Portrait of Dr Tarja Kinnunen Dr Tarja Kinnunen

View research degree topics that Dr Tarja Kinnunen might supervise

t.kinnunen@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472008


I did my PhD at the Institute of Biotechnology and University of Helsinki, Finland, combining developmental neurobiology and glycobiology to study mechanisms of syndecan-3 mediated neurite outgrowth using mammalian models. As an EMBO Long-Term Fellow and subsequently as a Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellow at the University of Birmingham, I translated my cell biology and biochemistry background into the use of the nematode C. elegans as a genetic model organism. As an MRC New Investigator at the University of Liverpool, my research interest into glycosylated membrane proteins expanded from heparan sulphate proteoglycans to fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and Klotho signalling in development and metabolic physiology. In December 2012 I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield.

Research and Scholarship

Glycosylation as a regulator of development, metabolic physiology and disease

The research in my lab is aimed at understanding normal development, metabolic physiology and aging-related diseases at molecular, cellular and physiological level. My lab is particularly interested on how glycosylation of membrane proteins regulates cell signalling in 1) neural development and regeneration and 2) metabolic physiology related to obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and aging-related disorders. To this end we apply molecular and developmental genetic approaches in the nematode C. elegans in vivo and C. elegans models for human diseases (such as neuroendocrine disorders, osteo- and chondrodysplasia syndromes, metabolic disorders).

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Xu, C., Messina, A., Somm, E., Miraoui, H., Kinnunen, T., Acierno, J., Niederl�nder, N., Bouilly, J., Dwyer, A., Sidis, Y., Cassatella, D., Sykiotis, G., Quinton, R., De Geyter, C., Dirlewanger, M., Schwitzgebel, V., Cole, T., Toogood, A., Kirk, J., Plummer, L., Albrecht, U., Crowley, W., Mohammadi, M., Tena?Sempere, M., Prevot, V. and Pitteloud, N. (2017) ‘KLB , encoding ??Klotho, is mutated in patients with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadismEMBO Molecular Medicine , 9 (8), pp. 987-1178. ISSN 1757-4684


Nunes, Q., Li, Y., Sun, C., Kinnunen, T. and Fernig, D. (2016) ‘Fibroblast growth factors as tissue repair and regeneration therapeuticsPeerJ , 4, p. e1535. ISSN 2167-8359


Kinnunen, T (2014) ‘Combinatorial Roles of Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans and Heparan Sulfates in Caenorhabditis elegans Neural DevelopmentPLoS ONE , 9 (7), p. e102919. ISSN 1932-6203


Polanska, U., Edwards, E., Fernig, D. and Kinnunen, T. (2011) ‘The Cooperation of FGF Receptor and Klotho Is Involved in Excretory Canal Development and Regulation of Metabolic Homeostasis in Caenorhabditis elegansJournal of Biological Chemistry , 286 (7), pp. 5657-5666. ISSN 0021-9258


Polanska, U., Duchesne, L., Harries, J., Fernig, D. and Kinnunen, T. (2009) ‘N-Glycosylation Regulates Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor/EGL-15 Activity in Caenorhabditis elegans in VivoJournal of Biological Chemistry , 284 (48), pp. 33030-33039. ISSN 0021-9258

Polanska, U., Fernig, D. and Kinnunen, T. (2009) ‘Extracellular interactome of the FGF receptor-ligand system: Complexities and the relative simplicity of the wormDevelopmental Dynamics , 238 (2), pp. 277-293. ISSN 10588388

Research Degree Supervision

I am currently supervising one PhD student, David Buj, in a project assessing the role of FGF and Klotho for glucose and lipid metabolism in obesity and diabetes using C. elegans as an in vivo model.

Lab alumni: Dr Urszula Polanska

Self-funded candidates who are interested in studying under my supervision may e-mail enquiries to T.Kinnunen@hud.ac.uk

Postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Tarja Kinnunen



Teaching and Professional Activities

I am a module leader in SHB4013 Advanced Practical Skills. I also teach at postgraduate level in SMA0008 Biochemical Methods and at undergraduate level in SHB4003 Applied Molecular Genetics, SHB4001 Projects, SHB4014 Term 2 Projects, SIB2001 Case Study, SFB1010 Research Skills and SFB1008 World of Microbes.