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Kauppinen, Tiina M.

Title & Affiliations: Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Principal Investigator – PrairieNeuro Research Centre, Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine; Researcher – Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba

Degrees: MSc, PhD, Docent

Publication IDs: Google scholar, ORCID, Other

Key research interests: Brain Tumours, Microglia, Neuroinflammation, Neuroplasticity

Currently Hiring: Post-doc, MSc, PhD, Summer student

Brief Bio

Dr. Kauppinen obtained her M.Sc. in Biotechnology and Ph.D. in Biotechnology and Molecular Brain Research from the University of Kuopio, Finland (currently known as University of Eastern Finland). She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, while earning a Docent degree in Neuroinflammation from the University of Kuopio, Finland. Dr. Kauppinen continued her research in the Department of Neurology, UCSF as an Adjunct Assistant Professor until 2010, when she joined the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, a principal investigator in the PrairieNeuro Research Centre at Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine, Health Sciences Centre, and researcher in Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

Dr. Kauppinen’s research in Canada has been funded by Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASV), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba Foundation (CHRIM), Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada (HSFC), Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and University of Manitoba.

Research Directions

Dr. Kauppinen’s research program studies neuroinflammation. Her main focus is on microglia, the resident central nervous system immune cells, and how their actions influence brain function and contribute to neurological disorders. Kauppinen aims to identify signaling pathways regulating microglial multiple functions, as that would allow her to design therapeutic strategies to harness microglial functions to promote brain health and recovery in acute (ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury) and chronic (Alzheimer’s disease) neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumors, and neurodevelopmental disturbances (fetal exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus).

Research Themes

Dr. Kauppinen’s research program is built around the hypothesis that nuclear enzyme, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is the key regulator of microglial activation phenotype and functions, and therefore approaches targeting PARP-1 activity allow microglial responses to be directed towards neuroprotective actions. Ongoing research projects aim to identify the central signaling hubs promoting/maintaining microglial PARP-1 activation, and how these are associated in microglial numerous functions (e.g. migration, phagocytosis, synaptic pruning, release of cytokines, inflammatory mediators and trophic factors). The goal is to identify alternative therapeutic target apart from PARP-1, which ubiquitous expression in all cell and variety of roles in cell physiology (e.g. DNA repair) reduce its relevance as a direct therapeutic target.

The most recent findings of Kauppinen lab indicate that PARP-1-driven microglial responses are both necessary and  sufficient to reduce synaptic plasticity and cause cognitive dysfunctions. These studies utilized novel molecular tools allowing microglia targeted modulation of PARP-1 (PARP-1 conditional knock out mice model and lentiviral transduction of constitutively active mutant PARP-1). The on going studies focus on the exact mechanism(s) on how microglia impacts synaptic function (e.g. via synaptic pruning, release of synaptotoxins or other signaling molecules). Further studies will expand from PARP-1 to other signaling hubs and assess their role in regulation of microglial functions jeopardizing neuroplasticity.


Jessica Jarmazs, PhD, Research Associate 

Dali Zhang, PhD, Research Associate 

Olya Myhalatyok, MSc, Lab Technician

Harrison Engen, BSc, Graduate Student

Alana Lamont, BSc, Gradute Student

Asha Sinha, MSc, Graduate Student

Job Opportunities

Dr. Kauppinen is always looking for driven individuals to join the research group.

Currently Hiring: Post-doc, MSc, PhD, Summer student,


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