Open Positions

Master's Thesis Student

The group of Pekka Lappalainen at the Institute of Biotechnology uses a wide range of cell biology, light microscopy imaging, biochemistry and genetic methods to elucidate how the actin cytoskeleton is regulated during various cellular processes. The actin cytoskeleton plays a central role in multiple biological processes including muscle contraction, cell motility, cell division, endocytosis, and phagocytosis. The group is part of Finnish Academy Center of Excellence in Biomembrane Research.

We are now looking for a highly motivated undergraduate student to join our team in either of the following master’s thesis projects:

1. Tricellular contact points in epithelia under tension – how contractile units in epithelial cells make contact with the tricellular junctions?

Tricellular contact points

Specialized tricellular junctions are established to form a molecular ‘gate’ between the contact points of three on more cells in epithelia. These contact points are also sites where mechanical tension is concentrated when epithelia experience mechanical stress. The project focuses on functional identification of novel epithelial tricellular junction components and elucidating how these contacts link themselves to the contractile actin machinery.

2. Dynactin and intracellular vesicle trafficking

Intracellular vesicle trafficking

In this project, you will study how the stability of dynactin complex is maintained in mammalian cells. Dynactin is an activator of dynein, a motor protein facilitating transport of organelles along microtubules. You will study changes in subcellular localization of dynactin and various other proteins in fixed and live cell samples, as well as protein levels in cells with different methods.

How to apply

Successful applicants have knowledge in cell biology and/or molecular biology techniques from practical courses or as a trainee. Experience with mammalian cell culture and imaging techniques is beneficial but not required. We offer you international community of researchers and great facilities to carry out the project under excellent supervision.

Projects can be started in the beginning of March or later

Please, send your application and CV to prof. Pekka Lappalainen by Email ( by 28.3.2019

(Positions may be filled even before the deadline, provided suitable applicants are found)