Riitta Lahesmaa profile picture
InFLAMES Flagship
Director, Turku Bioscience Centre
Professor, Turku Bioscience Centre
MD, PhD, Professor
InFLAMES FLagship, Immunology


+358 29 450 2415
+358 40 718 4813
Tykistökatu 6

Areas of expertise

Immune regulation
Type 1 diabetes
autoimmune diseases


I have been the Director of Turku Bioscience Centre, Turku, Finland (https://bioscience.fi/) since 1998. I am the Co-Director of BioCity Turku Centre for Lifespan Research.

I got M.D. and Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Turku. I was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University Medical Center and a Principal Scientist at Roche Bioscience in Palo Alto, California. I have been a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School, Stanford University and UCSF. I founded and directed Turku Centre for Systems Biology 2000-2015 and was vice-director of The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Systems Immunology and Physiology. I was the Academy Professor of the Academy of Finland in 2016-2020.

I am the President of the Finnish Society of Immunology and member of the board of Scandinavian Society of Immunology. I have published > 200 original papers and reviews and have several issued patents and patent applications. I am an elected member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters since 2012.

Web-site: https://bioscience.fi/research/molecular-systems-immunology/profile



My main contribution to teaching is to train PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Over the years I have supervised 35 postdoctoral researchers of whom 29 completed, six in progress and 34 PhD students of whom 28 completed, six in progress.


My research in molecular systems immunology  aims at understanding molecular mechanisms of regulation of human immune response and pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and other human immune mediated diseases. T cells orchestrate our immune system and a proper balance of T cells is crucial for immune defense in healthy individuals. In autoimmune diseases, out-of-control T cells drive pathologic inflammatory responses with devastating consequences for patients. Our studies have resulted in the identification of novel molecular mechanisms and new regulators of T cell functions. Our projects in progress aim at understanding the molecular basis of immune regulation to enable its modulation. Moreover, we aim at understanding the early immune response in children who develop Type 1 Diabetes to identify new biomarkers to improve predicting, monitoring, and early diagnosis of beginning of the disease process. This is of fundamental importance to be able to select the right patients for potential interventions as soon as the disease process kicks in.

Web-site: https://bioscience.fi/research/molecular-systems-immunology/profile/


Sort by:

Gene expression signature predicts rate of type 1 diabetes progression (2023)

Suomi Tomi, Starskaia Inna, Kalim Ubaid Ullah, Rasool Omid, Jaakkola Maria K., Grönroos Toni, Välikangas Tommi, Brorsson Caroline, Mazzoni Gianluca, Bruggraber Sylvaine, Overbergh Lut, Dunger David, Peakman Mark, Chmura Piotr, Brunak Søren, Schulte Anke M., Mathieu Chantal, Knip Mikael, Lahesmaa Riitta, Elo Laura L. ;INNODIA Consortium
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Early DNA methylation changes in children developing beta cell autoimmunity at a young age (2022)

Starskaia Inna, Laajala Essi, Grönroos Toni, Härkönen Taina, Junttila Sini, Kattelus Roosa, Kallionpää Henna, Laiho Asta, Suni Veronika, Tillmann Vallo, Lund Riikka, Elo Laura L. Lähdesmäki Harri, Knip Mikael, Kalim Ubaid Ullah, Lahesmaa Riitta
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Biomarkers of nanomaterials hazard from multi-layer data (2022)

Nature Communications
Fortino Vittorio, Kinaret Pia Anneli Sofia, Fratello Michele, Serra Angela, Saarimäki Laura Aliisa, Gallud Audrey, Gupta Govind, Vales Gerard, Correia Manuel, Rasool Omid, Ytterberg Jimmy, Monopoli Marco, Skoog Tiina, Ritchie Peter, Moya Sergio, Vázquez-Campos Socorro, Handy Richard, Grafström Roland, Tran Lang, Zubarev Roman, Lahesmaa Riitta, Dawson Kenneth, Loeschner Katrin, Larsen Erik Husfeldt, Krombach Fritz, Norppa Hannu, Kere Juha, Savolainen Kai, Alenius Harri, Fadeel Bengt, Greco Dario
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))