I lead the Human Brain Disease Modelling research lab at the A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences where I work as a Sigrid Jusélius Research Fellow.

Adjunct Prof. in Pharmacology

My focus in recent years has been to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases, especially Parkinson`s disease, schizophrenia and psychopathy. We use patient-derived brain cells in 2D and 3D culture systems to mimic the pathological conditions in the diseased brain more accurately. We also center our efforts on discovering new drug targets and biomarkers for the studied diseases. As the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the ability of drugs to cross the BBB and reach the correct target is critical when designing drugs for neurological diseases, our third aim is to establish a simple model that mimics the physiological architecture and the barrier properties of the BBB. Once created, the ability of novel drugs and biomolecules like extracellular vesicles to penetrate the BBB can be tested. The model can also be used to understand the molecular and transport mechanisms that regulate BBB permeability in physiological and pathological conditions. Gained knowledge and novel discoveries will open in the future new opportunities for therapeutic developments.

For more information, please visit our research group website:




Terveystieteiden tiedekunta, A. I. Virtanen -instituutti





Regenerative medicine (coordinator, lecturer), Functional Genetics of Brain Diseases (lecturer), Basic Mechanism of Nervous System (lecturer) at the University of Helsinki, Farmakologian perusmenetelmät (demonstration)


Postdocs- Katrina Räty, PhD students- Tuuli-Maria Sonninen, Jonna Niskanen, Sara Kälvälä, Elina Pörsti (under co-supervision with Jari Koistinaho), Ilkka Fagerlund (under co-supervision with Tarja Malm), Ying Chieh Wu (under co-supervision with Jari Koistinaho), Project researchers- Vili Hakosalo, Sanni Peltonen, MSc students- Valtteri Syvänen, ERASMUS students- Patryk Krupa, Eugenio Galluccio

Yhteiskunnalliset tehtävät

the Brain Research Society of Finland (BRSF)- treasurer

Tutkimusryhmät ja -projektit


Päiviki ja Sakari Sohlberg 03/2022-12/2022, Project: Metabolic profiling of human microglia LRRK2 mutant PD patients

Sigrid Jusélius Senior Fellow 04/2021-03/2024, Project: Microglia-driven pathology in Parkinson’s Disease

Janne ja Aatos Erkon Säätiö 01/2021-12/2023, Project: Molecular crosstalk between astrocytes and microglia in Parkinson’s Disease

Sigrid Jusélius Säätiö-grant for your group leaders 05/2020-04/2021, Project: The role of glial cells in Parkinson’s Disease

Business Finland, Co-innovation, consortium project 11/2019-12/2022, Project: Extracellular vesicle ecosystem for the development of theranostic platforms

Tutkimusryhmät - UEF