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About me

I’m a biologist with training in biochemistry, food chemistry and cell biology with a keen research interest in the effects of endocrine active environmental substances on human health. My research group is located at CLINTEC (Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology).

I obtained my PhD education in Finland. In my thesis work I studied how dietary lignans (fiber associated polyphenolic compounds) and cadmium (toxic metal) affect estrogen signalling. I carried out my first postdoc in a small start-up company in Paris developing a transgenic fish model for the detection of androgen activity of chemicals. For my second postdoc I moved my focus from chemicals to early development, and spent three years studying development of pre-implantation mouse embryos and maturation of human ovarian follicles at Karolinska Institute.

Since 2014 I’m an independent senior researcher.


2005 MSc in Biochemistry and Food chemistry, University of Turku, Finland

2008 PhD in Cell biology, University of Turku, Finland. Thesis title "Modulation of estrogen signaling by enterolactone and its dietary sources"

2015 Docent in Endocrine physiology, University of Turku, Finland

Research description

I’m interested in the impact of endocrine disruptive chemicals on fertility in women with a special focus on the ovary. My research has four main focus areas:

1) Identification of chemicals and their mixtures that associate to decreased fertility in women living in Sweden

2) Assessment of effects of chemical exposures on ovarian follicles using in vitro cell and follicle culture models as well as patient samples

3) Mapping human foetal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals

4) Unravelling cell populations in human ovaries as a function of age

Teaching portfolio

I’m a docent in endocrine physiology (2015, University of Turku, Finland) with teaching experience from various MSc and PhD courses at Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University (communication courses, basic molecular biology laboratory training courses, regenerative medicine journal club, and lectures on endocrine disruptive chemicals and female fertility).

I have supervised several undergraduate students through their practical laboratory training, as well as M.Sc. thesis projects. I’m currently the main supervisor of two PhD students.



Concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in human embryonic and fetal organs from first, second, and third trimester pregnancies
Mamsen Ls, Björvang Rd, Mucs D, Vinnars Mt, Papadogiannakis N, Lindh Ch, et al
Environment international 2019;124():482-492

Gestational exposure to an epidemiologically defined mixture of phthalates leads to gonadal dysfunction in mouse offspring of both sexes
Repouskou A, Panagiotidou E, Panagopoulou L, Bisting Pl, Tuck Ar, Sjödin Mod, et al
Scientific reports 2019;9(1):6424-

Retinoic acid signaling in ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis
Damdimopoulou P, Chiang C, Flaws Ja
Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.) 2019;87():32-41

PLAG1 expression and target genes in the hypothalamo-pituitary system in male mice
Juma Ar, Hall Ne, Wong J, Gasperoni Jg, Watanabe Y, Sahota A, et al
Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2018;478():77-83

Resveratrol supports and alpha-naphthoflavone disrupts growth of human ovarian follicles in an in vitro tissue culture model
Hao J, Tuck Ar, Sjödin Mod, Lindberg J, Sand A, Niklasson B, et al
Toxicology and applied pharmacology 2018;338():73-82

PLAG1 deficiency impairs spermatogenesis and sperm motility in mice
Juma Ar, Grommen Svh, O'bryan Mk, O'connor Ae, Merriner Dj, Hall Ne, et al
Scientific reports 2017;7(1):5317-

Adult Human and Mouse Ovaries Lack DDX4-Expressing Functional Oogonial Stem Cells EDITORIAL COMMENT
Zhang H, Panula S, Petropoulos S, Edsgard D, Busayavalasa K, Liu L, et al

Emerging role of PLAG1 as a regulator of growth and reproduction
Juma Ar, Damdimopoulou Pe, Grommen Sv, Van De Ven Wj, De Groef B
The Journal of endocrinology 2016;228(2):R45-56

From pure compounds to complex exposure: Effects of dietary cadmium and lignans on estrogen, epidermal growth factor receptor, and mitogen activated protein kinase signaling in vivo
Ali I, Hurmerinta T, Nurmi T, Berglund M, Rüegg J, Poutanen M, et al
Toxicology letters 2016;253():27-35

Human embryonic stem cells
Damdimopoulou P, Rodin S, Stenfelt S, Antonsson L, Tryggvason K, Hovatta O
Best practice & research. Clinical obstetrics & gynaecology 2016;31():2-12

The Hydroxysteroid (17β) Dehydrogenase Family Gene HSD17B12 Is Involved in the Prostaglandin Synthesis Pathway, the Ovarian Function, and Regulation of Fertility
Kemiläinen H, Adam M, Mäki-jouppila J, Damdimopoulou P, Damdimopoulos Ae, Kere J, et al
Endocrinology 2016;157(10):3719-3730

Adult human and mouse ovaries lack DDX4-expressing functional oogonial stem cells
Zhang H, Panula S, Petropoulos S, Edsgärd D, Busayavalasa K, Liu L, et al
Nature medicine 2015;21(10):1116-8

Cadmium at nanomolar concentrations activates Raf-MEK-ERK1/2 MAPKs signaling via EGFR in human cancer cell lines
Ali I, Damdimopoulou P, Stenius U, Halldin K
Chemico-biological interactions 2015;231():44-52

Clonal culturing of human embryonic stem cells on laminin-521/E-cadherin matrix in defined and xeno-free environment
Rodin S, Antonsson L, Niaudet C, Simonson Oe, Salmela E, Hansson Em, et al
Nature communications 2014;5():3195-

Rapid Fluorescent Detection of (Anti)androgens with spiggin-gfp Medaka
Sebillot A, Damdimopoulou P, Ogino Y, Spirhanzlova P, Miyagawa S, Du Pasquier D, et al

Spider silk for xeno-free long-term self-renewal and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells
Wu S, Johansson J, Damdimopoulou P, Shahsavani M, Falk A, Hovatta O, et al
Biomaterials 2014;35(30):8496-502

Seminal vesicles and urinary bladder as sites of aromatization of androgens in men, evidenced by a CYP19A1-driven luciferase reporter mouse and human tissue specimens
Strauss L, Rantakari P, Sjögren K, Salminen A, Lauren E, Kallio J, et al
FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2013;27(4):1342-50

Cadmium-induced effects on cellular signaling pathways in the liver of transgenic estrogen reporter mice
Ali I, Damdimopoulou P, Stenius U, Adamsson A, Mäkelä Si, Åkesson A, et al
Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology 2012;127(1):66-75

A Single Dose of Enterolactone Activates Estrogen Signaling and Regulates Expression of Circadian Clock Genes in Mice
Damdimopoulou P, Nurmi T, Salminen A, Damdimopoulos Ae, Kotka M, Van Der Saag P, et al
JOURNAL OF NUTRITION 2011;141(9):1583-9

Biosensors Paving the Way to Understanding the Interaction between Cadmium and the Estrogen Receptor Alpha
Fechner P, Damdimopoulou P, Gauglitz G
PLOS ONE 2011;6(8):e23048-

Estrogen-like effects of diet-derived cadmium differ from those of orally administered CdCl2 in the ERE-luc estrogen reporter mouse model
Ramachandran B, Makela S, Cravedi Jp, Berglund M, Hakansson H, Damdimopoulou P, et al
TOXICOLOGY LETTERS 2011;202(2):75-84

Reporter Zebrafish: Endocrine Disruption Meets Estrogen Signaling
Damdimopoulou P, Treuter E
ENDOCRINOLOGY 2011;152(7):2542-5

Estrogen-Like Effects of Cadmium in Vivo Do Not Appear to be Mediated via the Classical Estrogen Receptor Transcriptional Pathway
Ali I, Penttinen-damdimopoulou Pe, Makela Si, Berglund M, Stenius U, Akesson A, et al

Novel Hydroxysteroid (17 beta) Dehydrogenase 1 Inhibitors Reverse Estrogen-Induced Endometrial Hyperplasia in Transgenic Mice
Saloniemi T, Jarvensivu P, Koskimies P, Jokela H, Lamminen T, Ghaem-maghami S, et al

Dietary sources of lignans and isoflavones modulate responses to estradiol in estrogen reporter mice
Penttinen-damdimopoulou Pe, Power Ka, Hurmerinta Tt, Nurmi T, Van Der Saag Pt, Makela Si

Receptors mediating toxicity and their involvement in endocrine disruption
Rüegg J, Penttinen-damdimopoulou P, Mäkelä S, Pongratz I, Gustafsson Ja
EXS 2009;99():289-323

The human thioredoxin reductase-1 splice variant TXNRD1_v3 is an atypical inducer of cytoplasmic filaments and cell membrane filopodia
Damdimopoulou Pe, Miranda-vizuete A, Arner Esj, Gustafsson Ja, Damdimopoulos Ae

Diet-derived polyphenol metabolite enterolactone is a tissue-specific estrogen receptor activator
Penttinen P, Jaehrling J, Damdimopoulos Ae, Inzunza J, Lemmen Jg, Van Der Saag P, et al
ENDOCRINOLOGY 2007;148(10):4875-86

Maternal flaxseed diet during pregnancy or lactation increases female rat offspring's susceptibility to carcinogen-induced mammary tumorigenesis
Khan G, Penttinen P, Cabanes A, Foxworth A, Chezek A, Mastropole K, et al

Inhibition of COX-2 aggravates neutrophil migration and pneumocyte apoptosis in surfactant-depleted rat lungs
Lukkarinen H, Laine J, Aho H, Asikainen E, Penttinen P, Kaapa P
PEDIATRIC RESEARCH 2006;59(3):412-7

Structural determinants of plant lignans for growth of mammary tumors and hormonal responses in vivo (vol 93, pg 209, 2005)
Saarinen Nm, Penttinen Pe, Smeds Ai, Hurmerinta Tt, Makela Si

Tools to evaluate estrogenic potency of dietary phytoestrogens: A consensus paper from the eu thematic network "Phytohealth" (QLKI-2002-2453)
Saarinen Nm, Bingham C, Lorenzetti S, Mortensen A, Makela S, Penttinen P, et al
GENES AND NUTRITION 2006;1(3-4):143-58

Structural determinants of plant lignans for growth of mammary tumors and hormonal responses in vivo
Saarinen Nm, Penttinen Pe, Smeds Ai, Hurmerinta Tt, Makela Si

Urinary excretion of lignans after administration of isolated plant lignans to rats: the effect of single dose and ten-day exposures
Smeds Ai, Saarinen Nm, Hurmerinta Tt, Penttinen Pe, Sjoholm Re, Makela Si

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