Academy Research Fellow
Doctor of Pharmacy
Pharmacologist and neuroscientist (Ph.D. dissertation from neurobiology field)
My laboratory´s research focuses on two projects: (1) Homeostatic plasticity in the retina, its molecular mechanisms and implications for functional adaptation; (2) investigation of a novel drug repurposing-strategy for the treatment of retinal degenerations (RD). We use the retina as a model tissue for plasticity, pharmacology and drug discovery research for several reasons, such as amenability for noninvasive imaging due to eye’s transparency, finely layered structure and well-characterized structure-function relationships, functional similarity to that of brain due to same neurodevelopmental origin. Arguably, the retina is the best-characterized neuronal system in the body.
I detected retinal adaptability to sensory defect in year 2013 and our first paper related to this was published in 2020 (Leinonen et al., eLife). Next, we aim to solve the molecular pathways enabling retinal homeostatic plasticity. This knowledge will help to find mechanisms how the CNS adapts to injury and malfunction and can guide pharmacotherapies.
Our drug discovery program uses repurposed GPCR drugs. We have shown that a treatment with a combination therapy comprised of three GPCR-drugs slows progressive RD. The next crucial task is to uncover the therapeutic mechanisms of our therapy. This will facilitate further development of the treatment concept and can launch innovative drug development pipelines.
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy
+358 50 430 3196
Research groups and research projects
RESEARCH GROUPS - UEF
Choi, EH; Daruwalla, A; Suh, S; Leinonen, H; Palczewski, K. 2021. Retinoids in the visual cycle: role of the retinal G protein-coupled receptor Journal of lipid research 62: 100040. 2021
Kern, TS; Du, Y; Tang, J; Lee, CA; Liu, H; Dreffs, A; Leinonen, H; Antonetti, DA; Palczewski, K. 2021. Regulation of adrenergic, serotonin and dopamine receptors to inhibit diabetic retinopathy: monotherapies versus combination therapies Molecular pharmacology 100 5: 470-479. 2021
Leinonen, Henri; Cheng, Cheng; Pitkänen, Marja; Sander, Christopher L; Zhang, Jianye; Saeid, Sama; Turunen, Teemu; Shmara, Alyaa; Weiss, Lan; Ta, Lac; Ton, Timothy; Koskelainen, Ari; Vargas, Jesse D; Kimonis, Virginia; Palczewski, Krzysztof. 2021. A p97/Valosin-Containing Protein Inhibitor Drug CB-5083 Has a Potent but Reversible Off-Target Effect on Phosphodiesterase-6 Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics 378 1: 31-41. 2021
Suh, Susie; Choi, Elliot H; Leinonen, Henri; Foik, Andrzej T; Newby, Gregory A; Yeh, Wei-His; Dong, Zhiqian; Kiser, Philip D; Lyon, David C; Liu, David R; Palczewski, Krzysztof. 2021. Restoration of visual function in adult mice with an inherited retinal disease via adenine base editing Nature biomedical engineering 5 2: 169-178. 2021
Choi, EH; Suh, S; Einstein, DE; Leinonen, H; Dong, Z; Rao, SR; Fliesler, SJ; Blackshaw, S; Yu, M; Peachey, NS; Palczewski, K; Kiser, PD. 2021. An inducible Cre mouse for studying roles of the RPE in retinal physiology and disease JCI insight 6 9: e146604. 2021
Leinonen, Henri; Pham, Nguyen C; Boyd, Taylor; Santoso, Johanes; Palczewski, Krzysztof; Vinberg, Frans. 2020. Homeostatic plasticity in the retina is associated with maintenance of night vision during retinal degenerative disease eLife 9: e59422. 2020
Leinonen H, Choi EH, Gardella A, Kefalov VJ, Palczewski K.. 2019. A Mixture of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-Approved Monoaminergic Drugs Protects the Retina From Light Damage in Diverse Models of Night Blindness Investigative ophthalmology and visual science 60 5: 1442-1453. 2019
Leinonen, H; Koivisto, H; Lipponen, HR; Matilainen, A; Salo, AM; Dimova, EY; Hämäläinen, E; Stavén, S; Miettinen, P; Myllyharju, J; Koivunen, P; Tanila, H. 2019. Null mutation in P4h-tm leads to decreased fear and anxiety and increased social behavior in mice Neuropharmacology 153: 63-72. 2019
Singh, Y; Leinonen, H; Fazaludeen, F; Jaronen, M; Guest, D; Buckley, N; Byts, N; Oksa, P; Jalkanen, K; Iqbal, I; Huuskonen, M; Savchenko, E; Keksa-Goldsteine, V; Chew, S; Myllyharju, J; Tanila, H; Ooi, L; Koistinaho, J; Kanninen, KM; Malm, T. 2019. Loss of Cln5 leads to altered Gad1 expression and deficits in interneuron development in mice Human molecular genetics 28 11: 3309-3322. 2019
Zhang J, Choi EH, Tworak A, Salom D, Leinonen H, Sander CL, Hoang TV, Handa JT, Blackshaw S, Palczewska G, Kiser PD, Palczewski K.. 2019. Photic generation of 11- cis-retinal in bovine retinal pigment epithelium Journal of biological chemistry 294 50: 19137-19154. 2019