Health Sciences

Laakkonen (former Pöllänen) Eija, Academy Research Fellow

Short number:

Scopus ID: 6506655210

Research projects

Risk of metabolic dysfunction in middle aged women: systemic and intracrine oestrogen and microRNAs as mediating factors (EsmiRs-study)
Finnish Academy Research Fellow project (9/2017-8/2022)

Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis (ERMA-study)
Funded by Finnish Academy (PI Vuokko Kovanen) & funded by Juho Vainio's Foundation (PI Eija Laakkonen)

Sarcopenia, Aging, Women and Estrogen (SAWEs-study)
Funded by Finnish Academy (PI Vuokko Kovanen) & funded by Jenny and Antti Wihuri's Foundation and Päivikki and Sakari Sohlbergs's Foundation (PI Eija Laakkonen)

Research interest

My research interests are in biological aspects of aging, physical activity and their interaction. My current research focuses on the effects of hormonal aging on muscle function, muscle and body composition, metabolism, their interaction, and association with disease risks. In addition, I study the role of physical activity/exercise in the regulation of muscle and whole body health during aging as well as the potential interactions with hormonal aging and their molecular markers by using a wide range of the methods of molecular genetics including epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and microRNA expression studies as well as objective and subjective physical activity measurements, performance measurements, body composition assessments and structured questionnaires to get deeper understanding of the phenomena under investigation.

Education and degrees awarded

Adjunct Professorship, i.e., title of docent in molecular genetics, University of Helsinki, Finland; 2013
Ph.D. in Gerontology and Public Health, University of Jyväskylä, Finland; 2011
M.Sc. in genetics, University of Helsinki, Finland; 2003
Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology, Metropolia polytechnic, Vantaa, Finland; 1997

group members 

Sira Karvinen, postdoc

Reeta Kangas, Doctoral student; Dissertation:; thesis e-book:

Hanna-Kaarina Juppi, Doctoral student

Matti Hyvärinen, Undergraduate student

Matthew Jergenson, Visiting researcher from Minnesota University (2018)


Please see up to date list of publications in Scopus

  1. Laakkonen EK, Soliymani R, Karvinen S, Rintala P, Kaprio J, Kujala U, Baumann M, Sipilä S, Kovanen V, Lalowski M. Estrogenic regulation of skeletal muscle proteome: a study of premenopausal women and postmenopausal MZ cotwins discordant for hormonal therapy. Aging Cell. 2017.  doi: 10.1111/acel.12661. Epub ahead of print.
  2. Laakkonen EK, Kulmala J, Aukee P, Hakonen H, Kujala UM, Lowe DA, Kovanen V, Tammelin T, Sipilä S. Female reproductive factors are associated with objectively measured physical activity in middle-aged women. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 22;12(2):e0172054.
  3. Kangas R, Törmäkangas T, Fey V, Pursiheimo J, Miinalainen I, Alen M, Kaprio J, Sipilä S, Säämänen AM, Kovanen V, Laakkonen EK. Aging and serum exomiR content in women-effects of estrogenic hormone replacement therapy. Sci Rep. Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 14;7:42702.
  4. Sillanpää E, Niskala P, Laakkonen EK, Ponsot E, Alén M, Kaprio J, Kadi F, Kovanen V, Sipilä S. Leukocyte and Skeletal Muscle Telomere Length and Body Composition in Monozygotic Twin Pairs Discordant for Long-term Hormone Replacement Therapy. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2017 Apr;20(2):119-131.

  5. Kangas R, Törmäkangas T, Heinonen A, Alen M, Suominen H, Kovanen V, Laakkonen EK, Korhonen MT. Declining Physical Performance Associates with Serum FasL, miR-21, and miR-146a in Aging Sprinters. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:8468469. doi: 10.1155/2017/8468469.

  6. Ahtiainen JP, Hulmi JJ, Lehti M, Kraemer WJ, Nyman K, Selänne H, Alen M, Komulainen J, Kovanen V, Mero AA, Philippou A, Laakkonen EK, Häkkinen K. Effects of resistance training on expression of IGF-I splice variants in younger and older men. Eur J Sport Sci. 2016 Nov;16(8):1055-63.

  7. Bahl A*, Pöllänen E*, Ismail K, Sipilä S, Mikkola T, Berglund E, Lindqvist CM, Syvänen AC, Rantanen T, Kaprio J, Kovanen V, Ollikainen M. Hormone replacement therapy associated white blood cell      DNA methylation and gene expression are associated with within-pair      differences of body adiposity and bone mass. Twin Res Hum      Genet. 2015;18(6):647-61. *Equal contribution.

  8. Pöllänen E, Kangas R, Horttanainen M, Niskala P, Kaprio J, Butler-Browne G, Mouly V, Sipilä S, Kovanen V. Intramuscular sex steroid      hormone are associated with skeletal muscle strength and power in pre- and      postmenopausal women. Aging Cell. 2015;14(2):236-48.
  9. Kangas R, Pöllänen E, Rippo MR, Lanzarini C, Prattichizzo F, Niskala P, Sipilä S, Kaprio J, Capri M, Francheschi C, Olivieri F, Kovanen V. Circulating miR-21, miR-146a and Fas ligand respond to      postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy – a study with monozygotic twin      pairs. Mech Ageing Dev. 2014;15(143-144): 1-8.
  10. Olivieri F*, Ahtiainen M*, Lazzarini R*, Pöllänen E*, Capri M, Lorenzi M, Fulgenzi G, Albertini MC, Salvioli S, Alén MJ, Kujala UM, Borghetti G, Babini L, Kaprio J, Sipilä S, Franceschi C, Kovanen V, Procopio AD. Hormone replacement      therapy enhances IGF-1 signaling in skeletal muscle by diminishing miR-182      and miR-223 expressions: a study on postmenopausal monozygotic twin pairs.      Aging Cell. 2014;13(5):850-61*Equal contribution.


Contact Information

Viveca Building

Department of Health Sciences

Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
P.O BOX 35 (L)
FI - 40014 University of Jyväskylä

Tel. + 358 (0)14 260 2160
Fax. + 358 (0)14 260 2001