The University of Oulu (OUY) is an international research and innovation university engaged in multidisciplinary basic research and academic education and one of the largest universities in Finland, with an exceptionally wide academic base. OUY was awarded the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) Label in December 2013 as the first research university in Finland. Internationally pioneering research is conducted as a collaboration of different disciplines.


OUY expertise includes large-scale longitudinal birth cohort recollection and lifecourse methods, and a long lasting commitment in the Finnish diabetes prevention program. The Northern Finland Birth Cohorts (NFBC) played a major role in the recent key publications on life-course epidemiology and genetic determinants on chronic metabolic diseases such as obesity, blood pressure, lipids and glycaemic traits (e.g. FP5-EURO-BLCS, FP7-ENGAGE, FP7-EpiMigrant and FP7-EURHEALTHAGING project). Professor Marjo-Riitta Järvelin and collaborators at the OUY lead large-scale based research in the field of early growth genetics with one recent example being the identification of common genetic loci linking the mediation of type 2 diabetes (T2D) through restricted foetal growth.

Our team

Professor Marjo-Riitta Järvelin

DynaHEALTH Project Co-ordinator and Principle Investigator.

Marjo-Riitta is Professor of Public Health at OUY, Centre for Life-Course Health Research, and Biocenter Oulu. She is also the scientific director of the NFBC Program. She has extensive experience of large-scale data collections and analyses of complex, multidimensional data. Professor Järvelin’s current research at the University of Oulu focuses on the discovery and the validation of new genetic and epigenetic instruments to model the life course development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr Sylvain Sebert

DynaHEALTH Project Manager.

Sylvain is a university researcher in Developmental and Life Course Biology and Epidemiology, with previous expertise in investigating the early molecular programming of obesity and insulin resistance. Sylvain’s research aims to analyse the interplay between the biological factors and the social factors in the etiology and impact of type 2 diabetes.

Teija Juola

DynaHEALTH Administrative Manager.

Teija is responsible for the day to day administration of the DynaHEALTH project.

Professor Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi

Sirkka is Professor of Medical General Practice and Head of the Centre for Life-Course Health Research. Her expertise lies in studying the bi-directional association between diabetes and the psychosocial functioning.

Professor Leena Ala-Mursula

Leena is Professor of Occupational Health at OUY and focuses her research in exploring the role of the working life in promoting health and well-being.

Professor Karl-Heinz Herzig

Karl is a Professor of Physiology at Oulu University and Biocenter of Oulu. His research interests are the molecular mechanisms in the regulation of the metabolic syndrome and their determinants in life course studies. 

Professor Jouko Miettunen

Jouko holds a tenure track position as a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Centre for Life-Course Health Research, OUY. He has worked specifically on the psychiatric outcomes in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort studies. His background is in statistics and epidemiology.

Dr Nina Rautio

Nina is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Life-Course Health Research at OUY and her research focuses on working life factors, diabetes and healthy and active ageing.  

Dr Estelle Lowry

Estelle is a postdoctoral researcher with previous experience in promoting healthy lifestyle via modifiable risk factors. She focuses her research on early life development and healthy ageing.

Role in this project

The University of Oulu is the Project Co-ordinator for DynaHEALTH. OUY research as part of the project will focus on the study of the Northern Finland Birth Cohorts (1966 and 1986) and prospective longitudinal cohort following up the ageing process. OUY is contributing to Work Packages 1 and 3.