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Translational immunology group´s Profile image

Translational immunology group

Research group
01.01.2012 -
Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences


Translational immunology group

Our translational research focuses on understanding the fuction of the human immune system in health and disease. Our current research focuses on two major autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. By analyzing clinical samples, our aim is to better understand the immunopathogenesis of these diseases. This knowledge, in turn, could be used in the development of better biomarkers for diagnostics as well as novel immunomodulatory treatments to treat and prevent autoimmune diseases.​

Our Twitter handle is @kinnunenlab.

Activities in the research group

  • 1) Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that leads to the destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T1D is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, especially in Finland where its incidence is the highest in the world (around 1 in 100 children). T1D develops as a consequence of a combined effect of complex genetic predisposition and largely unknown environmental factors, and is preceded by a preclinical phase during which autoantibodies to islet autoantigens can be detected in blood.

    In collaboration with the national DIPP study ( and Turku University Hospital, we study immunological factors that lead from genetic susceptibility to autoimmunity and clinical disease. For this, we analyze blood samples collected from children with T1D, autoantibody-positive at-risk children as well as age-matched healthy control children.

    2) Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disease defined as a chronic arthritis of unknown origin beginning during childhood (around 1 in 500 children). It is not a single disease, but rather a heterogenous entity of conditions involving a spectrum of clinical findings. Similar to T1D, both genetic and environmental factors contribute to disease development.

    In collaboration with pediatricians in Kuopio, Oulu and Turku University Hospitals we aim to understand the immunopathogenesis and heterogeneity of JIA better. For this, we collect blood and synovial fluid samples from children with established JIA.

  • We study different immune cell subsets in clinical samples (blood and synovial fluid) with modern single cell methodology, in particular multiparameter flow cytometry and scRNA-seq approaches

    The key instruments used in the laboratory:​

    – 4-laser Novocyte Quanteon flow cytometer  for multiparameter flow cytometry 
    – BD Rhapsody Single-Cell Analysis system for single-cell multiomics
    – BD FACSAria III cell sorter for immune cell purification

Collaboration and Funding



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