The Vahteristo lab is located in Biomedicum 1 on the Meilahti campus of University of Helsinki.

Current groups members and their contact information are listed below.

Pia Vahteristo

PhD, Adjunct Professor

Principal Investigator, Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics
Group Leader, Applied Tumor Genomics Research Program
Senior Scientist of the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation

Pia Vahteristo in Pubmed
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Miika Mehine

PhD, Postdoctoral fellow

I completed my Ph.D. degree in Medical Genetics at the University of Helsinki in early 2017. My thesis work focused on utilizing next-generation sequencing technology to discover novel genetic defects that contribute to uterine leiomyoma development. My research has been published in Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). My research interests focus on molecular classification of cancers and malignant transformation of pre-cancerous lesions. I am especially interested in exploring the molecular characteristics that separate a benign tumor from a malignant one. I am currently investigating the genomic landscape of endometrial polyps using next-generation sequencing.

Miika Mehine Research profile
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Terhi Ahvenainen

PhD student, MSc

I’m a geneticist finishing a PhD research on uterine leiomyomas. My special interest is to understand how benign leiomyomas can function as pre-cancerous lesions, and eventually identify leiomyomas that have potential for dissemination and development of highly aggressive leiomyosarcoma. The overall aim of this PhD project is to gain biological knowledge on these common tumors, which can be used to treat the patients and prevent cancerous transformation in the body.

Terhi Ahvenainen in LinkedIn
Terhi Ahvenainen Research profile Tuhat
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Anna Äyräväinen

PhD student, MD

I received my Medical degree in 2013. I´m currently doing specialist training in obstetrics and gynecology, and working full time at the Helsinki University Hospital. My PhD project focuses on uterine leiomyomas in people assigned female at birth during their fertile years. Our goal is to clarify the molecular background in leiomyomas that lead to operative treatment at a young age. We are especially interested in finding factors that lead to the development of leiomyomas very early, or on the other hand, recurrently. In the clinical part of the project, we study the effects of myomectomy on later reproductive health and quality of life.
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Sara Khamaiseh

PhD student, MSc

I majored in human genetics during my Master’s degree. I am currently working on the genetics of histopathological uterine leiomyoma variants and leiomyosarcomas. I am using genomic technologies to investigate these variant tumors. The variants constitute different subtypes based on the histopathological evaluations after surgery. This distinguishes them from the common conventional uterine leiomyomas. Little is known about the genetics of these subtypes. Understanding their molecular background may help with developing personalized treatment options.
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Susanna Nousiainen

PhD student, MSc

I am a human geneticist with a minor in microbiology. My work aims to shed light on the genetic background of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common, benign disease that has some shared characteristics with malignancy, e.g. invasion and angiogenesis. On rare occasions, endometriosis has the capability to transform into a malignancy, specifically into ovarian cancer. I utilize methods like NGS to study different types of patient samples, and some functional characterization to further elucidate the possible effects of the found variants.
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Siiri Reinikka

PhD student, MSc

I completed my Master’s degree in genetics in 2020. Currently I am studying endometrial polyps. Although endometrial polyps are very common gynecological tumors, their molecular background and pathogenesis are largely unknown. I am utilizing exomic, genomic and transcriptomic next-generation sequencing methods to characterize genetic aberrations affecting the pathogenesis of these benign uterine tumors.
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Vilja Jokinen

Master's student, BSc

I am a Master's student in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences. I am particularly interested in genetic alterations leading to tumorigenesis and cancer. My Master’s thesis project focuses on genetic background of uterine leiomyomas, benign smooth muscle tumors of the uterus. The aim is to characterize genetic alterations from point mutations to larger chromosomal rearrangements. I am analysing whole genome sequencing and RNA sequencing data for this purpose.
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Lotta Katainen

Laboratory technician, MSc

I work as the laboratory technician for Pia Vahteristo's lab group. 

In addition to my lab management duties I work in the role of research assistant alongside most projects. I work with different laboratory techniques in cell biology, molecular biology, microbiology and pathology. My responsibilities also include maintaining and updating our databases as well as training new lab personnel in various techniques.
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Tuomas Heikkinen, Postdoctoral fellow
Pernilla von Nandelstadh, Postdoctoral fellow
Kati Kämpjärvi, PhD, The role of MED12 in tumorigenesis 
Janne Hänninen, MD
Maare Arffman, MSc