The winner of this year’s Leena Peltonen prize, to be awarded at the ESHG annual meeting being held in Vienna, Austria, is Dr Andrea Ganna, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki and Harvard Medical School. The prize is awarded to an outstanding young researcher in the field of human genetics, and honours the memory of Dr. Leena Peltonen, a world-renowned human geneticist from Finland who died in 2010 and who contributed greatly to the identification of disease genes for human diseases.
Andrea Ganna started as a FIMM-EMBL group leader at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki in 2019. He did his post-doc at the Analytical and Translation Genetic Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and his PhD at Karolinska Institute. His research interests concern the intersection between epidemiology, genetics, and statistics, and to that end he started the FinRegistry project. FinRegistry uses nationwide registry data to build machine learning models to help better understand and predict the onset of diseases in the Finnish population.
He has authored and co-authored both methodological and applied papers focusing on leveraging large-scale epidemiological datasets to identify novel sociodemographic, metabolic, and genetic markers of common complex diseases. He currently leads two major international consortia: the COVID-19 host genetics initiative and the H2020 INTERVENE consortium. His research vision is to integrate genetic data and information from electronic health records/national health registries to enhance the early detection of common diseases and public health interventions.