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Päivi Liesi, M.D., Ph.D.


Päivi Liesi, M.D., Ph.D., is the lab leader in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (Physiology) at the University of Helsinki.

Dr. Liesi is one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of neuronal migration, axon growth and nervous tissue regeneration. Her pioneering studies in early 1980’s were the first to demonstrate a role for the extracellular matrix protein laminin in the development and regeneration of the central nervous system. She has systematically continued pursuing this field, resulting in the discovery of the KDI tri-peptide that may be used therapeutically. Her studies on the role of the KDI tri-peptide and gamma1 laminin have always been in the forefront of research and have greatly enhanced understanding of the vital importance of laminin and additional matrix molecules for central nervous system development and repair.


Dr. Liesi has attracted considerable international research funding for these studies, and has a high personal citation index. She has authored or co-authored more than 60 papers, received several awards and honors for her research, and lectured at scientific congresses nationally and internationally. Dr. Liesi is a member of many professional societies, including the American Society for Neuroscience.


Dr. Liesi earned her medical degree and Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Subsequently, she earned a docentship in cell biology also at the University of Helsinki. After earning her Ph.D., Dr. Liesi was awarded a two-year EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) fellowship and she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, U.K. She returned to Finland in 1988 and has been a lab leader since. From 1993 to 1998, she worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a visiting scientist. In 1998, she moved back to Finland and has headed the Brain Laboratory at the University of Helsinki since then.