Niko Nykänen, PhD

Instructor, Psychiatry

Niko is a molecular and cellular neurobiologist with a strong interest and background in neurodegenerative disorders. He obtained his PhD in physiology and neuroscience from University of Helsinki, Finland. For his PhD he investigated cellular and molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer disease (AD) by studying the protein-protein interactions of known disease-associated proteins involved in the pathophysiology of AD primarily focusing on microtubule-associated protein tau. He did his first postdoctoral training at the German Center for Neurodegenerative diseases, Munich, Germany, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of transcellular spreading of tau and alpha-synuclein in relation to known disease-specific risk genes in tauopathies and synucleinopathies. Niko joined Dr. Benitez’s lab at NGI, Washington University, for his second postdoctoral training in 2020 where he focused on functional genomics of AD and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Currently, working in the Cruchaga lab, he is utilizing various disease models to functionally characterize novel genes and pathways in AD and PD discovered by genetic studies