Faculty Profile

Dr. Satu Maarit Kuokkanen, M.D., Ph.D.

Satu Maarit Kuokkanen, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health (Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility)

Areas of Research: Dr. Kuokkanen’s primary research interest is endometrial cell proliferation and differentiation in response to sex steroids. Specifically, she studies the role of microRNAs in regulating endometrial functions.

Professional Interests

Dr. Kuokkanen’s primary research interest is women’s health with a focus on endometrial functions in response to female sex steroids.  Despite the long-known fact that estrogen stimulates and progesterone suppresses endometrial cell proliferation and induces differentiation, our current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms mediating the sex-steroidal effects on the human and mouse endometrium remain unknown.  Additionally, the molecular pathways essential for endometrial receptivity for embryo implantation remain largely to be discovered.  Specifically, Dr. Kuokkanen studies the role of microRNAs in regulating endometrial gene and protein expression.  Additionally, Dr. Kuokkanen investigates the impact of a recently discovered group of pharmaceutical agents, selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRM) on endometrial cell proliferation and differentiation. This valuable investigation will help to elucidate novel functional networks in endometrial physiology and ultimately lead to increased understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in endometrial pathology.


Selected Publications

1)   Kudesia R and Kuokkanen S. Thin endometrium after radiation therapy as an unresolved treatment challenge: a case report. Gynecological Endocrinology, in press.

2)   Kuokkanen S, Polotsky AJ, Chosich J, Bradford AP, Jasinska A, Phang T, Santoro N, Appt SE. Corpus luteum as a novel target of weight changes that contributes to impaired female reproductive physiology and function. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, in press.   

3)   Bradford AP, Jones K, Kechris K, Chosich J, Montague M, Warren W, May MC, Al-Safi Z, Kuokkanen S, Appt SE, Polosky AJ. Joint miRNA/mRNA Expression Profiling Reveals Changes Consistent with Development of Dysfunctional Corpus Luteum after Weight Gain. PlosOne (2015) 10;10(8)e0135163.   

4)   Wang Y, Zhu L, Kuokkanen S, Pollard JW. Activation of Protein Synthesis in Mouse Uterine Epithelial Cells by Estradiol-17β Is Mediated by a PKC-ERK1/2-mTOR Signaling Pathway. PNAS (2015) 17;112(11) E1382-91.

5)   Liu Z, Kuokkanen S, Pal L.  Steroid Hormone Receptor Profile of Premenopausal Endometrial Polyps.  Reproductive Sciences (2010) 17(4):377-383.

6)   Kuokkanen S, Chen B, Benard L, Santoro N, Pollard J.W. Genomic Profiling of microRNAs and mRNAs Reveals Hormonal Regulation in microRNA expression in Human Endometrium. Biology of Reproduction (2010) 82(4):791-801.

7)   Guffanti E, Kittur N, Brodt ZN, Polotsky AJ, KuokkanenSM, Heller DS, YoungSL, SantoroN, Meier UT. Nuclear pore complex proteins mark the implantation window in human endometrium. Journal of Cell Sciences (2008) 121(12): 2037-45. 

8)   Pihlaja H, Rantamaki T, Wikstrom J, Sumelahti ML, Laaksonen M, Ilonen J, Ruutiainen J, Pirttila T, Elovaara I, Reunanen M, Kuokkanen S, Peltonen L, Koivisto K, Tienari PJ. Linkage disequilibrium between the MBP tetranucleotide repeat and multiple sclerosis is restricted to a geographically defined subpopulation in Finland. Genes Immunology (2003) 4(2):138-46. 

9)   Nejentsev S, Laaksonen M, Tienari PJ, Fernandez O, Cordell H, Ruutiainen J, Wikstrom J, Pastinen T, Kuokkanen S, Hillert J, Ilonen J. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 K469E polymorphisim: study of association with multiple sclerosis. Human Immunology (2003) 64(3):345-9.

10) Saarela J, Schoenberg Fejzo M, Chen D, Finnila S, Parkkonen M, Kuokkanen S, Sobel E, Tienari PJ, Sumelahti ML, Wikstrom J, Elovaara I, Koivisto K, Pirttila T, Reunanen M, Palotie A, Peltonen L. Fine mapping of a multiple sclerosis locus to 2.5 Mb on chromosome 17q22-q24. Human Molecular Genetics (2002) 11(19):2257-67.

11) Reunanen K, Finnila S, Laaksonen M, Sumelahti ML, Wikstrom J, Pastinen T, Kuokkanen S, Saarela J, Uimari P, Ruutiainen J, Ilonen J, Peltonen L, Tienari PJ. Chromosome 19q13 and multiple sclerosis susceptibility in Finland: a linkage and two-stage association study. Journal of Neuroimmunology (2002) 126(1-2):134-42.

12) Laaksonen M, Pastinen T, Sjooroos M, Kuokkanen S, Ruutiainen J, Sumelahti ML, Reijonen H, Salonen R, Wikstrom J, Panelius M, Partanen J, Tienari PJ, Ilonen J. HLA class II associated risk and protection against multiple sclerosis – a Finnish family study. Journal of Neuroimmunology (2002) 122(1-2):140-5.

13) Tienari PJ, Kuokkanen S, Pastinen T, Wikstrom J, Sajantila A, Sandberg-Wollheim M, Palo J, Peltonen L. Golli-MBP gene in multiple sclerosis susceptibility. Journal of Neuroimmunology (1998) 81(1-2):158-67.

14) Kuokkanen S, Gschwend M, Rioux JD, Daly MJ, Terwilliger JD, Tienari PJ, Wikstrom J, Palo J, Stein LD, Hudson TJ, Lander ES, Peltonen L. Genome-wide scan of multiple sclerosis in Finnish multiplex Families. American Journal of Human Genetics (1997) 61(6):1379-87.

15) Wansen K, Pastinen T, Kuokkanen S, Wikstrom J, Palo J, Peltonen L, Tienari PJ. Immune system genes in multiple sclerosis: genetic association and linkage study on TCR beta, IGH, IFN-gamma and IL-1ra/IL-1 beta loci. Journal of Neuroimmunology (1997) 79(1):29-36.

16) Kuokkanen S, Sundvall M, Terwilliger JD, Tienari PJ, Wikstrom J, Holmdahl R, Pettersson U, Peltonen L. A putative vulnerability locus to multiple sclerosis maps to 5p14-p12 in a region syntenic to the murine locus Eae2. Nature Genetics (1996) 13(4):477-80.


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