People

Our group members

Marja Mikkola

Principal Investigator

I was trained as a geneticist and molecular biologist at the University of Helsinki.  I obtained my PhD in the field of molecular virology, but after joining Irma Thesleff's lab as a post-doc, there was no going back, and I have been fascinated by the wonders of embryonic development now for more than 20 years.

Currently (2022-2025), I am a member of the Board of the University of Helsinki.

If you don't find me in Viikki Biocenter 2, you will find me in my garden.

Marja Mikkola's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Ana-Marija Sulić

Postdoc

 

Joint position with Prof. Jukka Jernvall

 

 

 

Ana-Marija Sulić's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Qiang Lan

Postdoc

 

After BSc and MSc study in Wuhan University, China, I obtained my PhD degree in the University of Lausanne and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. My PhD work focused on chemotherapy-induced tumor dormancy and metastasis in breast cancer. In 2014, I joined Mikkola's group as a postdoctoral researcher to investigate the embryonic development mouse mammary gland. By combining the ex vivo tissue culture and tissue recombination techniques with cutting-edge RNA sequencing technology, I am trying to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating mammary gland branching initiation and branching patterning during later embryonic development of mammary gland.

Qiang Lan's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

 

Satu-Marja Myllymäki

Postdoc

 

I am a biochemist/cell biologist trained by the University of Oulu in northern Finland.

During my Ph.D., I studied integrin-mediated cell adhesions and their role in epithelial cell polarity and contractility.

I joined the Mikkola lab due to my interest in the cellular foundations of epithelial morphogenesis.

One of the most fascinating examples is branching morphogenesis, which is the focus of my current research.

My motto in the lab is: take your work seriously, but not yourself too seriously.

Satu-Marja Myllymäki's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Vinod Kumar

Postdoc

 

I received my Master’s and Bachelor’s from Bangalore University, India. Under the supervision of Prof. Thomas M Magin, I completed PhD from University of Leipzig, Germany in the field of cell & developmental biology focusing mainly on deletion of keratins and its impact on skin development (2015). In Mikkola’s lab I am working on early hair follicle development, mainly focusing on the epithelial patterning of hair follicle.

Vinod Kumar's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Beata Kaczyńska

Doctoral researcher

 

In 2019 I joined Marja Mikkola group to work on my research project aiming to uncover cellular mechanisms driving growth of mammary gland using 4D microscopy. Acquired knowledge of those processes will affect our understanding of breast cancer.

I am originally from Olecko, Poland and I got my engineer and M.Sc. in molecular biotechnology from University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. I am mostly interested in molecular and cell biology as building blocks of living organism.

In my free time you can find me at the gym weightlifting, hiking somewhere or just enjoying good food.

Beata Kaczyńska's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Jyoti Satta

Doctoral researcher

 

I received my MSc. in Biomedical Sciences from Germany and moved to Finland for PhD. My research interests lie in elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the mammary gland development and cancer.

Jyoti Satta's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Otto Mäkelä

Doctoral researcher

 

My research focuses on the molecular regulation of early hair follicle development. Hair follicle development is regulated by interactions between the two tissues of which it forms: the surface ectoderm and its underlying mesenchyme. I study how these tissue interactions regulate hair follicle induction and formation of the dermal condensate.

I received my M.Sc. in biotechnology from the University of Tampere 2015 and then joined Mikkola lab for my PhD studies. I am interested in similarities and differences of tissue development and regeneration. I believe that understanding of developmental biology will contribute significantly in the development of regenerative tissue therapies.

Otto Mäkelä's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Verdiana Papagno

Doctoral researcher

 

My doctoral research focuses on the early cellular and molecular features of hair follicle morphogenesis. In particular, I am interested in understand how cells could acquire hair follicle cell fate and which factors could play a meaningful role in this organogenesis-driving mechanism. Understanding how cells are able to acquire a specific cell-fate during development can indeed improve knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the reprogramming process and it can also shed light on new regenerative therapies for their use in medicine.

I pursued my M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Pavia (Italy) in 2018. In March 2019, I moved to Finland to start my Ph.D. studies in Marja Mikkola’s lab. On my own time, I enjoy reading books, drawing and painting in the nature.

Verdiana Papagno's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Raija Savolainen

Research technician

 

My priority is that everything is going smoothly in the Lab and keep researchers happy.

Raija Savolainen's contact and research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Alumni
  • Päivi Lindfors, PhD                             
  • Sylvie Lefebvre, PhD                           
  • Marja Pummila, PhD                         
  • Isa Uski, MSc                                       
  • Elina Hirvonen, MSc                           
  • Laura Ahtiainen, PhD
  • Maria Voutilainen, PhD                   
  • Otso Häärä, PhD                                 
  • Katja Närhi, PhD                                 
  • Teresa Elo, PhD                                 
  • Vera Shirokova, PhD                         
  • Ibrahim Sultan, MSc
  • Leah Biggs, PhD                                     
  • Riitta Lindström, PhD                          
  • Riikka Saikkonen, MSc                     
  • Toiba Mushtaq, BSc
  • Merja Mäkinen, Research Technician 
  • Ewelina Trela, PhD