Condolences for Leena Peltonen-Palotie

Leena Peltonen-Palotie This condolence for Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie,
Academician of Science,
will be published on the FIMM web site

i pay my special solutation to the greatness of Prof,Leena P-P and may God bless her soul in peace.
from ibrahim
Sweden Örebro University(M.Sc Molecular Medical Biology)

I Would like to express my deepest sympathy in the passing of Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie. Her courage and positive attitude to science and life as such hopefully helps us all to continue without her. I learned to know her in Ministry of Education during the process of planning Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland. Her efforts to establish FIMM was crucial. We will always remember her valuable research in human genetics and contribution to science.

Tuula Haatainen
Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki
Minister of Education and Science (2003-05)

An honour to have met you,you will always be remebered.
Our condolence to Aarno and family.
Rathi and ELilan

It is terribly sad to have lost Leena.

She was much too young, too nice, and too important for science, to die. I will miss her forceful and generous support, and the collaborations we were about to move to a new level. A few years ago we played with plans for a project which we jokingly called Margareta. We would join Nordic registries, cohorts and biobanks, and make great science out of them. The medieval queen Margareta ruled Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and beyond, and I could easily envisage Leena as the Margareta of genetic epidemiology.

My warm thoughts and condolances go to Arno and the rest of Leena's family.

Camilla Stoltenberg
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Ijust heard with great sadness of Leena's passing. Leena was a very special person a great scientist with huge heart and a dear friend. I will always remember her for her visionary science, boundless energy, generosity, warmth and friendship. Dear Leena rest in peace, I will always remember you
Kathy Cheah, Hong Kong

We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Professor Peltonen-Palotie's family, friends, colleagues and students at this difficult time. We were honored to have Professor Peltonen-Palotie as Vice-Chair and a founding member of the P3G Consortium. Leena was an exceptional human being and a highly respected leader in the scientific community. She will be deeply missed but her contribution to the advancement of science is a heritage that will remain with us for a long time to come.

The P3G Board of Directors,
The P3G staff at the Secretariat,
The P3G members
And the extended P3G family

To Aarno,family, friends, and colleagues,
My condolences to all of you whom have been touched by Leena in your own special way, I am so sorry for your loss. I only got to know her through our shared love of human and medical genetics, but could feel her passion for life and science. She will be missed by all of us, but will live on through her many students and colleagues that she taught, provided guidance and set the example - the term 'role model' seems almost trite. Her legacy will endure. Leena lived life to the fullest and all of our lives were better for it.

Jim Lupski
Houston, Texas, USA

On behalf of the VIB Department of Molecular Biomedical Research (Ghent, Belgium) I am expressing our deepest sympathy with the family and colleagues worldwide of Leena on her unfortunate loss. Her passing away is a great loss for human genetics, and for basic biomedical science in general. Leena was a member of our institutional advisory board and we will miss her wisdom and kindness.

Frans van Roy

I still remember vividly the first day I saw her in Helsinki, her bright eyes, her charming smile. She was an inspiration for me as to many more scientist around the world. I feel extremely lucky that I had a chance to know her. I will deeply miss her. But the motivation and inspiration she had passed to me stays with me.

I send my deepest condolences to Aarno and the rest of the family

Pelin Akan

To find the right words on this occasion is extremely difficult. Leena was a wonderful collaborator for us scientists from The Danish Twin Registry and we all feel so sad to hear about her death. All our warmest thoughts go to Aarno and the children, as well as to Leenas close collaborators.

For me personally, Leena was very special, because she became a role model for me. It was always fantastic to watch her, brilliant, enthusiastic and consequent, and every inch herself. She inspired me to make changes in my life and I am very grateful for this, as well as for the fact that I told her so some years ago.

Leenas death is a great loss to science and most importantly to all those of us who learned to know her.

Kirsten Ohm Kyvik

It was very surprise and sad to hearing of the passing of Dr. Leena Peltonen-Palotie. The last time i was on a conference call with her regarding activities of the 1000 genome project, she was full of energy and brilliant ideas. Her passing is a big loss to Human Genetics and the global effort to use genetics to understand human diseases.

Charles Rotimi

Scientific society lost a great scientist at it peak time....big loss to human genetics..

I was honored to know her, to work with her, to learn a lot from her. And I will miss all this a lot.

My deepest sympathies to Aarno, and a flower, as she was used to draw in many occasions....

Rosanna (Roxy) Asselta

I would like to highlight the great impact of Leena's work in my own discipline of immunology, as an indicator of the great loss to medical science with her passing.

The field of immunological tolerance and autoimmune disease was transformed by the discovery by Leena and her colleagues of the genetic basis of the Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome 1 or APECED and the production of an animal model for the disease, perhaps more than any other single discovery in the last several decades.

The discovery overturned ideas that I and many others held about where and how tolerance to particular organs would be acquired. It forged a bridge between clinical autoimmune disease, experimental studies in mice, and the 50 year old Nobel prize winning theory of Burnet. The impact of Leena's work on this problem alone will continue to grow and reverberate within my field for decades to come.

Like many, I was blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate with Leena and experience first hand a very rare person of tremendous energy, integrity, generosity and clarity of thought.

Professor Christopher Goodnow FAA FRS
John Curtin School of Medical Research
Australian National University

On behalf on Orion Pharma and particularly its R&D Department, I would like to express my condolescenses to Aarno and the family. I got to know Aarno and Leena already 25 years ago and have always been impressed by their enthusiasm and positive attitude. Recently, Leena served on Orion Pharma's Board and chaired its R&D commmittee. She was a wonderful supporter of our R&D efforts and gave us invaluable support and help during her tenure. She is sorely missed by so many - including us at Orion.

Professor Reijo Salonen
Senior Vice President, R&D and Chief Medical Officer
Orion Corporation, Orion Pharma

On behalf of all the members of the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) and the Medical Sciences Unit of the European Science Foundation, we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Professor Peltonen-Palotie's family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time. We were honoured to have Professor Peltonen-Palotie as Chair of EMRC from November 1996 to April 1998 and she will be sadly missed.

Professor Liselotte Højgaard
Chair of EMRC

Dr Stephane Berghmans
Head of Medical Sciences Unit

Professor Marja Makarow
Chief Executive
European Science Foundation
Strasbourg, France

Many warm memories of Leena from the past 30 years will stay with me. In the 80ies she was the best example of an enthusiastic and determined young scientist. In the 90ies she was my efficient boss. In the 20ies she was a good collaborator and skillful research coordinator. Leena has played a central role for shaping my professional career, for which I will always be grateful to her. I have been privileged to have Leena and Aarno both as colleagues and friends, for which I’m even more grateful. Aarno is often in my thoughts in this sad time.
My research group in Uppsala will remember and miss the enthusiasm from Leena that we have encountered on many occasions.
Chrisse Syvänen

Anna and I mourn the loss of a dear friend, an inspiring colleague and so much more....

We came to know Leena and Aarno well, both socially and professionally in recent years, and will always keep the fondest memories of the trip to "their" island, to the kindness Leena showed when they came to our wedding (bringing Moomin pillows from Finland) and the fun of Jussi's thesis defense.

It's those wonderful memories that are with me as I write this, but there is so much more than that to remember, to cherish and to try to emulate in the courage, kindness and energy that were Leena's hallmarks.

A sad week indeed for all of us.

Our thoughts and condolescences go to Aarno and the rest of the family.

Mark McCarthy
Anna Gloyn
University of Oxford

On behalf of ScanBalt and it Academy and also as a friend I will express my sorrow to have lost such a wonderful person. I have known her for many years and worked together with her in science policy and international collaboration. She was always so positive, helpsome, and showed so deep interest in basic science and its use for mankind.

Professor Kaare R. Norum
University of Oslo
President of ScanBalt Academy

The Sanger Institute has lost a dedicated scientist in Dr. Leena Peltonen -Palotie. I wish to express my condolences for her family and friends.
Qasim Ayub

I wish to express my condolences for Dr. Leena Peltonen -Palotie on behalf of myself and the Department of Medical Biology Hacettepe School of Medicine. We were honored by her visit to our University for a stimulating lecture and will carry her fond memory with us. I send my sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues,

Prof.Dr. Meral Özgüç
Department of Medical Biology
Division of Basic Medical Sciences
Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Ankara Turkey

Leena was one of the most dedicated scientists I have met. She not only brought medical research in Finland to the international scene, she also physically acted on this scene out of Finland. Her legacy will live on for many years to come, for what she contributed as a scientist, as an inspiration for other women to enter into science,
and as a person who will be badly missed. Just a few weeks ago I met her in Helsinki at a scientific evaluation, she was very frail but followed the proceedings with unfailing interest as if she would always be with us. At this sad time my thoughts go to Aarno and the children

Lars Terenius
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

Leena Palotie was a kind of scientific hero for me as well. She will be missed.

Pekka Kohonen
VTT Medical Biotechnology, Turku

On behalf of the members of the Catalan Council for Research and Innovation, our most sincere condolences in the passing of the esteemed professor Peltonen-Palotie and our deepest sympathies to her family and relatives.

Prof. Lluís Arola
Catalan Council for
Research and Innovation

On behalf of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland we would like to honour the memory of Academician, Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie, an esteemed Finnish scientist and un encouraging collaborator and express our deepest sympathy to her family, students and close colleagues.

Anu Kaukovirta-Norja
Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey
Hans Söderlund

My condolences and that of the Hereditary Research Lab at Bethlehem university, Palestine. To her family , friends and colleagues,

Prof. Moien kanaan

I am very saddened to hear that Leena is no longer with us, she was such a positive force for the study of genetics and a great originator and energiser.

My deepest sympathies to Aarno and all her family,


Denis Shields (MORGAM study), University College Dublin.

On behalf of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
scientific community and the Laboratory's Scientific Advisory
Committee I would like to express our deepest sympathy in the passing of our esteemed colleague Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie. Her contributions to the Finnish Node of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine were crucial to the establishment of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM). Furthermore, her research in human genetics and the contributions it has made to molecular biology and EMBL are very valuable and will always be remembered.

Iain W. Mattaj
Director General
European Molecular Biology Laboratory

I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie. A great loss for the profession. She will be remembered with high respect and her commitment to science.
I would like to express my most sincere condolences to her family, relatives, close friends and colleagues.

Isik G. Yulug
Professor of Molecular Biology
Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
ESF FFG Program Steering Committee Member

Dear Leena and family members,

It is with great sadness to hear that your unfair fight is over. We from the Netherlands Genomics Initiative will remember you as a great woman, both from a personality, professional and scientific point of view.

As a new director of NGI I have never met you, but our previous director Peter Folstar expressed many times his appreciation for the positive influence you had on NGI's programme and future, for which we are very grateful to you.

Our scincere condolences to all that are very close to you.

On behalf of NGI,

Colja Laane
Director NGI

We have lost a brilliant scientist, leader, and role model. Leena was our hero, always enthusiastic and inspiring. I wish to express my last personal thank you for all support and sympathy. You are deeply missed.

My sincere condolences to Aarno and the family.


Leena was an inspiration to us all. Always enthusiastic and positive - and so full of life. She will be sorely missed.

My sincere condolences to Leenas family

Jorunn Erla Eyfjord

Leenas picture will always be with us, she was a great friend and scientist, a unique person in all aspects always ready to help and support and push science forward. It has been a privilege to have Leena as friend and collaborator but also an invaluable member of LUDC Scientific Advisory Board. The word invaluable has hardly had a more clear meaning than describing Leenas contribution to science, genetics and friendship.
We share Aarnos and the familys feeling of sadness and emptiness.


With deep sadness the CMBN received the message that Leena Peltonen has passed away, on March 11, 2010.

Leena has been an inspiration to scientists worldwide, and highly so to colleagues at the CMBN in Oslo. She will be deeply missed.

Tone Tønjum (Director) and Jon Storm-Mathisen (Co-Director)
on behalf of colleagues at the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience (CMBN), University of Oslo and Rikshospitalet, Oslo (

We were deeply saddened by the message of Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie's death Thursday. This is a great loss to Finish science and to FIMM. We have had the pleasure of interacting with Leena in the establishment of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. At this sad moment our thoughts go to Leena's family, Aarno and their children, as well as to FIMM scientists. Our condolences on your loss.

For Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway, Nordic EMBL Partnership

Kjetil Taskén

There are wise men and women who make you feel small. Then there are those who make you feel confident and happy to try your best, and a little more. One of Leena's specialities was her ability to listen carefully, think fast and make you want to go out and make a difference. Aim for the best. And she was able to make it always sound both simple and the only natural way of working. The echo of her heels may have died but this spirit will live on in the research community touched by her.

My thoughts are with Aarno and family.

- Samuli

we will deeply miss a great scientist and a thoughfull and warm person.

All my thoughts to Arno and the children

Georges Dagher

My warmest wishes and condolences to Leena´s family!

I met Leena firt time somewhere in the 1980s in a course arranged by the Finninsh Academy whwre we learned how a scientist should work with press and publicity. Then I had the privledge to be a member of the Health Council at the Academy when she was chairing it. There was always a radiance of energy, curiosity and optimism around her. We have experienced a great loss.
Marja Jylhä

This is a very sad moment for Population Genetics in Europe and the rest of the world. Leena was our leader and stimulated our research. We will keep her memory.

Our thoughts are with Aarno and the children.

Erich Wichmann and the KORA team
Munich, Germany

I was shocked to learn that Leena Peltonen has passed away at a far too young age. Through her great knowledge, scientific rigor, commitment and inspiring personality, she was a role model for a scientist. I had the pleasure to interact with Lena in several types of committees, and more recently in the ERC Council. She was always a very positive force in our meetings, with wise and thoughtful comments, and constructive ideas. I have many fond memories of Leena, and will miss her very much.

Calle Heldin

Most of my happy memories of Leena stem from our early days in science.
However, she has always been in my mind as a role model for Nordic geneticists and so she will remain.

Lars Bolund

I want to express my very deepest condolences to Aarno and the rest of Leena's family. I was very sad to hear that she past away. She will indeed be missed by many many scientists and female friends in the scientific community. Leena was indeed a role model for so many of us in so many ways. She was instrumental for many carriers, include my own in the very early days of recombinant DNA when she founded and headed the DNA recombinant laboratory in the mid 80-ties. We had a lot of fun these days! and every time we met since we said: "next time we will take time off and relax and memorize", but the "next time" never came......
I will miss a friend, a colleague and motivator, and cherish her memory.
Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale

I am deeply sorry for Aarno and the family, and I wish them consolation and strenght.

I am extremely grateful for the guidance and support I received during the years working in Leena's group. It is hard to imagine a more inspiring place to do science. Leena was an excellent role model in many ways. As a scientist she was the best there is. As a boss she was demanding but fair. On a personal level, it was heartwarming to see the love she and Aarno shared. It is still hard to grasp that the echo of her high heels has ceased. I will cherish Leena's memory forever.

With overwhelming sadness,

I had the chance to meet Leena at review boards and to hear her talks on several meetings. She was indeed an excellent scientist and an important role model for young scientists and particularly for female young scientists.
I share the mourning with the scientififc community in which Leena was a highly respected person.
Ulrike Beisiegel
Professor of Biochemistry, Hamburg, Germany

The science, family and friends have lost a very unique person. Leena was a brilliant, highly intelligent, outstanding scientist, and also she was an adorable, inspiring, and charming woman, and surely the mother. She had the great ability to translate all these very unique virtues of herself to everyone she communicated. This was an illuminating talent and an invaluable share.
All the thoughts and prays with you and your family now and forever, Leena!

Valeriya Lyssenko

It is very sad that we have lost Leena, a fantastic scientist and a wonderful friend. I will always remember Leena for her unending enthusiasm and positive attitude to science and her colleagues.

My memories of Leena are many and warm.

Leif Andersson

As President of HUGO from 2005-2007, Leena Peltonen-Palotie gave us leadership, vision, and constant encouragement. To the very last, Leena participated in HUGO's functions and conference calls, braving personal discomfort. Her dedication to her science and to the people who were her colleagues will be remembered formany generations.

We mourn her loss, we give praise to her contributions, and we celebrate her memory.

Edison T. Liu,
President, Human Genome Organization

Leena will be missed tremendously. It is hard to imagine anyone who grasped the genetics of human diseases with such vigor, enthusiasm and skills. We owe a lot to her drive and desires to bring knowledge and order to areas of significant complexity. On a personal note her red dresses and Leena being a role model for young women scientist as well as the Cognac prior to her examinations of our PhD candidates will be greatly missed! At this moment we're just thinking about Aarno and the family.
Affectionately yours,

Her energy was communicating, her enthusiasm, leadership and talent remain an example for women in science. Many memories of projects, meetings, laughs and discussions around the world, are coming back and accompany the thoughts I wish to convey to her family.

Her smile will stay over time,


I wish to express my most sincere condolences to the family of Leena, in particular Arno, his husband and their children. Leena is a great example of what a woman in science can achieve. Her intelligence, enthusiasm for her work and the incredible way in which she directed projects and people towards excellent research was simply fascinating to watch and learn from.

Science has lost one of its truly Grand Dames; elegant, witty, charming, clever, generous and kind. She was a true raw model and a true inspiration on so many levels to so many people. Beyond all this to me Leena was a friend.

My heart goes out to her family in these difficult times, Aarno and the children.


From Leenas Danish collaborators over the years a last thank you for the great spirit you always showed, and for inspiring discussions and effective consoritum amangement. We will miss you much both scientifically and personally. Torben.

It is an extremely sad to hear that Academician of Science, Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie has died. While Leena Peltonen-Palotie's death is also a deep loss to us at FIMM, the University of Helsinki and THL, the same loss is felt all across the scientific community in Finland and internationally. Leena was a global leader of human genetics research and her work greatly contributed to the fact that Finland is known for high-quality research on disease genes and genetic epidemiology. This strong research base was a major driver behind the decision to launch FIMM.

We all owe a great deal of gratitude to Leena for the work that she did for us at FIMM and at the THL. We will remember the numerous interactions with her over the years. These have left a long-lasting profound impact on all of us. Even though it will be impossible for any single person to replace her, we should all work together to try to make sure that all the numerous activities that Leena started will continue and be taken care of in the future. This was the message that Leena herself wanted me to convey to her group and collaborators when I was visiting her for the very last time less than a week ago.

Finally, our thoughts are now with the family, Aarno, Laura and Kristian.

Olli Kallioniemi
Director of FIMM