Olli Raitakari

Academy Professor Olli Raitakari is currently the Director of the Centre for Population Health Research at the Turku University and Turku University Hospital.

He is coordinating two large Finnish studies into cardiovascular risk. The national Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study (http://med.utu.fi/cardio/youngfinnsstudy/) is one the largest and long-standing observational cohort studies in the world, and the only large study in Europe with a follow-up of cardiovascular risk factors from childhood to adulthood. In addition, he is currently the Principal Investigator of the STRIP Study housed at the University of Turku. The STRIP is an ongoing intervention study that started in early 90’s, when >1,000 infants were recruited to an intervention group to receive detailed individualised dietary counselling (http://stripstudy.utu.fi/english.html).

Raitakari has introduced vascular epidemiology, genetic epidemiology and population metabolonomics approaches in these cohorts. His work has allowed the development, modification and validation of the techniques involved in the measurement of subclinical atherosclerotic changes in the vasculature. The techniques have included work on heart and arterial structure/function using a variety of non-invasive imaging methods. The research has contributed to the understanding of pre-clinical development of atherosclerosis in children and young adults, including the effects of diet, life-style, psychological traits, metabolic risk factors, inflammation, hormones and genetic markers. He is currently leading an ERC funded study (Advanced Grant in 2017) to expand the Young Finns Study into a multigenerational cohort with the to examine epigenetic transmission of disease risk.

As a demonstration of the international recognition and impact of this work, many of his studies have been widely cited in all updated pediatric guidelines on cardiovascular prevention both in Europe and in US. He has authored over 900 articles.

Last updated: 9.12.2019