Olli Raitakari profile picture
Olli
Raitakari
MD/PhD

Contact

+358 29 450 2304
Kiinamyllynkatu 10
20520
Turku

Areas of expertise

cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
risk factors
vascular epidemiology
genetic epidemiology
epidemiology
dietary intervention
cohort studies
follow-up studies

Biography

EDUCATION AND DEGREES
 
2001   Docent in Clinical Physiology
1997-1999  Postdoc training, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
1997   Docent in Epidemiology
1996   Specialist in Clinical Physiology 
1995   Doctorate, PhD
1989   Licentiate in Medicine, MD

CURRENT POSITIONS

2017-                 Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Research Centre of Applied and 
                          Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland                         

 

PAST POSITIONS

2012-2016                          Academy Professor, University of Turku

2007-2016                          Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine (part time), University of Turku

2007-2008                          Senior Scientist Grant, Academy of Finland

2004-2016                          Chief Physician, Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku
                                           University Hospital (leave of absence 2012-2016)

2002-2004                          Consultant in Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital

2002 (1 mo)                        Head of Nuclear Medicine Department, Turku University Hospital

2000-2003 (3 mo)               Head of Clinical Physiology Department, Turku University Hospital

2000-2005                          Senior Fellow Post, Academy of Finland

1998-2000                          Postdoctoral Research Post, Academy of Finland

1996-1997                          Consultant in Clinical Physiology, Turku University Hospital

1991-1996                          Positions as Resident in Clinical Chemistry, Nuclear Medicine, and Clinical 
                                           Physiology, Turku University Hospital

1988-1990                          Positions as General Practioner and Resident in Internal Medicine or Surgery


Research

Evidence suggest that many non-communicable disease outcomes have roots in childhood and may even stem of adverse ancestral exposures. Improved knowledge how various ancestral and early-life exposures lead to adult disease outcomes is essential in developing better preventive practices and policies that lead to improved public health. My mission has been to contribute to this knowledge-base by working in epidemiologic cohort studies with follow-up from childhood to adulthood. I am the Principal Investigator of the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS), the largest study in Europe with a follow-up of cardiovascular risk factors from childhood to adulthood. I am also the Director of the STRIP Study, which is a leading long-term pediatric dietary intervention study testing the hypothesis that modifying the fat quality diet will have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk early in life. During the past years, I have organized several field studies in these cohorts, and introduced novel technologies, such as imaging studies, genetic epidemiology methods and metabolomics approaches in these unique population resources. Our research has contributed to the understanding of pre-clinical development of atherosclerosis in children and young adults, including the effects of diet, life-style, metabolic risk factors, psychological traits and psychosocial factors, inflammation, hormones and genetic markers. For example, by applying non-invasive imaging methods in the Young Finns Study, we have demonstrated that exposure to adverse lipids, elevated blood pressure and obesity in childhood is related to atherosclerosis development in adulthood (JAMA 2003). Subsequent work stemmed from this initial observation has led to numerous original publications that have shown in detail how exposure to a large range of aetiogenic factors early in life contribute to the development of cardio-metabolic outcomes in adulthood. For example, by pooling international i3C Consortium data, we have demonstrated that overweight or obese children who became non-obese by adulthood had similar risks of many cardio-metabolic adult outcomes as individuals who were never obese (NEJM 2011). Thus, the results of our studies have clearly demonstrated that individual’s exposure to various stressors in early life is contributing to his/her adult phenotype and disease risk. The results have had significant impact on preventive practices. As a concrete demonstration of the international recognition and impact of my team’s work, many of our studies are widely cited in all updated paediatric guidelines on cardiovascular prevention both in Europe and in US.

Publications

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