Refine your search

Kuopio Birth Cohort (KuBiCo)´s Profile image

Kuopio Birth Cohort (KuBiCo)

Research group
01.07.2012 -
Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences

The Kuopio Birth Cohort (KuBiCo) project will generate new knowledge by integrating clinical and analytical data, achieving a stepwise increase in understanding of the combined effects of multiple factors on health and disease. The KuBiCo is aimed to resolve effects of genetics and different stress factors (medicines, nutrition, lifestyle factors and environmental aspects) during pregnancy on health status of the mother and the child. Altogether the final data base will include 10000 mother-child pairs. All pregnant women who will give a birth at Kuopio University Hospital can participate in the KuBiCo project. The KuBiCo project is a joint research project between University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) and National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL). The project has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Hospital District of Central Finland.

The project is anchored in the concept of developmental origin of diseases. In addition, it is well known that maternal health status during the pregnancy also predicts future wellbeing of the mother. Final study material consists of 10000 study subjects (mother-child pairs), related questionnaire database, and a large collection of biological samples.

KuBiCo’s PI is a professor Leea Keski-Nisula



We will survey the health of the children by annual questionnaires. Our aim is to study the association of pregnancy conditions (for example smoking) and microbe exposure in infancy with health and morbidity of the subjects in later childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We will investigate also the effects of pre-eclampsia and birth size of the children (SGA, small for gestational age; LGA, large for gestational age) on later health, diseases, and disease risks of the subjects; the last ones include the risk factors associated with adult cardiovascular diseases. The multidisciplinary KuBiCo project and its network will offer excellent possibilities to study the associations of nutrition and environmental exposures during pregnancy and early childhood with childhood growth, development and diseases in later life. The project can shed light on the etiology and pathogenesis of the most common developmental and health problems of childhood, for example overweight and obesity, asthma, allergy, cryptorchidism, ADHD, and diabetes.

Group leader:
MD Katri Backman
Kuopio University Hospital (KUH)


Pregnancy, as a unique stage of life, may pose nutritional challenges for the mother, but it is also a period that may contain great opportunities to influence the lifelong health of the unborn child.

The KuBiCo project investigates the effect of food and nutrients, nutritional supplements and food-derived compounds on the progress of pregnancy and health of the mother and child. The mother’s diet and the use of supplements are investigated in the first and last trimester of pregnancy using web-based surveys. Mothers receive personal feedback on the quality of the diet by email after completing the survey. The feedback also includes mirroring the diet in relation to valid nutritional recommendations.

The nutrition part examines not only the connection between nutrition and the progress of pregnancy and the well-being of the mother and child, but also the transfer of nutrients from the mother’s diet to the fetus during pregnancy. For this purpose, umbilical cord blood and placenta samples have also been taken from some of the KuBiCo mothers, and hair samples from some of the newborns for metabolomics studies. The research question is, for example, how much substances (e.g. caffeine) are found in the hair samples of newborns and whether these metabolites are connected to the children’s later health status.

Approximately 350 nutrients and food groups have been assessed from food frequency questionnaires during pregnancy. The project also investigates children’s food consumption and nutrient intake up to the age of 7.

Group leader:
Adjunct Professor, Nutrition epidemiologist Sari Hantunen

Mental wellbeing

We investigate how maternal psychological wellbeing is associated with circulating maternal and newborn biomarkers during pregnancy and after delivery. We also aim to determine how maternal mental wellbeing during pregnancy affects child health and wellbeing in a long-term follow-up. Our multidisciplinary approach allows gaining a wider perspective on how maternal mental wellbeing modulates physiological responses in the mother and the newborn. We hope that further understanding of these mechanisms will help to facilitate children’s health in the future.

Group leader:
Soili Lehto
Professor in Psychiatry, University of Oslo


The effect of different environmental exposures on the development of the fetus and the child is investigated by the Environmental Health unit of the National Institute for Health and Welfare. Particular interest of the workgroup in the KuBiCo is on environmental determinants of asthma and allergic diseases, especially exposure to the microbes in indoor air and air pollution, and on the effect of environmental chemical exposure to health and development of the offspring. Environmental exposures are assessed in KUBICO with comprehensive questionnaires. In addition, biological samples are collected for the chemical and microbiological analyses. Environmental Health unit is one of the leading groups on the field of environmental health in Europe and has executed several epidemiologic studies, including birth cohort studies. Environmental Health unit has the ability to produce extensive microbiological and chemical analyses.

Group leader:
Adjunct Professor Pirkka Kirjavainen
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare

Human placental metabolism and 'omics'

Maternal exposure to chemicals and drugs during pregnancy will affect the well-being of the mother and newborn child, putatively over generations, by causing modifications at RNA, DNA (genetics /epigenetics) and protein level which may contribute to the developmental origin of diseases. In the present project we’ll study how the above mentioned stress factors affect placental hormonal production (potential for endocrine disruption) and xenobiotics metabolizing characteristics at different stages of pregnancy. Methods used are primary and secondary cell cultures, placental enzymatic determinations in vitro, gene expression profiling studies, epigenetics and proteomics.

Group leader:
Professor Jaana Rysä


Researchers, UEF

Other group members


17 items