Areas of expertise
Eriika Savontaus received MD in 1995 and PhD in 1999 at University of Turku. She got her post-doctoral training at Columbia University, Division of Molecular Genetics, New York, NY, USA 2000-2002. She established her own laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology in 2003. Savontaus received the title of docent in Pharmacology in 2008. She has served as Senior/Clinical Lecturer (9/03-9/05, 3/09-7/09, 2/15-5/17), Academy Research Fellow (1/07-7/07, 8/09-1/15), acting Professor in Pharmacology (8/07-2/09) and Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (8/19-7/20). Savontaus was tenured 6/2017 and nominated the Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2021. She has a part-time affiliation as a physician in Clinical Pharmacology in University Hospital of Turku.
Eriika Savontaus serves and vice dean in the faculty of medicine with responsibility of graduate degree education in medicine and dentistry. She teaches pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics in medical, dental and biomedical curricula. She is involved in organizing doctoral training as the director of Drug Research Doctoral Program. She has supervised PhD thesis of six doctoral candidates and Master's thesis of 11 students.
Obesity with related metabolic and cardiovascular diseases is an increasing problem, but current means to prevent and treat obesity are clearly insufficient. Research of Savontaus group aims to identifying novel means of intervention. The main interest is in two neuropeptides, NPY (neuropeptide Y) and POMC (melanocortins), that play key roles in the regulation of body weight. They are working to understand the tissue-specific mechanisms of NPY and melanocortin action in order to facilitate drug development for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, the aim is to understand the impact of the genetics and epigenetics of these genes on the risk of cardiometabolic diseases and whether the epigenetic inheritance of metabolic diseases could be prevented.