Tuuli Lappalainen

Tuuli Lappalainen


Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Biology, Columbia University
Junior Investigator and Core Member, New York Genome Center


New York Genome Center
Department of Systems Biology
Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics


(646) 977-7037

Tuuli Lappalainen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University and a Junior Investigator and Core Member at the New York Genome Center.

Her research focuses on functional genetic variation in human populations and its contribution to traits and diseases. The work of her research group, physically located at New York Genome Center in lower Manhattan, links computational and population genomics to experimental molecular biology. While their individual projects may focus on specific diseases, the overall goal is to uncover general rules of the genomic sources of human variation. She also seeks to push the discoveries and methods from her research projects further towards clinical applications.

Tuuli received her PhD from University of Helsinki, Finland in 2009, followed by postdoctoral research at University of Geneva, Switzerland and Stanford University. She has pioneered the integration of large-scale genome and transcriptome sequencing data to understand how genetic variation affects gene expression, providing insight to cellular mechanisms underlying genetic risk for disease. She has made an important contribution to several international research consortia in human genomics, including the 1000 Genomes Project and the Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project, and led the RNA-sequencing work of the Geuvadis Consortium. GenomeWeb profiled her in their 2013 feature on promising young investigators.

More News


New Study Explains Why Genetic Mutations Cause Disease in Some People but Not in Others
A new study, led by Dr. Tuuli Lappalainen, has unveiled a molecular mechanism behind one of biology’s longstanding mysteries: why individuals carrying identical gene mutations for a disease end up having varying severity or symptoms of the disease. In this phenomenon, called variable penetrance, the severity of the effect of disease-causing variants differs among individuals who carry them.
Tuuli Lappalainen Receives Leena Peltonen Prize For Excellence In Human Genetics
Dr. Lappalainen, assistant professor of systems biology and faculty at the New York Genome Center, is the recipient of the 2018 Leena Peltonen Prize for Excellence in Human Genetics. Dr. Lappalainen marks the first Finnish genomic researcher to receive the award, honoring one of Finland's most renowned scientists.
Two Faculty Win Vagelos Precision Medicine Pilot Award
Professors Harmen Bussemaker and Tuuli Lappalainen have received an inaugural Roy and Diana Vagelos Precision Medicine Pilot Award. Their research collaboration will bridge quantitative genetics and mechanistic biology to better understand regulatory effects of genetic variants in humans.
Columbia Launches Initiative to Advance Personalized Medicine
The Spring 2014 issue of Columbia Medicine reports on a university-wide project to identify more patient-specific ways to diagnose and treat disease, and the key role the Department of Systems Biology is playing in this effort.
Tuuli Lappalainen Joins Department of Systems Biology
Dr. Lappalainen is a specialist in the analysis of RNA sequencing data, with research interests including functional variation in the human genome, the population genetics of genomic variation, and the interpretation of genome function.