We have a long-standing tradition and commitment to education. A total of 28 students have graduated and defended their PhD over the years with our group as the primary affiliation and 1-2 M.Sc students complete their master’s thesis yearly in the lab.
Professor of Immunology, Chief Physician
Professor Seppo Meri is Professor of Immunology at the Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki, Finland and the Chief Physician of Research in Microbiology at HUSLAB, laboratory of the Helsinki University Hospital. He is also a visiting professor at the Humanitas University, Milan, Italy. His medical speciality is in Clinical Microbiology. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas in 1988 and in 1989–90 as an EMBO fellow at MRC, Cambridge, UK. Seppo's research interests include diseases related to disturbances in complement regulation, pregnancy disorders, vascular damage and reasons for increased susceptibility to microbial infections. His group has published around 250 original research articles and 130 reviews or textbook chapters on complement, autoimmunity and microbial escape.
MD, PhD, Docent of Immunology, Clinical Teacher
Hanna Jarva is Adjunct Professor and Senior Lecturer. She completed her PhD thesis with title: Interactions of Soluble Complement regulators with Pathogenic Bacteria, in 2004. She is a collaborator and currently she is working on projects involving complement and microbes and complement and autoimmunity.
Tobias Freitag is a medical researcher and an experimental immunologist, trained in gastroenterology and rheumatology. His scientific research is focused on (mucosal) immunology and translational medicine, autoimmune diseases - particularly, the celiac disease, mechanisms of tolerance to intestinal antigens (food, microbial and self-proteins), regulatory T cell function, and rodent disease models. He has been a principal investigator of the Finnish-Swedish NARPANord consortium, investigating the pathogenesis of type 1 narcolepsy, and is currently a member of the Academy of Finland Personalized Health-DIGIN Health research consortium, researching the microbial triggers of celiac disease. Since 2019, he has contributed as a Junior Researcher to the Translational Immunology Research Program at the University of Helsinki, studying therapeutic immune tolerance induction.
PhD, Docent, Principal Investigator
Ayman Khattab is a University researcher with over 15 years of experience in malaria research. Ayman obtained his PhD in 2003 from the University of Tübingen, Germany. He conducted his PhD work at the Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon where he studied the pathogenesis of placental malaria. In late-2003, Ayman started his post-doctoral work at Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. He continued his research on placental malaria and PfEMP-1. He also expanded his research to cover other parasite surface antigens such as RIFINs and STEVORs, their expression in various stages of the parasites, their function and role in pathogenesis, and in the acquired immunity in individuals from malaria-endemic areas.
In July 2007, Ayman joined the Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, to set up a malaria research lab. The lab maintains the malaria parasite, P. falciparum cultures and Anopheles mosquito colonies to study malaria pathogenesis and to develop novel interventions for the control of malaria transmission.
Specifically, Ayman focusses his research on 1) The surface antigens of P. falciparum as virulence factors 2) Complement escape by the P. falciparum parasite 3) The immune interaction between mosquitoes and the human host and 4) Mosquito control.
Juha graduated as a PhD in biomedical sciences at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands in 2017. During this time, he was an early stage researcher (ESR) in a Marie-Curie Sklodowska Initial Training Consortium called TransVIR. The consortium, its research, and training focused on immunology and vascular inflammation, with a broad range of disciplines and the involvement of industrial and academic partners. His project was a joint venture between Hycult Biotech and the department of nephrology at the Leiden University Medical Center. The project focused on the development of a methodology that would allow complement system monitoring in experimental rodent models. The methodology was applied to various renal disease and injury models, validated and transferred to the industrial partner for future commercialization.
Before joining the Complement group, Juha worked in various research positions that have broadly revolved around assay, reagent and method development. He has held positions in two start-up companies, worked a few years as an application scientist after his Master's thesis, and spent another few years in Ireland as a senior scientist after the research phase of his PhD studies was complete.
His current projects are focused on studying different aspects of the complement system in relation to pathogenic microbes. One aspect is to better understand the bacterial reaction to complement injury, and others are focused on understanding the complement evasion mechanisms of various pathogens and their potential diagnostic or vaccine targets.
PhD, Senior Research Assistant
Marcel received his PhD in 1992 at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. The title of his thesis was Antihypertensive Drugs and the Microcirculation. He is a research assistant in the Complement group, assisting a number of researchers with their projects.
Inkeri is a reproductive immunologist who defended her thesis on the immunogenetics of pre-eclampsia in 2017 at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include genetic and immunological mechanisms in complications of human pregnancy. Inkeri also studies histology and immunology of the placenta. Her current projects aim at understanding the role of dysregulation of the complement system and immunogenetic incompatibility in early pregnancy in the etiology of pre-eclampsia and the range of complement-mediated mechanisms in the development of the disease in later pregnancy.
Inkeri enjoys teaching and collaborates with several domestic and international research groups in reproductive epidemiology, complement studies in pregnancy, and vascular diseases.
MSc, PhD student
Subam is a doctoral researcher currently pursuing his doctoral studies in affiliation with the doctoral program in Population Health at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. He graduated with MSc degree in molecular medicine in 2016. During his MSc project at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, he investigated the phagocytic proteins in malaria vector Anopheles as a potential marker to characterize the mosquito hemocyte.
In 2018 Subam completed his MA degree in Anthropology, specializing in Medical Anthropology. During his MA thesis, he conducted an ethnographic study on community perception of malaria-associated fevers and health-seeking behavior within the community in rural Tanzania.
Subam has been associated with malaria research for over 4 years and has experience in malaria immunobiology, vector immunology, applied entomology and malaria epidemiology. As a part of his PhD project, Subam has been conducting epidemiological studies, community surveys and supervising the phase II semi-field trials and phase III community trials to evaluate the efficacy novel malaria control tools in reducing malaria transmission in the endemic region of Tanzania.
MSc, PhD student
Vinaya Dulipati graduated in 2018 with an MSc degree (5-year integrated programme) in biotechnology from the Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, Savitribai Phule Pune University (formerly University of Pune), India.
During her Master’s thesis work with us, she assessed several previously untested variants of the Lyme’s disease biomarkers to develop an effective proof of concept method for the screening of novel bacterial antigenic variants in patient cohorts.
She aims to explore further the complement evading mechanisms of opportunistic bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, and Enterobacter.
MD, PhD student
Eva-Stina is MD, PhD student at University of Helsinki. Her thesis project is about PNH-Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria in Finland. It is a clinical study where they are looking into patient characteristics. Study focuses on the spontaneous remissions that sometimes occure in the disease and on thrombosis that is the most feared complication. Eva-Stina is interested in the interaction between Complement and Coagulation in this disorder.
MD, PhD student
Leo graduated as a MD from the University of Helsinki in 2015. While working as a junior doctor, he grew aware of the problems caused by antimicrobial resistance among pathogenic bacteria. This concern transformed into an interest in studying the field and assessing potential new remedies. In the current early phase of the PhD project, Leo is setting up assays for evaluating bacterial killing of several Gram-negative multi-drug resistant opportunistic pathogens by hyperimmune globulin, to be followed by potential clinical trials.
Mikel is an Early Stage Researcher from the Marie-Curie Sklodowska Innovative Training Network “CORVOS”. “CORVOS” is a European Joint Doctorate with involvement from academic and industrial partners focused on the role of the complement system in opportunistic infections. His PhD will be undertaken at the University of Helsinki (Finland) and the Sorbonne University (France). The project is focused on the study of complement evasion molecules in Plasmodium parasites and anopheline mosquitoes as potential vaccine antigens.
In 2020, he graduated from the MSc Leading International Vaccinology Education (“LIVE”). This Erasmus+ Mundus Joint Master’s Degree is composed of 5 different main universities (in Spain, Belgium and France) and more than 40 international associated partners (including GSK Vaccines and Sanofi Pasteur). The topic of his master’s thesis was non-neutralising antibody responses against CMV, he investigated ADCP and ADCC responses specific to CMV glycoproteins during pregnancy and their possible correlation with the risk of congenital infection.
Mikel’s interests are biotechnology, immunology research and vaccines. Outside the lab, he likes hiking, travelling, reading and cooking.
Hang is a student of the joint PhD program CORVOS, under Humanitas University in Milano, and the University of Helsinki. She studies science in multiple disciplines, from physics, mathematics to life sciences. In her spare time, she enjoys studying subjects such as international relations, economics and social development.
Liisa takes care of the administrative issues related to group projects. She takes care of HR matters, communication and meeting arrangements. She coordinates grant applications and reports, follows budgets etc.