About me

Sophie Petropoulos, PhD has merged her expertise in the fields of physiology, developmental biology, epigenetics and single-cell genomics to gain an understanding of early preimplantation development.  Her research interests focus on how early events such as parental or environmental exposures can result in fetal reprogramming, ultimately leading to the onset of disease or disorder later in life.   Dr. Petropoulos completed her PhD in the Department of Physiology, University of Toronto and then joined the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University where she specialized in epigenetics.  She then moved to the Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology and the Ludwig Cancer Research Institute where her studies investigated human preimplantation development using single-cell RNA-sequencing.  

Selected publications from the last 2 years. 

  • Collier AJ*, Panula S*, Schell JP, Chovanec P, Plaza Reyes A, Petropoulos S, Corcoran AE, Walker R, Douagi I, Lanner F, Rugg-Gunn PJ.  Comprehensive Cell Surface Protein Profiling Identifies Novel Markers of Human Naïve and Primed Pluripotent States. *equal contribution. Cell Stem Cell 2017 June 1; 20(6):874-890
  • Hildebrand S, Hultin S, Petropoulos S, Subramani A, Cao X, Mpindi J, Kalloniemi O, Johansson S, Lanner F*, Holmgren L*.  Amotl2 Controls Trophectoderm Cell Morphology in Mammalian Blastocysts.  *equal contribution.  Accepted Scientific Reports 2017.
  • Posfai E, Petropoulos S, Barros F, Schell JP, Sandber R, Lanner F, Rossant J.  Position- and Hippo-signaling-dependent plasticity of the developing inner cell mass and trophectoderm lineages in the mouse.   ELife 2017 Feb 22;6. pii: e22906.
  • Bloise E*, Petropoulos S*, Iqbal M, Kostaki A, Ortiga-Carvalho TM, Gibb W, Matthews SG.  Acute Effects of Viral Exposure on Disposition of P-glycoprotein Substrates in the Fetal Brain. *equal contribution. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry. 2017; 41(3):1044-1050.
  • Jouhilahti EM*, Madissoon E*, Vesterlund L, Töhönen V, Krjutškov K, Reyes AP, Petropoulos S, Månsson R, Linnarsson S, Burglin T, Lanner F, Hovatta O, Katayama S, Kere J.  The human PRD-like homeobox gene has a central role in embryo genome activation.  *equal contribution. Development. 2016 Oct 1; 143(19):3459-3469.
  • Chen G, Schell JP, Benitez JA*, Petropoulos S*, Reinius B, Yilmaz M, Alekseenko Z, Shi L, Hedlund E, Lanner F, Sandberg R, Deng Q.  Single-cell analyses of X-chromosome inactivation dynamics and pluripotency gene program during differentiation.   *equal contribution. Genome Research. 2016 Oct; 26(10):1342-1354.
  • Madissoon E, Jouhilahti EM, Vesterlund L, Töhönen V, Krjutškov K, Petropoulos S, Einarsdottir E, Linnarsson S, Lanner F, Månsson R, Hovatta O, Bürglin TR, Katayama S, Kere J. PRD-like homeodomain transcription factors regulate genes involved in human preimplantation development.  Scientific Reports.  2016 July 14; 6:28995.  
  • Cheishvili D, Maayan C, Holzer N, Tsenter J, Lax E, Petropoulos S, Razin H. Tocotrienol Treatment in Familial Dyautonomia: Open-Label Pilot Study. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience.  2016 Jul;59(3):382-91.
  • Petropoulos S*, Edsgärd D*, Reinus B*, Deng Q, Panula S, Codeluppi S, Plaza Reyes A, Linnarsson S, Sandberg R‡, Lanner F‡. Single-Cell RNA-seq Reveal Lineage Segregation and X-chromosome Inactivation in Human Preimplantation Embryos. *,‡equal contribution. Cell. 2016 May 5; 165(4):1012-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.03.023. [Epub 2016 April 7]
  • Petropoulos S, Panula S, Schell JP, Lanner F.  Single-Cell RNA Sequencing: Revealing human preimplantation development, pluripotency and germ cell development.  Journal of Internal Medicine.  Epub ahead of print.  April 2016. (Invited Review Article).
  • Zhang H*, Panula S*, Petropoulos S, Edsgärd D, Busayavalasa K, Liu L, Li X, Risal S, Shen Y, Shao J, Liu M, Li S, Zhang D, Zhang X, Gerner RR, Sheikhi M, Damdimopoulou P, Sandberg S, Douagi I, Gustafsson JA, Liu L, Lanner F, Hovatta O, § and Liu K§. No DDX4-expressing functional oogonial stem cells in adult human and mouse ovaries. * §equal contribution. Nature Medicine. 2015 Oct;21(10):1116-8. 
  • Petropoulos S, Guillemin C, Ergaz Z, Dimov S, Suderman M, Pudim L, Ornoy A, Szyf M.  Gestational Diabetes Alters Offspring DNA Methylation Profiles in Human and Rat: Identification of Key Pathways involved in Endocrine System Disorders, Insulin Signaling, Diabetes Signaling and IL-K Signaling.  Endocrinology.  2015 June; 156(6):2222-38.

Research description

Embryo, Development, Epigenome, Single-Cell OMICs, Artificial Reproduction, Fetal Programming

The Petropoulos lab aims to:

1) Investigate how the early ex vivo environment, as occuring during Artificial Reproduction, impacts the developmental trajectory of the embryo and placenta- potentially programming the developing fetus for disease and disorder later in life.  

2) Investigate signaling occuring between the polar side of the human embryo and endometrium to shed light on underlying mechanisms of implantation.  We hope to ultimately establish predictive biomarkers associated with successful implantation.



Academic honours, awards and prizes

Selected accolades

Nominated member of AcademiaNet by the Swedish Research Council- Expert Database of Outstanding Female Academics in Europe (2017) Emil and Wera Cornells Foundation (2017-2018) Swedish Society for Medical Research (2017-2020) Swedish Research Council, Medicine and Health Starting Grant (2017-2020)  Karolinska Institute Forskningsstiftelser  (2017-2019) Karolinska Institute Forskningsstiftelser  (2016-2018) Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI) Early Career Grant (2016-2017) Karolinska Institute Forskningsstiftelser  (2014-2016) Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) International Society- Top 10 Poster Presentation (2013) Mats Sundin Fellow in Human Development (2014-2016) 59th Annual Society of Gynecologic Investigation poster presentation- Top (2%) presentation (2014)  Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2014) Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award (2008-2009) University of Toronto Open Fellowship (2008-2009) Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Research Award (2007-2010) GENESIS Advancing Women’s Health  (2008) Endocrine Trainee Day Award (2008) Endocrine Scholars Award (2008) Frontier’s in Physiology- Top Oral Presentation (2008) Teaching Assistantship Award  (2008) GENESIS Advancing Women’s Health (2006-2007) University of Toronto Open Fellowship (2007) Frontier’s in Physiology-Oral Presentation Winner (2007) Canadian Institutes of Health Research CGS Masters Award (2005-2006) University of Toronto Open Fellowship (2006) University of Toronto Open Fellowship (2004)