Short CV/Education and training


  • 1994
    MSc, Genetics, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Genetics (advisor Leena Peltonen-Palotie)

  • 1998
    PhD, Medical Genetics, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Genetics (Title of the thesis: Molecular Genetics of Familial Schizophrenia and PLO-SL; advisors Leena Peltonen-Palotie and Jouko Lönnqvist)

  • 2006
    Docent, Medical molecular biology, University of Helsinki


  • 1992 – 1999
    Undergraduate/graduate student, National Public Health Institute, Departments of Medical Genetics, and Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Helsinki (Leena Peltonen-Palotie’s / Jouko Lönnqvist’s group)

  • 1993
    Trainee, European Science Foundation Program on Molecular Neurobiology in Mental Illness at Genethon, Evry, France (6 wks)

  • 1999 – 2001
    Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Department of Neurochemistry, Frankfurt, Germany (Andreas Püschel’s group)

  • 2001 – 2002
    Postdoctoral fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Laboratory of Genetics, La Jolla, USA (Carrolee Barlow’s group)

  • 2002 – 2004
    Visiting scientist, Merck Research Laboratories, San Diego, USA (Carrolee Barlow’s group)

  • 2004 – 2008
    Senior scientist, National Public Health Institute, Department of Molecular Medicine

  • 2007
    Doctoral assistant (a teaching position), University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Genetics (4 mo)

  • 2007 – 2012
    Group Leader, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Genetics

  • 2007 – 2012
    Group Leader, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Research Program of Molecular Neurology, Biomedicum Helsinki

  • 2008
    Research Coordinator (Scientific Officer of the Research Council), University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine (4 mo)

  • 2008 – 2013
    Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland

  • 2008 – 2013
    Member, National Network for Molecular Medicine, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM, University of Helsinki

  • 2007-2016 Senior scientist, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (5% contribution)

  • 2010-2016 Research-oriented University Lecturer, Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki (leave of absence 2010-2013 during the Academy Research Fellow position)


  • since 2017
    Associate professor in Neurogenomics (tenure-track), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Selected publications

  • Rossi M, Kilpinen H, Muona M, Surakka I, Ingle C, Hennah W, Ripatti S, Hovatta I. Allele-specific regulation of DISC1 expression by miR-135b-5p. Eur J Hum Genet, 2014; 22:840-3.

  • Ahola K, Sirén I, Kivimäki M, Ripatti S, Aromaa A, Lönnqvist J, Hovatta I. Work-related exhaustion and telomere length: a ppopulation-based study. PLoS one, 2012, 7:e40186.

  • Donner J, Sipilä T, Ripatti S, Kananen L, Chen X, Kendler KS, Lönnqvist J, Pirkola S, Hettema JM, Hovatta I. Support for involvement of glutamate decarboxylase 1 and neuropeptide Y in anxiety susceptibility. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 2012; 159B: 316-27.

  • Juhila J, Sipilä T, Icay K, Nicorici D, Ellonen P, Kallio A, Korpelainen E, Greco D, Hovatta I: MicroRNA expression profiling reveals miRNA families regulating specific biological pathways in mouse frontal cortex and hippocampus. PLoS one, 2011; 6:e21495.

  • Muiños Gimeno M, Espinosa-Parrilla Y, Guidi M, Kagerbauer B, Sipilä T, Maron E, Petai K, Kananen L, Martin-Santos R, Navinés R, Gratacòs M, Metspalu A, Hovatta I, Estivill X: Human microRNAs miR-22, miR-138-2, miR-148a and miR-488 are associated with panic disorder and regulate several anxiety candidate genes and related pathways. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; 69:526-33.

  • Donner J, Haapakoski R, Ezer S, Melen E, Pirkola S, Gratacos M, Zucchelli M, Anedda F, Söderhäll C, Orsmark-Pietras C, Suvisaari J, Martin-Santos R, Torrens M, Silander K, Terwilliger JD, Wickman M, Pershagen G, Lönnqvist J, Peltonen L, Estivill X, D’Amato M, Kere J, Alenius H, Hovatta I: Assessment of the neuropeptide S system in anxiety disorders. Biol Psychiatry 2010; 68:474-83.

  • Kananen L, Surakka I, Pirkola S, Suvisaari J, Lönnqvist J, Peltonen L, Ripatti S, Hovatta I: Childhood adversities are associated with shorter telomere length at adult age both in individuals with an anxiety disorder and controls. PLoS ONE 2010; 5:e10826.

  • Sipilä T, Kananen L, Greco D, Donner J, Silander K, Terwilliger JD, Auvinen P, Peltonen L, Lönnqvist J, Pirkola S, Partonen T, Hovatta I: An association analysis of circadian genes in anxiety disorders. Biological Psychiatry 2010; 67:1163-1170.

  • Donner J, Pirkola S, Silander K, Kananen L, Terwilliger JD, Lönnqvist J, Peltonen L, Hovatta I: An association analysis of murine anxiety genes in humans implicates novel candidate genes for anxiety disorders. Biological Psychiatry 2008; 64:672-680.

  • Hovatta I, Tennant RS, Helton R, Marr RA, Singer O, Redwine JM, Schadt EE, Ellison JA, Verma IM, Lockhart DJ, Barlow C: Glyoxalase 1 and glutathione reductase 1 regulate anxiety in mice. Nature 2005; 438:662-666.

  • Zapala MA+, Hovatta I+, Ellison JA+, Wodicka L, Del Rio JA, Tennant R, Tynan W, Broide RS, Helton R, Winrow C, Reilly J, Young WG, Bloom FE, Lockhart DJ, Barlow C: Adult mouse brain gene expression patterns bear an embryologic imprint. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2005; 102:10357-10362. + These authors contributed equally.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • ERC Starting Investigator Grant "A cross-species neurogenomic approach to anxiety", 2011-2016

  • ERA-NET NEURON "Novel molecular pathways and biomarkers of anxiety disorders" Coordinator, 2014-2016


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