I studied gene-interactions in both mice and flies with genetically diverse backgrounds to understand how the genetic makeup defines an optimal diet at an individual level.

As a postdoc in ASW lab I’m currently studying how stress signaling and novel sugar regulated genes affect sugar utilization, and how these mechanisms are affected in mitochondrial disease. Outside of lab I enjoy various sports, scuba diving, photography and generally spending time outdoors. Knitting is my preferred form of meditation.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
olesia.ignatenko [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
yilin.kang [at] helsinki.fi

Yilin Kang is a European Molecular Biology Organisation Researcher Fellow in Wartiovaara group. Her research focuses on understanding how mitochondria and immune system synergize in health and diseases.

After completed her Ph.D. on exploring mitochondrial protein import and its role in diseases in Melbourne, Australia, Yilin took the opportunity to join Wartiovaara group in Finland in 2020. From a young age, Yilin finds biology interesting, and amazed by how a small modification in cellular process can implicate in devastating impacts. Her passion in life science drives her to be a mitochondrial biologist, she believes to improve the life quality of individuals suffering from mitochondrial diseases, we need to first uncover how the error occurs. 

Having the opportunity to move between countries in her scientific journey, Yilin gets to learn from amazing people around her. These experiences have taught her to remain curious, be courageous and be grateful to people and little things in life. “Life is too short to wait, so engage in it with wholeheartedness!”

Academy Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
nahid.khan [at] helsinki.fi

Researcher Bioinformatician, Ph.D.
tonu.margus [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, M.D., Ph.D.
sanna.matilainen [at] helsinki.fi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
takayuki.mito [at] helsinki.fi

Ph.D., Project planner
jana.buzkova [at] helsinki.fi

Ph.D. student, M.D.
juho.aaltio [at] helsinki.fi

A recently graduated M.D. with a special interest in economics. Juho studies the cost-effectiveness of whole-exome sequencing in pediatric neurology patients, mainly analyzing results from the Academy-funded Neurogenomics Finland project.

Ph.D. Student, M.D.
topi.hovinen [at] helsinki.fi

M.Sc., Ph.D student
anastasiia.marmyleva [at] helsinki.fi

Ph.D. student, M.Sc.
juan.landoni [at] helsinki.fi

A self-proclaimed nerd lost in the Finnish forest. Originally from Argentina, Juan crossed the Atlantic to study Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. He started working in ASW lab from early on as a part-time student, and quickly found a passion for molecular medicine. This inspired him to pursue a M.Sc. in Translational Medicine and his current Ph.D. projects, becoming a full-time mitochondriac. 

He has been involved in quite many different projects in the lab, now focusing on how the maintenance of the mitochondrial genome can affect metabolism, DNA stability, organ development and ageing. Using disease models and patient samples he aims to decipher the fascinating interaction between mitochondrial DNA and the metabolism generating its building blocks. 

Outside of the lab, Juan can be found aimlessly roaming the Finnish forest, rollerskating around the city, rapping about mitochondria on YouTube or doing aerial acrobatics in the circus. "Life is too short to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Ph.D. student, M.D.
lilli.pihlajamaki [at] helsinki.fi

MD, Ph.D student
risto.pohjolan-pirhonen [at] helsinki.fi

Ph.D. student, M.Sc.
swagat.pradhan [at] helsinki.fi

Swagat received his Master’s degree in Biology from UM-DAE CBS, Mumbai, India in 2017. His Master’s thesis was in Anu Suomalainen-Wartiovaara’s lab where he studied mitochondrial integrated stress response by impairing mitochondrial function in cells using a mitochondrial translation inhibitor actinonin. 

He joined Anu-Suomalainen Wartiovaara’s lab in the end of 2017 as a research assistant and enrolled as a doctoral student in 2019. His primary research focus currently is to understand the mechanism of disease pathogenesis in mitochondrial dysfunction cell and mouse models. His major aim is to study glucose metabolism and signaling in skeletal muscle of a mitochondrial myopathy mouse model. 

He is interested in learning science communication and public speaking skills outside the lab. To hone these skills he is an active member of a public speaking club called Toastmasters in Helsinki.

Ph.D. student, M.D., M.Sc.
sofiia.rybas [at] helsinki.fi

Sofiia embarked on her career journey in Ukraine where she obtained her medical degree and specialty training in general practice. She expanded her knowledge further in Master’s degree in drug discovery and development at the University of Turku. Working on her master’s project in Anu Wartiovaara group, she developed an interest in mitochondrial disorders. What was first simple curiosity developed into passion, and now she continues her work as a Doctoral student. The focus of Sofiia’s doctoral research is to shed light on the role of astrocytes in neurodegenerative diseases driven by mitochondrial dysfunctions. In her work, she also aims to reveal potential treatment strategies of these disorders.

MD, Ph.D student
rohit.verma [at] helsinki.fi

Student
tuomas.laalo [at] helsinki.fi

Student
satu.malinen [at] helsinki.fi

Student
pieti.pallijeff [at] helsinki.fi

Student
sara-sofia.sahlman [at] helsinki.fi

Medical Laboratory Technologist
markus.innila [at] helsinki.fi

Laboratory Technician, M.Sc.
sonja.jansson [at] helsinki.fi

Senior Medical Laboratory Technologist
tuula.manninen [at] helsinki.fi

Project Coordinator
kaisa.a.sarkkinen [at] helsinki.fi

Anna Kuukasjärvi, Student
Catalina Vasilescu, Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
Li Ma, Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D.
Babette Hollmann, Project coordinator
Christopher Jackson, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Samuli Kääriä, student
Maija Komonen, project coordinator
Kirsi Mattinen, laboratory coordinator
Hanna Haltia, student
Riikka Äänismaa, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Virginia Brilhante, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Simo Ojanen, student
Harri Hokkanen, student
Helena Hinterding, M.Sc.
Henriikka Vekuri, M.Sc.
Jenni Lehtonen, Ph.D.
Joni Nikkanen, Ph.D.
Christopher Carroll, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Gabrielle Capin, visiting student
Mervi Kuronen, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Iida-Marja Kleine, master student
Risto Lapatto, M.D., Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Eino Palin, M.D., Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Anna Hakonen, M.D., Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Mari Auranen, M.D., Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Sini Pirnes-Karhu, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Anu Harju, Medical Laboratory Technologist
Mügen Terzioglu, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Ilse Paetau, M.Sc., project coordinator
Sanna Toivonen, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Kati Ahlqvist, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Dmitri Shilov, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher
Eija Pirinen, Ph.D., Academy Research Fellow
Riikka Martikainen, Ph.D., Academy Research Fellow
Sofia Ahola, Ph.D.
Lotta Pasila, Student
Nagabhooshan Hegde, Graduate student
Antti Muranen, Project coordinator
Ana Latorre Pellicer, Visiting scientist
Hanna Koivumäki, Medical Laboratory Technologist
Alexandra Götz, Ph.D.
Rosanna Pöyhönen, M.Sc.
Valtteri Tulkki, Undergraduate student
Shuichi Yatsuga, M.D., Ph.D., postdoc
Silja Heiskanen, M.D.
Henna Tyynismaa, Ph.D., postdoc researcher
Minna Teerijoki, Undergraduate student
Emil Ylikallio, M.D., Ph.D.
Jonna Jalanka-Tuovinen
Milla Lampinen, Ph.D.
Petri Luoma, Ph.D., postdoc
Katja Mjøsund, Ph.D.
Nuno Raimundo, Ph.D., postdoc
Heini Ruhanen, UCL London
Esmaeil Kamali
Pieter Almgren, Lab technician student
Annamari Lesonen, M.Sc.
Marko Uutela, Ph.D., postdoc
Duygu Keser, Ph.D. student
Sanna Marjavaara, Ph.D., post-doc
Juho Kuula, Medical student