Research groups of the Molecular and Integrative Biosciences Research Programme

Below are the introductions of the research groups that operate partly or wholly at the research program in alphabetical order.


Ala-Laurila Lab
Our Goal is to utilize the neural circuits of the retina to reveal fundamental principles of neural computations at quantal resolution.

Eskelinen group studies membrane dynamics during autophagosome biogenesis in mammalian cells.


Bioinformatics research groups at University of Helsinki are presented in the pages.


The Saarikangas lab is interested in the regulation of proteostasis and protein phase transitions during cellular adaptation, differentiation and aging.


The Partanen group studies how the spectrum neurons differentiates in the embryonic brainstem, a center for regulation of mood, motivation and movement.


Episusceptibility and Cancer
Our research focuses on early detection and prevention of colon cancer. The aim is to study the interplay between the epigenome and genome in tumorigenesis and to identify biomarkers of cancer susceptibility, malignant transformation, and tumor progression.

Extracellular Vesicles
The EV group studies extracellular vesicles (EVs), submicron membrane vesicles released by most cells (mammalians to prokaryotes), that are present in all body fluids, but also e.g., in oceans.


Functional Lipidomics Group
The group has biomedical and ecophysiological projects. The roles of lipids and fatty acids are studied in human vital functions and pathophysiology as well as in environmental adaptation and feeding ecology of animals. As the most important methods, we use mass spectrometry and chromatography.


Glycoscience Group
The Glycoscience group headed by Professor Jukka Finne is engaged with the biology of carbohydrates, the most abundant biological molecules of nature, involved in the biology of all living organisms. Glycans have received little attention due to lack of efficient tools to probe their complex structures and properties.


Integrins in Immunity

The Fagerholm group studies leukocyte integrins, adhesion receptors that mediate leukocyte trafficking, in health and disease.


Laboratory of Neurobiology
Research at the Laboratory of Neurobiology focuses on the role of ion-regulatory proteins in the control of neuronal excitability at the molecular, single-cell, network and in vivo levels.

Laboratory of Neurotherapeutics
Our laboratory investigates the neurobiological mechanisms underlying rapid-acting antidepressant actions. We combine standard in vivo and wet lab techniques with electroencephalogram (EEG) and quantitative proteomics.

Laboratory of Visual Neurophysiology and Psychophysics
The vision group investigates key factors that influence the performance of animal and human visual systems. The research ranges from basic mechanisms of photoreception and retinal processing studied at the cellular and molecular levels to perception in intact animals and humans as well as low vision in humans.

The Gahmberg group studies leukocyte adhesion and signalling, binding of cytoskeletal proteins to integrins and their regulation by specific phosphorylations of the alfa and beta-chains.The neuronal ICAM-5 ligand is cleaved by NMDA treatment and the released fragment affects leukocyte functions.


Macromolecular Dynamics
We study the intracellular transport and function of macromolecular complexes such as cellular membranes and organelles, ribonucleoprotein complexes and viruses. The Balistreri Lab combines the power of genetic screening technologies and advanced imaging techniques with an arsenal of cell biology and biochemical approaches.

Molecular Mechanisms of Bacteria in Infectious Diseases and Health
The research group studies at the molecular level the secretion, biogenesis and function of bacterial surface proteins and protein appendages involved in infectious processes.

Molecular Principles of Viruses
The research focuses on archaeal and bacterial viruses to unravel molecular details of their functions and structures.

Macromolecular Structure and Function
Our work aims to understand the structure, assembly and function of biological macromolecule complexes. We embed unstained, unfixed specimens in vitreous ice to preserve their structures.

Molecular Virology
The four research groups of the Molecular Virology Unit mainly investigate viruses containing protein, nucleic acid and lipid constituents that infect microbial hosts. These viruses are used as model organisms in understanding the structure, assembly and function of biological macromolecular complexes.


Neurogenomics Laboratory
We employ a multidisciplinary approach to understand the genetic and neurobiological basis of normal and pathological anxiety.

Nutrient Sensing Laboratory
Our group studies nutrient sensing in animals. We aim to understand how nutrients regulate gene expression and signalling to adjust metabolism and growth. Our main experimental approaches include Drosophila genetics and genomics.


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Sensory Biology and Neurobiology of the Auditory System – from basic research to biomedical applications
Our research examines the mechanisms regulating development, regeneration and repair of the cells of the auditory system. Currently, we focus on the pathophysiology of the auditory organ and the brain auditory network following exposure to loud sounds.

Structural Biology of Macromolecules and Interactions
Research in the Laboratory of Structural Biology headed by Juha Huiskonen is aimed at understanding the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their complexes, such as molecular machines and viruses. We strive to decipher basic principles in their assembly and evolution. Detailed mechanistic understanding of structures involved in disease is informing rational design of therapies.

The group focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms guiding activity-dependent development of glutamatergic circuitry in the limbic system and in particular, the roles of ionotropic glutamate receptors in this process.