People

Principal Investigator

Pekka Taimen, MD, PhD

I am a Professor of Molecular Pathology at the University of Turku and a part-time Chief pathologist at Turku University Hospital. I have more than 20 years of experience in cell biological and translational research and 15 years of experience in clinical pathology. After obtaining my PhD at the University of Turku in 2005, I did my postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Professor Robert D. Goldman at Northwestern University (Chicago, USA) in 2008-2009 and started my own group at the Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku in 2011. I worked as the Academy of Finland Clinical Researcher in 2015-2019 and I hold a title of docent in clinical pathology as well as in molecular pathology. In the clinical pathology work, my main focus is on genitourinary pathology (prostate, bladder) and cardiovascular pathology.

Senior Researchers

Gun West, MSc, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher working on signaling pathways involved in the development of laminopathies. I obtained my Master’s degree in biochemistry from Åbo Akademi University in 2005 and thereafter did my PhD focusing on proteins’ structural binding properties in Peter Mattjus’ Lab at Åbo Akademi University. I joined Taimen lab already at the early beginning in 2011 and I have been involved in several research projects over the years. In my current research project, I study unfolded protein response and ER stress related mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of diseases caused by lamin A/C mutations.

Doctoral Candidates

Laura Virtanen, MSc (public defence March 4th 2022)

I obtained my Master’s degree in biology from University of Turku in 2015 and thereafter started as a PhD student in the Taimen Lab and in the Turku Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine. My PhD work focuses on the pathogenesis of LMNA-related dilated cardiomyopathy. More specifically, I study how LMNA mutations affect lamin A/C function, cell morphology and viability in response to different stressors, such as mechanical strain, hypoxia, and heat shock. My methodological expertise includes cell culture, high-resolution imaging and image analysis, biochemistry, and animal work.

Fanny Lindholm, MSc

I received my Master’s degree in biochemistry from Åbo Akademi University in 2020. I have worked in the Taimen lab since late 2019, first as an intern and currently as a PhD student. My project focuses on studying the pathogenesis of familial dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in vivo. Using a recently generated LmnaS143P knock-in mouse model we aim to elucidate the early mechanisms of disease and to find potential targets of small molecular drug therapy.

Kimmo Kettunen, MD

I received my MD degree from University of Turku in 2020. I joined the Taimen lab already during my medical studies and currently hold a PhD student position supported by the Turku Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine (TuDMM). My main interest is in the pathogenesis and patient-derived cell culture models of bladder cancer. Using these methods we aim to develop novel tools to improve the stratification of bladder cancer patients.

Eva-Maria Talvitie, MD

Eva-Maria Talvitie, MD

I received a MSc degree in Biomedicine in 2007 and MD degree in 2013, both from University of Turku. Thereafter I did my training in pathology at Turku University Hospital in 2014-2020 and I received a specialist’s degree in 2020. My PhD project focuses on molecular pathology of non-small cell lung cancer. Using highly validated tissue micro arrays, FoundationOne NGS data and detailed clinical follow-up data, we study the mutational spectrum, tumor mutation burden, biomarkers, and their prognostic and predictive value in surgically resected lung cancers.

Irena Saarinen, MD

I obtained my MD degree from the University of Oulu in 2021 and currently I am doing my residency in internal medicine. Besides clinical work, I am finishing my PhD, which focuses on immunohistochemical and genetic signature of primary prostate cancer and how these tumor characteristics affect tumor detection by MRI and 18F-fluciclovine- and PSMA-PET imaging. We are especially interested in understanding 18F-fluciclovine transport and accumulation, as well as the heterogeneity of prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) expression within prostatic tumors of different Gleason grades and genotypes (e.g., PTEN loss, TMPRSS2-ERG fusion). We hope that these studies will further improve imaging-based classification of prostate cancers and patient stratification for different treatment options.

Graduate Students

Minttu Turunen BSc

Sini Mattila

Tiina Keski-Oja

Alumni

  • Song-Ping Li
  • Matias Blomqvist
  • Mona Halme
  • Josef Gullmets
  • Anni Keinänen