Kivelä's research group consists of undergraduate and graduate students, post-doc, and a PI. Each group member is expected to play an important and equal role in the lab with the aim to be a highly dynamic, motivated, and collaborative group.
Riikka Kivelä

Endothelial and stem cells regulating tissue function

Principal Investigator, Research Fellow of the Finnish Academy of Sciences

  • BSc in Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, 1997
  • MSc in Exercise physiology, University of Jyväskylä, 2001
  • PhD, University of Jyväskylä, 2008
  • Post doctoral research fellow, Prof. Kari Alitalo's group, University of Helsinki, 2008-2013
  • Senior research fellow, Wihuri Research Institute, Helsinki, 2013-2016

TUHAT, ORCID, LinkedIn, riikka.kivela(at)

Emmi Helle

Genetics of heart diseases

Clinical Researcher

  • MSc (Econ.) - Turku School of Economics, Finland
  • MD - Linköping University, Sweden
  • PhD - Pediatrics, Turku University, Finland
  • Postdoctoral research fellow, Prof. Euan Ashley Lab, Stanford University CA, 2015-2017
  • Postdoctoral research fellow, Kivelä Lab, University of Helsinki, 2017-

  • Research Interests: Genetics of congenital heart disease, Left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOTO) defects, Patient-derived iPS cells in disease modeling, Maternal glucose metabolism and congenital heart defects.

TUHAT, ORCID, LinkedIn, emmi.helle(at)

Minna Ampuja

Endothelial cells in co-culture models

Postdoctoral researcher

  • PhD - University of Tampere
  • MSc - University of Tampere
  • Research interests: Endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes, in vitro co-culture models, iPS cells

TUHATORCIDLinkedIn, minna.ampuja(at)

Oiva Arvola

Postdoctoral researcher

  • Postdoctoral research fellow, Kivelä Lab, University of Helsinki, 2020-
  • Postdoctoral scholar, Prof. Creed Stary lab, Stanford University CA, 2017-2019
  • PhD - University of Oulu, Experimental Heart Surgery, Finland
  • MD – University of Oulu, Finland

  • Research Interests: Ischemia-reperfusion injury, cell to cell communication between brain and heart, cellular bioenergetics.

Nebeyu Gizaw

Prox1 transcription factor in Rhabdomyosarcoma and skeletal muscle

PhD Student

  • M.Sc. (Biotechnology), Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
  • B.Sc. (Biology), Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
  • Research Interests: Prox1 transcription factor, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Satellite cells, Skeletal muscle regeneration.

TUHAT, ORCID, LinkedIn, nebeyu.gizaw(at)

Aino Männistö

PhD Student

  • MSc in Exercise physiology, University of Jyväskylä
  • Research interests: Skeletal muscle, vasculature, endothelial cells, muscle hypertrophy, angiogenesis, metabolic health, muscle wasting


Sabina Selenius

PhD Student

  • Medical student in the University of Helsinki
Margarida Varela

PhD Student

  • M.Sc. - Imperial College London (Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells - Novel Therapies)
  • B.Sc. - Middlesex University (Molecular Biology)
  • Research interests: Heart failure, patient-derived iPS cells in disease modeling, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiomyocytes


Jacob Andersson


  • Medical student in the University of Helsinki
Erik Tolvanen

MSc student

  • BSc in molecular biosciences, University of Helsinki
Kialiina Tonttila

PhD student

  • M.Sc. - Translational Medicine, University of Helsinki (2021)
  • B.Sc. - Molecular biosciences, University of Helsinki (2019)

  • Research interests: health benefits of exercise, cardiometabolic diseases, endothelial cells, Oroboros, single cell technology

kialiina.tonttila(at), LinkedIn

Sami Myllykangas


  • Medical student in the University of Helsinki
  • Ilse Paetau, Lab coordinator
  • Virpi Stigzelius, MSc student
  • Karthik Hemanthakumar, PhD student
  • Siiri Toropainen, MSc student
  • Ariadna Pujol Regull, Erasmus student
  • Kirsi Mattinen, Lab manager
  • Tatjana Punger, MSc student
  • Laura Antola, MSc (Tech.)/medical student
  • Manon Gruchet, Erasmus student
  • Elviira Hyvönen, medical student
  • Maxime Laird, Erasmus student
  • Charlotte Gouret, Erasmus student