Marika Oksanen

PhD student

My research aims to find out the role of HNRNPU in neuronal development and understand why mutations in this gene lead to neurodevelopmental disorders.

About me

I am a doctoral student in Karolinska Institute - National Institutes of Health (KI-NIH) Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience. At KI, I am a part of Tammimies group, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institute (KIND), Department of Women's and Children's Health. 

I obtained my Master of Science in Biomedical technology specialising in molecular biology in Tampere University, Finland. Before that I received a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology in the same university. 

Research description

There are several hundreds of genes connected to neurodevelopmental disorders. However, it is still widely unknown how mutations in most of those genes affect neuronal development. One of those genes is heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein U (HNRNPU). There have been over 50 children found with different HNRNPU mutations and they are suffering from autism, intellectual disability, developmental delay and fever induced seizures. 

My PhD project is aiming to discover how HNRNPU regulates neuronal development and which processes are altered when HNRNPU gene is mutated. Deeper knowledge of the molecular mechanisms helps to improve tools used in monitoring and diagnosis. Eventually, it is necessary to understand the altered pathways to discover possible treatment and even intervention options.

Previous research

As a research assistant (2018-2020) in the Eye Group led by prof. Heli Skottman in Tampere University, I was working with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and limbal epithelial stem cells. These projects aimed to develop human stem cell-based tools for retinal and corneal regeneration. 

Teaching portfolio

Research / Laboratory Training:

Sanna Lejerkrans (BSc Student, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden), Spring 2021


PhD Medical Science  – KI-NIH Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience (2020 – Present)

MSc Biomedical Technology – Department of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University (2018 – 2020)

BSc Biotechnology – Department of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University (2015 – 2018)