Johanna Vendelin

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Transcriptional enhancers are some of the most intriguing cis-acting regulatory sequences of the genome. Detailed enhancer function is not yet fully understood in the sense of how they regulate transcription of the target gene(s) over long distances. There's genome-wide evidence on non-coding transcription of enhancers, but very little knowledge on the functional aspects of these transcripts. My project aims to clarify whether the enhancer-derived non-coding transcripts are integral to the enhancer function.

Brief Biography

I was born on the outskirts of Salo, a small industrial town in southern Finland, also known for its Nokia mobile phone factory. I completed a MSc in Biochemistry at the University of Helsinki. My Master's thesis study titled "Effects of Anti-inflammatory Drugs Orazipone and OR-1958 on mast cell functions" was supported by Orion, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Finland.

I was introduced to the interesting world of complex disease genetics as well as some aspects of business thinking when doing my PhD under the supervision of Professor Juha Kere in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Helsinki and GeneOs Ltd. My doctoral thesis was titled "Positional Cloning and Pathway Analysis of the Asthma Susceptibility Gene, NPSR1". It includes the article "Characterization of a common susceptibility locus for asthma-related traits", which was awarded the 2004 Medix Prize for the best Finnish paper in biosciences. After finishing my PhD in 2007, I continued with functional studies of the NPSR1 gene in collaboration with Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. In 2009 I was awarded the Sigrid Juselius Fellowship, which enabled my research Down Under.


Laitinen T, Polvi A, Rydman P, Vendelin J, Pulkkinen V, Salmikangas P, Makela S, Rehn M, Pirskanen A, Rautanen A, Zucchelli M, Gullsten H, Leino M, Alenius H, Petays T, Haahtela T, Laitinen A, Laprise C, Hudson TJ, Laitinen LA, Kere J (2004). Characterization of a common susceptibility locus for asthma-related traits Science, 304:300-4

Vendelin J, Laitinen C, Vainio PJ, Nissinen E, Maki T, Eklund KK. (2005). Novel sulfhydryl-reactive compounds orazipone and OR-1958 inhibit cytokine production and histamine release in rat and human mast cells. Int Immunopharmacol., 5:177-84

Vendelin J, Pulkkinen V, Rehn M, Pirskanen A, Raisanen-Sokolowski A, Laitinen A, Laitinen LA, Kere J, Laitinen T (2005). Characterization of GPRA, a novel G protein-coupled receptor related to asthma. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol., 33:262-70

Pulkkinen V, Majuri ML, Wang G, Holopainen P, Obase Y, Vendelin J, Wolff H, Rytila P, Laitinen LA, Haahtela T, Laitinen T, Alenius H, Kere J, Rehn M (2006). Neuropeptide S and G protein-coupled receptor 154 modulate macrophage immune responses. Hum Mol Genet., 15:1667-79

Vendelin J, Bruce S, Holopainen P, Pulkkinen V, Rytila P, Pirskanen A, Rehn M, Laitinen T, Laitinen LA, Haahtela T, Saarialho-Kere U, Laitinen A, Kere J (2006). Downstream target genes of the neuropeptide S-NPSR1 pathway. Hum Mol Genet., 15:2923-35

Hellquist A, Zucchelli M, Kivinen K, Saarialho-Kere U, Koskenmies S, Widen E, Julkunen H, Wong A, Karjalainen-Lindsberg ML, Skoog T, Vendelin J, Cunninghame-Graham DS, Vyse TJ, Kere J, Lindgren CM (2007). Human GIMAP5 gene has a common polyadenylation polymorphism increasing risk to systemic lupus erythematosus. J Med Genet., 44:314-21

Orsmark-Pietras C, Melen E, Vendelin J, Bruce S, Laitinen A, Laitinen LA, Lauener R, Riedler J, von Mutius E, Doekes G, Wickman M, van Hage M, Pershagen G, Scheynius A, Nyberg F, Kere J; PARSIFAL Genetics Study Group (2008). Biological and genetic interaction between tenascin C and neuropeptide S receptor 1 in allergic diseases. Hum Mol Genet., 17:1673-82

Sundman L, Saarialho-Kere U, Vendelin J , Lindfors K, Assadi G, Kaukinen K, Mia Westerholm-Ormio M, Savilahti E, Maki M, D'Amato M, Pulkkinen V, Kere J and Saavalainen P (2010). Neuropeptide S receptor 1 expression in intestine and skin - putative role in peptide hormone secretion. Neurogastroenterol. Motil., 22(1): 79-87

Orsmark-Pietras C, Vendelin J, Anedda F, Bruce S, Adner M, Sundman L, Pulkkinen V, Alenius H, D'Amato M, Soderhall C and Kere J. The asthma candidate gene NPSR1 mediates isoform specific downstream signalling (Submitted)

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