Heidi Virtanen

Dr. Virtanen received her PhD from the University of Helsinki in 2009, following graduate studies with Prof. Mart Saarma in the Institute of Biotechnology’s Director’s lab (part of Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence), studying the structure and function of the GDNF family growth factors and their receptors. In 2009, she moved to Glykos Ltd. to set up and use protein and glycan microarray platforms for research and drug development. Since January 2012, Dr. Virtanen has worked at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) as a research project coordinator. She manages collaborative pharma projects at the High Throughput Biomedicine unit and coordinates the Finnish participation to the EU-OPENSCREEN ESFRI project, the Finnish Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology network (DDCB) and Finnish participation to Nordic Chemical Biology collaborations. She has also been involved in the Digital Health Revolution pilot study, the coordination of the FIMMPOD Postdoctoral and Senior Researcher Program and the GeneRISK study.

Selected publications

Yang J, Lindahl M, Lindholm P, Virtanen H, Coffey E, Runeberg-Roos P, Saarma M (2004). PSPN/GFRalpha4 has a significantly weaker capacity than GDNF/GFRalpha1 to recruit RET to rafts, but promotes neuronal survival and neurite outgrowth. FEBS Lett. 569:267-71.

Virtanen H, Yang J, Bespalov MM, Hiltunen JO, Leppänen VM, Kalkkinen N, Goldman A, Saarma M, Runeberg-Roos P (2005). The first cysteine-rich domain of the receptor GFRalpha1 stabilizes the binding of GDNF. Biochem J. 387:817-24.

Runeberg-Roos P, Virtanen H, Saarma M (2007). RET(MEN 2B) is active in the endoplasmic reticulum before reaching the cell surface. Oncogene. 26:7909-15.

Parkash V, Leppänen VM, Virtanen H, Jurvansuu JM, Bespalov MM, Sidorova YA, Runeberg-Roos P, Saarma M, Goldman A (2008). The structure of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor-coreceptor complex: insights into RET signaling and heparin binding. J Biol Chem. 283:35164-72.

Internal links

External links

+358 50 318 5272

Job title

Doctoral Training Coordinator

Areas of expertise

Project management
Research coordination
Grant writing
Company/academic collaborations
Applying for research permits
Senior researcher and postdoc career development
Protein chemistry
Quality control and standardizing
Chemical biology
Bringing omic information to healthcare systems

Started at FIMM



M.Sc. (biochemistry), University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, 2005
Ph.D. (biochemistry), University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, 2009
Last updated: 12.09.2018 - 11:35