Ullamari Pesonen profile picture
Professor, Institute of Biomedicine
Professor of Pharmacology and Drug Development
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and metabolic disturbances in brain, Type 2 diabetes as a risk factor to AD, Pharmacology of pain and analgesia, Rare aggregation diseases


+358 29 450 3867
Kiinamyllynkatu 10

Areas of expertise

Drug Development


Education and academic adjunct positions:

  • Adjunct Professor of Pharmacogenetics, University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland), 2006 -
  • PhD (Pharmacology), University of Turku (Turku, Finland) 1993
  • MSc (Biochemistry), University of Turku (Turku, Finland), 1987

Previous professional appointments and work experience:

  • 2007-2017 Principal Research Scientist, Orion Corporation/Orion Pharma, Turku, Finland
  • 2001-2006 Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor of Drug Development, University of Turku, Department of Pharmacology, Drug Development and Therapeutics, Finland
  • 2001-2002 Visiting Senior Researcher, University of Glasgow, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics (Glasgow, UK)
  • 1988-2000 Several academic positions, University of Turku, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Finland
  • 1993-1994 Visiting Fellow, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Bethesda, MD, USA)

On-going official duties:

  • Member of the Steering Committee on Turku Center for Disease Modeling (TCDM), 2018 -
  • Member of the Student Election Committee of Biomedicine Curriculum, 2018 -
  • Member of the Curriculum Steering Committee of Batchelor’s Degree Programme in Biomedicine, 2018 -
  • Member of the Board of Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, 2016 -
  • Member of the Board of Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, 2022 -
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Nordic Association for the Publication of “Basic & Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology” (BCPT) (former Nordic Pharmacological Society), 2014-
  • Member of the Board of Drug Research Doctoral Program (DRDP), University of Turku, 2010-, Vice Director 2018 - 2021
  • Expert Member in Finnish Market Court (civil IPR cases), 2013 - 
  • Vice President of Finnish Pharmacological Society, 2011 - 2020
  • Vice President of Finnish Drug Research Foundation, 2021 -


I have been teaching pharmacology for medical students since 1995 and additionally for students of Master of Biomedical Sciences (former Health Biosciences) curriculum since 2001. I am also teaching PhD students as well as students of other curricula in my expertise area Pharmacology and Drug Development. I have also visited as a guest lecturer Universities of Eastern Finland and Helsinki. In addition to university level courses, I have given lectures and examinations in pharmacology at Nursery School of Turku (currently Turku University of Applied Sciences), Turku, Open University (Turku) and courses of continuing education and training (University of Eastern Finland).

My teaching includes/have included various courses on different areas of pharmacology, physiology and drug development, both lectures and experimental work as well as seminars. My specialty areas of teaching are vascular physiology and neuropharmacology as well as pharmacogenetics and drug development.


Defects in insulin signalling and insulin resistance seems to be one of the major hallmarks in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a well-known risk factor for AD, and already very early events in AD pathogenesis include both insulin resistance and altered glucose utilization and metabolism. To study the insulin pathways in periphery and CNS we use transgenic animal model and in vitro studies.

Since pathology of AD seems have a major metabolic component, the development of secondary interventions for persons with higher risk to develop AD is crucial. Activating centrally insulin signalling pathway with insulin-sensitizing CNS penetrating drugs could be an effective strategy to protect neurons and synapses from Aβ toxicity in a preventive manner.


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Farmakologia ja toksikologia (2022)

Koulu Markku, Mervaala Eero, Pesonen Ullamari
(Toimitustyö ammatilliselle lehdelle, kokoomateokselle tai konferenssijulkaisulle (D6))

Lääkekehitys (2022)

Koulu Markku, Pesonen Ullamari
(Artikkeli ammatillisessa kokoomateoksessa (D2))