Sponsors & Partners：
From System Biology to Translational Medicine
---6th Sino-Finn Life Science Forum
Place: Lecture Hall 2, Biomedicum Helsinki
Haartmaninkatu 8, Helsinki, Finland
Time: 17-18, August, 2015
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland
Home page: http://www.helsinki.fi/neurosci/groups/castren.html
Our lab is investigating the role of neurotrophic factors and their receptors on neuronal plasticity and drug responses in adult brain. We have found that antidepressant drugs reactivate a developmental-like plasticity in the adult brain in rodents and we have coned this phenomenon iPlasticity. We first found that fluoxetine, a widely prescribed antidepressant drug, induces critical period-like plasticity in the adult rat visual cortex and brings about a recovery of vision in an amblyopic eye, when drug treatment is combined with patching of the healthy eye. We subsequently showed that fluoxetine treatment induces juvenile-like plasticity also in the amygdala, which may explain the enhanced effect of combined antidepressant drug treatment and psychotherapy in the treatment of traumatic memories. In iPlasticity, drugs have no functional effects of their own, but by inducing plasticity they promote the effects of rehabilitation and psychotherapy. We have shown that signaling of the neurotrophin BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and its receptor TrkB is required and sufficient for iPlasticity and that several other drug classes also activate TrkB signaling. We are now focusing on the neuronal and molecular mechanisms underlying iPlasticity and investigating how adult plasticity could promote recovery in a variety of neuronal disorders. The lab is supported by the European Research Council Advanced investigator award and grants from Sigrid Jusélius Foundation and Academy of Finland.
Zhi Jane Chen
MD, PhD, Research Fellow of Academy of Finland
Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku, Finland
Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases underlie a vast variety of human diseases. The immune system is often involved with these disorders. We focus on understanding the role of the relatively newly identified subsets of CD4+ T cells, Th17 and iTreg in regulating the inflammatory/autoimmune axis. We study Th17 and iTreg differentiation at multiple levels from mouse and human and integrate the results to build a comprehensive view of the processes.
We are particularly interested in study the regulation and interactions between the immune and hormonal responses and how the interactions contribute to pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases.
The results of our studies are expected to gain new insight into the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte differentiation to Th17 and iTreg lineages. This in turn will be important for the development therapeutic strategies that will facilitate rational modulation of the immune response.
PhD, Professor of Health Sciences
Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Exercise Health and Technology Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
The core of exercise medicine research is to increase knowledge about the effects of exercise on disease prevention and health care. The research targets are both the advantages and disadvantages of exercises. The research is divided into four parts with respect to each other.
1) epidemiological studies
2) intervention studies
3) genetic and molecular mechanisms
4) research methods /equipment development-related studies
Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau
My research interest mainly focus on the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of gene expression and gene expression regulatory network. I am also interested in understanding the mechanisms of human diseases such as cancer by exploring the aberrant gene expression associated with these diseases. For instance, the current on-going projects focus on transcriptional factors such as BRCA1 and CtBP by illustrating their important role in alteration cell metabolism which may associates with cancer development. The research strategy relies on both high throughput screening technologies such as NGS, gene expression microarray etc and individual gene study. The conclusion from cell based studies will be validated in other relevant model system such engineered mouse models.
Vice director, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Health Science Center, Peking University
Co-director, Peking University Diabetes Center
Dean, School of Medicine of Shenzhen University
Vice Dean, School of Basic Medical Science, Peking University
Main Research Fields: Focused on prostaglandin receptors including PGE2 receptors such as EP1, EP2 and EP4 receptors and metabolic nuclear receptors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR) and liver X receptors (LXRs), as well as their role in diabetes, hypertension, lipid metabolism disorder, obesity and related renal complications.
Dean of the Medical School at the Wuhan University, China
Main Research Fields: 1, Molecular mechanisms of genome replication and immune escape of RNA viruses (focusing on coronavirus and hepatitis C virus); 2, RNAi-based strategy to suppress virus replication with emphasis on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Ph.D., Professor of Systems Biology
Systems Biology research group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
The focus of research in the Hautaniemi lab is to analyze complex biological systems using a systems biology approach. Systems biology research is an interdisciplinary effort to gain understanding of the function and control of biological processes using mathematical methods and statistical experimental design principles. The central theme of our research is to produce reliable, experimentally testable biomedical predictions and suggest novel directions for future experiments.
We are interested in developing methods to integrate data from various sources (genetic, gene expression, protein activations, phenotypes, etc.). We are also developing bioinformatics tools to link the results from our analyses to biomedical databases and to produce robust predictions that can be tested experimentally.
Another main thrust is to construct and analyze dynamic mathematical models for signaling transduction pathways and suggest targets for effective therapeutic interventions, study the effects of perturbations on the pathways, and eventually translate the acquired information to diagnostics and therapeutics.
M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory Head
Department of Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Turku
Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
Research field：Infectious Disease, Infection biology, Bacterial genomics, Vaccine, Medical Microbiology, Diagnosis
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM)
Our new individualized systems medicine study is as part of a "grand challenge" programme at FIMM to improve cancer therapy. Using adult Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) as a model disease, we aim to: (1) identify effective targeted drugs for AML patients by ex-vivo DSRT as well as genomic and molecular profiling, (2) understand how the molecular and functional features change during drug response and resistance based on paired samples, (3) create individual systems medicine models of AML driver signals and drug response/resistance, (4) translate these data towards individualized cancer treatment. The personalised medicine collaboration involves Wennerberg, Heckman/Knowles, Aittokallio and Lundin groups at FIMM and clinical collaborators at HUS.
In addition, the group is developing similar strategies in prostate cancer, where we work with established cancer cell lines, drug-resistant model systems, patient ex-vivo material and tumor tissues to profile drug response and resistance. We would like to identify the genes and signalling pathways that play a key role and could act as predictive biomarkers of drug response and resistance.
Ph.D, Docent, Group leader, Research Fellow of Academy of Finland
Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki.
Main field of research: Aging is caused by the time dependent accumulation of cellular damage. Such damage impairs the ability of the resident stem cell pool to renew the tissue (stem cell exhaustion), and manifests as the functional decline associated with aging. Mechanisms that increase stem cell numbers, maintenance, or function could therefore be used to counter aging related diseases. We focus on: 1. Impact of the stem cell niche on aging; 2. How do stem cell systems organize themselves for the best of the tissue; 3. Asymmetric apportioning of damaged cellular components
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Translational Cancer Biology Research Program, Haartman Institute, Biomedicum Helsinki
The research profile of our laboratory include the biology of TGF-beta, especially its role in the regulation of cell proliferation and extracellular proteolysis and the roles of netrins on glioblastoma growth and invasion. We analyze the biology of latent forms of TGF-ß family growth factors, their association with the extracellular matrix structures by LTBPs (latent TGF-ß binding proteins) and proteolytic release and activation of the latent complexes. A link to the regulation of extracellular proteolysis is via plasminogen activators and metalloproteinases. We have analyzed plasmin mediated processing/activation of gelatinase A, and identified membrane type-1 MMP (MT1-MMP) as a major effector in the cell surface associated activation of gelatinase A. Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive and lethal cancer type. It is characterized by extensive angiogenesis in tumor tissue, and lethality occurs by infiltration/invasion of tumor cells to brain tissue. The focus of our research is to reveal mechanisms affecting glioblastoma pathogenesis. Netrins are secreted extracellular matrix components, initially identified as axon guidance molecules. In clinical samples of glioblastoma, netrin-1 expression is elevated. In vitro, netrin-1 promotes glioma cell survival, proliferation and invasion. Our lab found Netrin-1 induces Notch signaling, and the induced signaling is accompanied by increased glioma cell invasion. Accordingly, we have carried out an analysis of netrin-4 expression, functions and binding receptors in glioblastoma cells. We have further investigated the interplay mechanism between NTN4 and ITGB4 during glioma progression.
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital
Main field of research: Molecular imaging in cardiovascular and metabolic research, Novel molecular imaging techniques, translate them from animals to human applications and finally for clinical use
Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Science
Main field of research: Learning and memory, Brain-like computing, Autonomous robots
Director of Systems Biology Center, Suzhou University
Main Research Fields: 1, To develop algorithms to identify the specific pattern for a specific cancer at a specific stage by meta-analysis; 2, To investigate the difference of the systems dynamic properties between the healthy and cancer states.
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Biomedicum Helsinki, Research Programs Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki
Major human diseases such as diabetes and cancer are due to deregulated signaling stemming from genetic alterations and extrinsic factors. Signaling in pathways and in larger networks typically involves sequential activation of kinases phosphorylating substrates and thus relaying and amplifying signals ultimately modulating transcriptional responses in target gene sets. Our longstanding interest is to characterize signaling pathways regulating mammalian cell growth and how these impinge on transcriptional responses in human disease.
PhD, Docent in Biochemistry, Research Fellow of Academy of Finland
Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki
Our bottom-up research line focuses on the role of immune activation in controlling the brain development, behaviors and neuropsychiatric diseases. Our top-down research line focuses on the role of the nervous system in regulation of immune cell development and activation, e.g. the importance of mind-body connection in physical diseases. We study both human patients and rodent disease models and use cutting-edge genetic and laboratorial approaches to holistically evaluate the brain-immune crosstalk. Our current major focuses are: 1, The role of peripheral and central immune activation in the brain development and behaviors; 2, Development and activation of innate and adaptive immune cells in the primary and secondary lymphoid organs regulated by the autonomic nervous system.
Laboratory of Developmental Biology, Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
How the linear genome becomes transformed to the complex three-dimensional organization of cells via morphoregulation during embryogenesis is one of the great open challenges in biology. In spite of the availability of very powerful experimental and molecular classification methods we still understand rather poorly the systems biology of organogenesis and its deregulated form, oncogenesis. Several essential genes of the process have been characterized, but an integrated view of the dynamics of the processes involved as yet remains to be achieved. In this research line we use the mammalian kidney and the urogenital system as the primary models to increase our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of morphogenesis. During the past few years we have developed a wealth of novel experimental tools to gain new approaches to reach a deeper insight into the complex problem of organ assembly. We are at present applying these novel “mesoscopic” tools to channel cell fate in a regulated manner with the fundamental aim of constructing real and virtual organs.
M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Prostate Cancer Research Center, University of Tampere
The goal of the research group is to identify recurrent genetic and epigenetic alterations in prostate cancer using modern genomic tools, such as next generation sequencing. In addition, the research group has a strong interest towards androgen receptor (AR) gene, amplification of which was first described by the group.
Ph.D., Docent, Research Fellow of Academy of Finland
Biocenter Oulu and Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
Transcription factors (TF) are sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. Human genome contains approximately 1400 TFs contributing to complex gene regulation and accurate cell growth control. The aberrant expression of TFs is frequently observed in cancer of the breast and prostate, Ewing's sarcoma and leukemia. Charting gene regulatory networks driven by the TFs in cancer cells is a systematic way to the discovery of novel mechanisms and clinical markers for cancer risk prediction and therapy. Here, we aim to uncover cancerous roles of several TFs including key members of ETS, HOX and Forkhead classes of DNA-binding proteins. Together with the data from genome-wide association studies, we aim to see how cancer risk-associated SNPs alter TF DNA-binding to clinically important enhancers. We will validate key findings including risk SNPs, enhancers and genes that are potentially to be prognostic and diagnostic markers for human cancer risk prediction.
Ph.D., FIMM-EMBL Group Leader
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM)
Our group studies drug responses of cancer cells to functionally and therapeutically stratify cancers, to identify the underlying signals that drive the cancers and how effective personalized drug combinations can be predicted and established. A major research effort of our group is focused on the Individualized Systems Medicine in Cancer (ISM) program, a collaborative project among several FIMM research groups and Helsinki Central University Hospital (HUCH). For this program and other projects, we developed and applied the cancer cell Drug Sensitivity and Resistance Testing (DSRT) platform and analysis together with the High Throughput Biomedicine unit and the Aittokallio group at FIMM. This research effort has allowed us to functionally stratify cancers, identify new possible drug targets and to identify extended uses for existing drugs. The DSRT platform has also had a major impact on the research at FIMM in general and elsewhere with over 800 samples and cell lines screened to date and numerous articles published.
Furthermore, our group explores personalized cancer molecular profiling information to identify new therapeutic targets and small molecules inhibiting them. For this approach, we are exploring new ways of modulating mutant and non-mutant STAT3 signaling, personalized drug combinations targeting cancers with mutated RAS oncogenes, and developing inhibitors against the MKLP-1/MgcRacGAP/Ect2 protein complex.
Vice Director of Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University
Main Research Fields: Zhu’s lab was launched since 2005, with a thriving and diverse group of young researchers from the background of mathematics, physics, mechanics and computer science. The long-term of the lab is to understand the biological complex systems based on the level of genome, protein sequence and protein structure, and develop a variety of methods and tools in the emerging field of computational system biology and bioinformatics. During recent years, the lab has obtained continual grants and funding from China government. Currently the lab has several focuses in the field:
(1) Genome analysis and gene prediction methods and tools on microbial genomes and metagenomes;
(2) Comparative genomics and genome evolution for environmental microbes and human health-associated microbes;
(3) Network and mechanism associated with splicing and alternative splicing of exons/introns in eukaryotic genomes;
(4) Data mining in biomedicine.
The lab has developed a series of bioinformatics methods in prokaryotic gene prediction, eukaryotic gene prediction, protein second structure prediction, and protein folding analysis. Our methods have been applied in several bacterial genome sequencing projects. Our research has been cited or highlighted by the academic community, such as in journals of Nature, Nat. Methods, and Nat. Rev. Microbiol. etc.