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Katja Anttila

Associate Professor (Tenure Track)

Group Leader

University of Turku, Department of Biology

PhD - University of Oulu 2009

MSc - University of Oulu 2004

contact: katant"at"

Anna Papadopoulou

Postdoctoral student

As member of the Anttila’s lab, Anna is interested in studying the beneficial effects of functional foods on the cardiovascular and immune system of rainbow trout, the most farmed species in the Baltic region, under climate change conditions. Additionally, she wants to test a combination of nutritional supplement with a selective exercise-training program on rainbow trout fry experimentally infected with pathogens. For this research program, the lab team works closely with partners as a Finnish Fish Feed Company, Fisheries Research and Aquaculture Institute, and Åbo Akademi University.

contact: annpap"at"

Giovanna Mottola

Visiting Post-Doc

Giovanna comes from Italy where she graduated in Ecotoxicology at the University of Siena. Her research is focused on phenotypic plasticity at physiological and biochemical level in fish. Specifically, she investigates how thermal stress and presence of trace metals affect the thermal tolerance of three-spined sticklebacks and how this response can be transferred to next generations. She also studies cardiocirculatory capacity and heat-shock proteins expression pattern on migrating fish.

contact: giomot“at”

Luca Pettinau

PhD Researcher

Luca is passionate in the ecophysiology and behavior of fish.

His doctoral project is focus on studying the effects of swimming exercise training program on salmonids heart function to help them face an unstable environment (i.e heat waves and hypoxia conditions) and in this way increase aquaculture production.

email: lupet(at)

Tytti Uurasmaa

PhD researcher

Co advised by Ilkka Heinonen & Anu Autio

Tytti did her Master's degree programme in University of Turku in animal physiology and genetics. She is currently working on her PhD thesis that is about the effects of exercise on heart function and tumor growth in mice with breast cancer. More specifically she is interested in the underlying alterations in heart and tumor metabolism, vasculature, blood flow and the possible related changes in oxidative stress. One of the main aims of her thesis is to investigate whether exercise can prevent the possible negative effects of breast cancer or chemotherapy on heart function, and wheher exercise can also enhance the effect of chemotherapy on tumor growth.

email: tmeuur(at)

Johanna Yliportimo

PhD Researcher

Principal supervisor Kai Lindström

Johanna is working on an eco-evolutionary doctoral thesis at Environmental and Marine Biology, Åbo Akademi University, where her principal supervisor is Professor Kai Lindström. Her research focuses on spatial variation in mating success and sexual selection, using sand goby as a model species. She is especially interested in how the structural habitat and resource distribution influences female reproduction from molecular to population level. In our lab, Johanna is analyzing carotenoid concentrations in egg and gonad samples.

Nina Cossin-Sevrin

PhD researcher

Principal supervisor Suvi Ruuskanen

Nina graduated her MSc degree in the University of Strasbourg (France) in Ecophysiology, Ecology and Ethology. The purposes of her PhD research project are to establish the sources of variation observed in mitochondrial traits between individuals, but also to investigate how this variation could affect growth and survival in avian species. For answering these questions, she studies 2 distinct wild species with their own ecology and environment: Great tit and King penguin. Nina tests different factors, such as the non-genetic inheritance (e.g., maternal effects), the relative contribution of genetic vs. environmental factors in the variation of mitochondrial function, the environmental differences experienced by the offspring among the breeding season (e.g., brood size, early vs. late chicks) and the conditions experienced by the parents during the breeding season (e.g., parental effort, fasting in king penguins).

Pauline Bourdin

Project researcher

After doing a Master in marine fisheries and ecology in France, I was especially interested on how global warming can impact ecosystem. I am studying this subject through the study of different species of invertebrates coming from different parts of the world e.g. California coast and Svalbard archipelago. The aim of those projects is to get, through the measurement of the energy metabolism, energy content and oxidative stress of the individual, an overview of how their environment can affect their physiology.

Ludovic Toisoul

PhD researcher

Principal Supervisor Amélie Crespel

Ludovic comes from Belgium and did his MSc in Marine Biology at the University Côte d'Azur (Nice, France).  He is currently working on his PhD about the impact of hypoxia on freshwater fish. The goal of his research project is to decipher the plastic and evolutionary responses of the three-spined stickleback facing intermittent freshwater hypoxia under different time scales. He will investigate the responses at the individual level by looking at a different set of parameters (e.g, swimming performance, metabolic rate, hypoxia tolerance, behavior) as well as the impact of developmental plasticity on later phenotype through early exposure experiment. The transgenerational effect and inheritance of phenotype  will be investigated using a multigenerational experiment. Finally, phenotypic evolution will be studied by comparing genomes of two wild populations exposed naturally to two different hypoxia levels. Ludovic hopes that his research could help understand the upcoming challenge faced by aquatic organisms through climate change.

Thuy Le

PhD researcher

Thuy did her MSc in National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan in Prof. Tsung-Han Lee's laboratory about how fasting affects fish endocrine status. In the PhD project she will study how exercise training affects the cardiovascular function of fish and the capacity of fish to respond environmental stressors. Studies are from molecular & histological level all the way measuring the cardiac performance of the fish using heart rate loggers and analysing whole animal performance.

Shiva Latifi

MSc student

I'm a master student in Åbo Academi University in Biomedical imaging program. I am interested in cancer and histology. Especially about how breast cancer, chemotherapy and exercise influence the cardiac histology of mice.

Aliisa Wahlsten

MSc student

Aliisa is doing her Master thesis about how the environment in fishes rearing tanks affect the physiology of fishes. She is interested especially about fishes stress-levels and histology of the heart and the muscles. Aliisa is doing her Master’s degree programme in the University of Turku in animal physiology and genetics. She is interested in ecophysiology, biodiversity and environmental changes and effects.

Amélie Crespel

Senior Researcher

Tomi Streng

Adjunct Professor of Animal Physiology, Senior Researcher

My main interest fields are related to investigating cardiovascular functions, i.e. the role of alpha 2-adrenoceptors and hypoxia. The in vitro methods to test cardiac and vascular functions include the Langendorff perfused heart preparation and the Radnoti working heart model. In addition, I am interested in pharmacokinetics of alpha 2-adrenoceptor-related drugs, also receptor subtype-selective ones, including urodynamical studies in animal models.

contact: tostren (at)

Jenni Prokkola

Post-Doc, Visiting Researcher

Jenni is visiting the Anttila lab as part of her postdoctoral research conducted at the University of Liverpool. She studies the flexibility of oxygen supply system in fish: specifically, how zebrafish cope without myoglobin, which is a central oxygen binding protein and enzyme, and expressed widely across fish tissues. Jenni combines a molecular approach to physiological and whole organism functions, such as the swimming performance of fish.

See more on her website.

Elli Keituri

MSc student

Elli is interested about how environmental stressors and their combination are influencing the physiology of fish. She has special interest on transgenerational effects of environmental stressors. Her thesis is about how parental co-exposure to copper and heat wave influence the offspring thermal tolerance and heat shock protein responses in zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Alexander Pape

Erasmus Researcher

Alex is currently working in our group as Erasmus researcher from Germany. His project is about developmental plasticity of zebrafish. He is interested about the influence of environmental stressors and their combination (copper and heat wave) on developmental disorders but also physiology of fish including thermal tolerance and cardiac function.

Joni Eklund

MSc student

Joni is doing a Master thesis about how crude oil exposure and environmental warming are influencing the metabolic rate of D. magna. He is especially interested about transgerational effects of these stressors and whether or not they have interacting effects on D. magna.

Ulla Saarinen

MSc student

Ulla is currently working on her Master thesis on how heatwaves can affect the critical heat tolerance and swimming capacity of trout (Salmo trutta). The thesis also includes comparison between the offspring of different family lines, where the parents of the trout under study have been exposed to different swimming excercises.

She is interested in climate change and unstable weather conditions, ecophysiology and aquaculture.


PhD students

MSc students

Associated Senior Researchers

Previous Lab Members

Milla Alkio

MSc and MD student

Milla is interested on how the mammal heart responds in pathological situations to exercise training. Specifically, she is interested in the molecular mechanisms that are behind adaptation and if exercise training can reduce the pathophysiological features of the diabetic heart in Göttingen minipigs.

contact: miemal"at"



Emilie Suominen

MSc student

Emilie is doing Master thesis to Åbo Academi. She has been studing the influence of crude oil on metabolic rate of D. magna in three generations. She is especially interested about how the crude oil influences the individual variation of metabolic rate of animals and how change in variance in parental animals influences the metabolic rate of animals in next generations.

Katri Heikkilä

MSc student


Katri did her Master's thesis about how endurance training affects calcium channels of the right and left ventricle of diabetic swine. Currently she is writing manuscript about her results.