Svetlana Molchanova

Docent in Neurosciences, group leader, Neural network development group

  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)




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Information om forskning och undervisning

The complexity of the neuronal connections is formed during development under the guidance of both genetic and environmental factors. The interplay between genetic blueprint and neuronal activity results in formation of synaptic connections pattern, unique for each individual. Genetic or environmental alterations in this process may push developing network towards pathological attractor state, leading to progression of a neurodevelopmental disorder. This hypothesis may explain similar phenotypic manifestations of various genetic mutations in case of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability etc.

In our work, we aim to reveal the developmental correlates of altered brain function in psychiatric disorders with motor behavior and attention deficiency. Many neurodevelopmental disorders, i.e. autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, are accompanied by pathologies in motor behavior, including uncoordinated movements and repetitive actions. The main brain structure responsible for the motor learning and habit formation is striatum. We study the formation of synaptic connections in striatum during early postnatal ontogenesis in healthy organism and in animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders. In our experiments, we use a number of transgenic mouse lines for both ablation of the genes of interest and expression of reporter proteins in specified neuronal populations. Our methods include in vitro electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry and behavioral tests.


I am a neuroscientist, specializing in cellular electrophysiology. My research expertise is synaptic transmission in the brain, its development and plasticity.


–           October 2020 Title of Docent, Faculty of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

–           December 2006 Ph.D. in Physiology, Tampere University School of Medicine, Finland.

–           December 1999 M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, St.-Petersburg State University, Russia.

Current employment

–           September 2019 - present group leader, Academy of Finland principal investigator, Neural network development group, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Molecular and Integrative Biosciences Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Previous work experience

–           February 2018 – August 2019 post-doctoral researcher, Medical Neurogenetics group (Dr. Henna Tyynismaa), Molecular Neurology, RPU, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

–           July 2017 – January 2018 researcher, Synaptic Plasticity and Neuronal Synchronization (Prof. Tomi Taira), Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland.
External collaborations:                            
Pluripotency and disease modeling group (Prof. Timo Otonkoski), RPU, Molecular Neurology, University of Helsinki, Finland.   
Neuronal Signaling group (Prof. Dan Lindholm), Dpt. Of Biochemistry and Developmental Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

–           July 2016 – June 2017 Sigrid Juselius Foundation visiting researcher, Laboratory of synaptic development and plasticity, Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland.

–           March 2013 – June 2016 post-doctoral researcher, Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Neurophysiology, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Hasselt, Belgium.

–           September 2006 – February 2013 Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher, Laboratory of synaptic development and plasticity, Neuroscience Center and Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

–           June 2002 – August 2006 Ph.D. student, Department of Physiology, Tampere University Medical School, Tampere Finland

–           November 1997 – May 2002 Junior scientist, laboratory of neurochemistry, I.M. Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry, St.-Petersburg, Russia

Career Break: maternity leave 08.2009-11.2010, 80 % position from 12.2010 to 06.2011


  • 3112 Neurovetenskaper

Internationellt och inhemskt samarbete

Publikationer och projekt inom de senaste fem åren.