Reseach of the Chair of the Human Genetics


Current research is executed mostly in the direction of reproductive biomedicine:

  • Placental genetics and genomics (transcriptomics, epigenetics, genome structural variants, microRNAs) in normal and adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Genetic factors implicated in pregnancy-related diseases
  • Genetic factors implicated in male and female reproductive health, infertility and disorders of gonadal development (exome sequencing, genetic association studies)
  • Investigations of ‘pleiotropic genes’ with a broad spectrum of phenotypic effects
  • Biomarker studies with the focus on translational research

Our research is mostly targeted to the analysis of various human biological samples, including both targeted genetic studies and large-scale bioinformatic analysis of genomic data generated on the patient’s samples. If relevant, in vitro experimental research is applied for functional validation of the generated hypotheses. The chair has assembled over ~15 years a large biobank of clinical samples, collected in collaboration with our clinical partners at the Tartu University Hospital.

Our studies are executed in the synergy with a long-term collaboration with Estonian and international research network.

Daily partnership has been developed with clinical collaborators at the Andrology Centre (led by Prof. Margus Punab) and Women’s Clinic, Tartu University Hospital (partnership with Prof. Kristiina Rull and others). Women's Clinic, East Tallinn Central Hospital and Women's Clinic, West Tallinn Central Hospital. 

The current main international collaboration

  • partner in male reproductive genetics is a worldwide consortium GEMINI (‘Gentics in Male Infertility’, PI: Dr. Don F. Conrad).
  • Prof. Tom Lenaerts, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. 



The most important publications in last five years

  1. Triin Kikas, Anna Maria Punab, Laura Kasak, Olev Poolamets, Vladimir Vihljajev, Kristjan Pomm, Mario Reiman, Stanislav Tjagur, Paul Korrovits, Margus Punab, Maris Laan (2023) Microdeletions and microduplications linked to severe congenital disorders in infertile men. Scientific Reports 13(1):574. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-27750-w. 
  2. Laura Kasak, Kristiina Lillepea, Liina Nagirnaja, Kenneth I Aston, Peter N Schlegel, João Gonçalves, Filipa Carvalho, Daniel Moreno-Mendoza, Kristian Almstrup, Michael L Eisenberg, Keith A Jarvi, Moira K O'Bryan, Alexandra M Lopes, Donald F Conrad; GEMINI Consortium; Margus Punab, Maris Laan (2022). Actionable secondary findings following exome sequencing of 836 non-obstructive azoospermia cases and their value in patient management. Hum Reprod 37(7):1652-1663. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deac100.
  3. Kasak, Laura; Rull, Kristiina; Yang, Tao; Roden, Dan M; Laan, Maris (2021) Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Concealed Long-QT Syndrome. Journal of the American Heart Association 10:e021236. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.121.021236.
  4. Inno, Rain; Kikas, Triin; Lillepea, Kristiina; Laan, Maris (2021). Coordinated Expressional Landscape of the Human Placental miRNome and Transcriptome. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 9 (697947), 1−20. DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.697947.
  5. Hallast, Pille; Kibena, Laura; Punab, Margus; Arciero, Elena; Rootsi, Siiri; Grigorova, Marina; Flores, Rodrigo; Jobling, Mark A; Poolamets, Olev; Pomm, Kristjan; Korrovits, Paul; Rull, Kristiina; Xue, Yali; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Laan, Maris (2021). A common 1.6 mb Y-chromosomal inversion predisposes to subsequent deletions and severe spermatogenic failure in humans. eLife, 10, e65420. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.65420.
Portree akadeemik Pärt Petersonist

Pärt Peterson was elected as member of the Academy of Sciences in biomedicine

Töö viirusega laboris

Vaccine created by University of Tartu researchers to prevent a dangerous tropical disease received approval

Doctoral defence: Ling Yan "Stress-associated immune mechanisms of schizophrenia: the importance of region-specific microglia-neurovascular interaction"

On December 15th Ling Yan will defend a thesis "Stress-associated immune mechanisms of schizophrenia: the importance of region-specific microglia-neurovascular interaction".