People
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
pia.vahteristo@helsinki.fi
02941 25600

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
miika.mehine@helsinki.fi
02941 25557

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.

anna.ayravainen@helsinki.fi
02941 25557

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. 

sara.khamaiseh@helsinki.fi
02941 25557

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.

susanna.nousiainen@helsinki.fi
02941 25557

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.

siiri.reinikka@helsinki.fi
02941 25557

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. 

lotta.katainen@helsinki.fi
02941 25634

Alumni

Tuomas Heikkinen, Postdoctoral fellow

Pernilla von Nandelstadh, Postdoctoral fellow

Kati Kämpjärvi, PhD, The role of MED12 in tumorigenesis 

Janne Hänninen, MD

Vilja Jokenin, MSc

Maare Arffman, MSc

Terhi Ahvenainen, PhD