Petra Sipilä profile picture
Docent, Institute of Biomedicine
Research Manager, Institute of Biomedicine


+358 29 450 4643
+358 50 477 3384
Kiinamyllynkatu 10

Areas of expertise

Male fertility
sperm maturation
androgen receptor
regulation of gene expression
rare diseases
cartilage-hair hypoplasia


Petra Sipilä completed her PhD at the Department of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Finland (2003) and continued for post-doctoral training first at Professor Andrew McMahon’s lab at Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University and then as Finnish Academy Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku. In 2007 she was appointed as Coordinator for GM unit at Turku Center for Disease Modeling (TCDM) and in 2012 as a director of GM unit at the Laboratory Animal Centre of University of Helsinki. Since spring 2015 she has been a principal investigator at the UTU Research Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku and Vice director of Turku Center for Disease modeling (TCDM) at the University of Turku.


Androgens are required for the male reproductive tissues. In addition, androgens regulate gene ex-pression in several non-reproductive tissues. Defects in androgen signaling are linked to diseases, such as prostate cancer. Androgens act through androgen receptor, AR, a hormone-inducible nuclear receptor. Upon ligand binding, AR is shuttled to the nucleus where it binds to the androgen response elements to regulate gene transcription. Specificity of spatiotemporal androgen regulation in different tissues is achieved by differential usage of coregulators. However, in many target tissues the regulation of cell type specific responses to androgen action remains poorly understood. Given the importance of androgen action, it is necessary to understand how androgen actions are normally regulated. We are especially interested in how tissue-specific androgen responses are mediated via  AR SUMOylation, pioneer factors, collaborating transcription factors and microRNAs in the epididymis. Furthermore, we are interested in how those factors affect epididymal sperm maturation and thus male fertility.

We are also part of the FinnDisMice research consortium, that is committed to utilize CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to generate disease models for several rare diseases of the Finnish disease heritage, which contains almost forty monogenic, rare hereditary diseases that are clearly enriched in Finland.  The special phenotyping focus of our group is in cartilage-hair hypoplasia, a disease manifested by growth disorder and defective immune system.


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The Finnish genetic heritage in 2022 - from diagnosis to translational research (2022)

Disease Models and Mechanisms
Uusimaa Johanna, Kettunen Johannes, Varilo Teppo, Järvelä Irma, Kallijärvi Jukka, Kääriäinen Helena, Laine Minna, Lapatto Risto, Myllynen Päivi, Niinikoski Harri, Rahikkala Elisa, Suomalainen Anu, Tikkanen Ritva, Tyynismaa Henna, Vieira Päivi, Zarybnicky Tomas, Sipilä Petra, Kuure Satu, Hinttala Reetta
(Vertaisarvioitu katsausartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A2))

Elevated endogenous GDNF induces altered dopamine signalling in mice and correlates with clinical severity in schizophrenia (2022)

Molecular Psychiatry
Mätlik Kärt, Garton Daniel R., Montaño-Rodríguez Ana R., Olfat Soophie, Eren Feride, Casserly Laoise, Damdimopoulos Anastasios, Panhelainen Anne, Porokuokka L. Lauriina, Kopra Jaakko J., Turconi Giorgio, Schweizer Nadine, Bereczki Erika, Piehl Fredrik, Engberg Göran, Cervenka Simon, Piepponen T. Petteri, Zhang Fu-Ping, Sipilä Petra, Jakobsson Johan, Sellgren Carl M., Erhardt Sophie, Andressoo Jaan-Olle
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Modeling rare human disorders in mice: the finnish disease heritage (2021)

Zárybnický Tomáš, Heikkinen Anne, Kangas Salla M., Karikoski Marika, Martínez-Nieto Guillermo Antonio, Salo Miia H., Uusimaa Johanna, Vuolteenaho Reetta, Hinttala Reetta, Sipilä Petra, Kuure Satu
(Vertaisarvioitu katsausartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A2))

A Patient-Derived Cell Atlas Informs Precision Targeting of Glioblastoma (2020)

Cell Reports
Johansson P, Krona C, Kundu S, Doroszko M, Baskaran S, Schmidt L, Vinel C, Almstedt E, Elgendy R, Elfineh L, Gallant C, Lundsten S, Gago FJF, Hakkarainen A, Sipila P, Haggblad M, Martens U, Lundgren B, Frigault MM, Lane DP, Swartling FJ, Uhrbom L, Nestor M, Marino S, Nelander S
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Androgen receptor SUMOylation regulates bone mass in male mice (2019)

Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Jianyao Wu, Sofia Movérare-Skrtic, Fu-Ping Zhang, Antti Koskela, Juha Tuukkanen, Jorma J. Palvimo, Petra Sipilä, Matti Poutanen, Claes Ohlsson
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))