Iiris Hovatta
  • PL 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3)



  • Finland

1994 …2023

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Research: Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders within the EU and cause considerable disability due to high prevalence (14 %), early onset and chronic nature. The major questions in anxiety disorders are which molecular events lead to and maintain pathological anxiety, and how this pathology can be normalized. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to understand the genetic and neurobiological basis of normal and pathological anxiety. Anxiety is an evolutionarily conserved response to a threatening situation and therefore mouse models can be used to study some aspects of anxiety. We are identifying gene regulatory networks, comprising of mRNAs and miRNAs that are dysregulated in various mouse models of anxiety-like behavior. We then investigate the molecular mechanisms that link these networks to the regulation of anxiety-like behavior using genetic and pharmacological tools, combined with behavioral analysis. Importantly, we further study the homologous human genes as candidate genes for human anxiety disorders. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate anxiety are likely to lead to the development of better targeted therapies for anxiety disorders.

Teaching: I am the Chair of Doctoral Program Brain & Mind since 2016. I am involved in teaching genetics, genomics, and behavioral neuroscience. I organize a B.Sc./M.Sc. level course Behavioral Genetics yearly during period 3, a Ph.D. level seminar series Big Questions in Neuroscience and Current Limits of Knowledge, and I co-organize the yearly Finnish Symposium on Biological Psychiatry.

Fields of Science

  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • anxiety disorders, genetic epidemiology, mouse models, gene expression profiling, miRNA, psychosocial stress, accelerated aging
  • 3112 Neurosciences
  • 3124 Neurology and psychiatry

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.