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Henri  Leinonen

Henri Leinonen

Academy Research Fellow

Research Director
Doctor of Pharmacy
Adjunct Professor (neuropharmacology)

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences | +358 50 430 3196

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.


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