Spotlight on Dr Minna Kaikkonen-Määttä

minna

Dr Minna Kaikkonen-Määttä
Associate Professor in Cardiovascular Genomics
A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences
University of Eastern Finland
Finland

Website 

Associate Prof. Kaikkonen obtained her PhD in 2008 from the University of Kuopio (Professor Ylä-Herttuala’s lab), Finland where she developed surface modified viral vectors for targeted gene therapy applications. For her postdoc, she moved to the University of San Diego (Prof. Christopher Glass lab) to study the role of enhancer elements in the orchestrating the inflammatory response in macrophages. She played a central role in the ground-breaking studies which showed for the first time a functional role for enhancer RNA transcription and demonstrated how natural genetic variation affects enhancer function genome-wide.

In 2015, she started her own lab at the University of Eastern Finland. The research group is focused on developing and applying high-throughput genomics tools to gain insight into cell type specific gene regulatory mechanisms contributing to complex diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD). To this end, a wide-array of next-generation sequencing methods (scRNA-Seq, snATAC-Seq, GRO-Seq, TRAP-Seq, RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq and HiC) are employed in cellular and mouse models of disease.

Minna lab

Recently, she was awarded the European Research Council Starting Grant for a project that aims to identify and characterize the role of non-coding regulatory variants across CAD relevant cell types to provide a mechanistic interpretation of the genetic basis of the disease. In the future, she hopes that her research could provide steps towards taking the growing array of GWAS discoveries for translatable results in the field of cardiovascular research. Her research has been supported by several prestigious national and international funding bodies such as Fondation Leducq, Academy of Finland, ASLA Fulbright and Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research and Sigrid Juselius Foundation.

Useful links:

https://www.aka.fi/en/about-us/media/whats-new/2013/Enhancer-RNAs-may-open-new-avenues-for-gene-therapy/

https://www.uef.fi/en/-/erc-starting-grant-kahdelle-ita-suomen-yliopiston-tutkijalle

How to apply

Applications are welcome from junior and senior principal investigators: fellows, lecturers and professors. Completed ‘Spotlight on EVBO member application forms’ should be returned to Dr. Fiona Wilkinson (F.Wilkinson@mmu.ac.uk) and Prof. Jaap van Buul (j.vanbuul@sanquin.nl).