Tuuli Lappalainen

Tuuli Lappalainen


Adjunct Associate Professor of Systems Biology


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


DSB Retreat Boasts Diverse Research, Spotlights Young Investigators
Each year the Department of Systems Biology community comes together for an off-campus retreat to discuss science, share ongoing research and to network. During this year's two-day program, held in Ellenville, NY, research presentations were primarily delivered by young investigators, shining a light on the ongoing work by our graduate students and post-docs.
New Method Detects Genetic Expression Disruptors, Improves Diagnosis of Rare Disease
In a new study published in Science, researchers from New York Genome Center and Columbia University demonstrate a new method for analyzing genomes to better identify all mutations that disrupt gene function. The study was led by Pejman Mohammadi, PhD, a former postdoctoral scientist at the New York Genome Center and Columbia, and supervised by Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD, core faculty member at the New York Genome Center and an assistant professor of systems biology.
Dr. Lappalainen Receives Distinguished Faculty Award
Congratulations to Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD, assistant professor of systems biology at Columbia University and core faculty member at the New York Genome Center, who has received the Harold and Golden Lamport Research award, an annual prize given to junior faculty members for outstanding basic science or clinical science research. Dr. Lappalainen was presented with the faculty award at the May 22 Commencement Ceremony for Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
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.