Vaahtomeri lab

Our group members include;

Kari Vaahtomeri

Principal Investigator

Kari obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Helsinki in 2011. In his doctoral research, Kari investigated mesenchymal and epithelial cell interactions in the context of gastrointestinal tumorigenesis. Kari continued studies on cell interactions during his postdoctoral training in the lab of Prof. Michael Sixt (2012-2015) and investigated dynamic interactions during antigen-presenting dendritic cell transmigration across lymphatic endothelium. To expand these studies to molecular mechanisms, Kari moved back to Finland for a second postdoctoral period in the lab of Prof. Kari Alitalo (2015-2018). In September 2018 Kari was nominated as principal investigator in the Translational Cancer Medicine Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. Current research interests are focused on, how migration of single or collectively moving cells is guided, i.e. how migration cues are created in space and time.

Inam Liaqat

PhD student

Inam is a PhD student investigating dendritic cell transmigration across the lymphatic endothelium with a special focus on chemokine CCL21 positive vesicles. Inam did his Master’s in protein chemistry and biotechnology from University of Oulu, Finland. During his master’s thesis, he studied the molecular characterization of microsomal triglyceride transport protein. During his master’s studies he was also awarded the innovations award 2017 at University of Oulu for proposing an immune system for refrigerators. Inam also has another Master's degree in Chemistry from Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan. 

Ida Hilska

Undergraduate student

Ida received her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2020 and did her bachelor's thesis about complement system-based therapies in antibiotic resistance infections. She is completing her MSc in Cell and developmental biology at the University of Helsinki in 2024. Ida is currently working on dendritic cell migration and secretion of chemokine CCL21-positive vesicles.

Maria Saario

Undergraduate student

Maria completed her BSc in Molecular Biosciences in 2022 and did her thesis on intracellular mechanisms of lipid-induced insulin resistance. With a major interest in immunobiology and cell signaling, she continued as a master’s student in Vaahtomeri lab and has contributed to studies in both lymphatic endothelial cell chemokine secretion and antigen processing. Maria is completing her MSc in Translational Medicine in 2024, at the University of Helsinki. After completing her thesis project, Maria is continuing her research on lymphatic endothelial cell antigen processing mechanisms and immunomodulation, in Vaahtomeri lab.

Jeremia Saari

Undergraduate student

Jeremia received a Bachelor’s degree in molecular bioscience from the University of Helsinki in 2022. The subject of his bachelor’s thesis dealt with the migration of neural crest cells. While pursuing a master’s degree in cell and developmental biology Jeremia’s interest in the cues of cell movement led him to Vaahtomeri lab, where he studies sprouting lymphangiogenesis.


Emmi Tiilikainen M.Sc.

Sonja Granroth, M.Sc.

Emma Jakobsson, M.Sc.

Otto Litkey

Jasmin Haltilahti