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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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, and I am currently in the final stages of my PhD thesis work. My projects involve common non-cancerous uterine leiomyomas (also known as fibroids), with a special interest in those with abnormal growth patterns. I also study their malignant counterpart, uterine leiomyosarcomas, which are rare and aggressive cancers. Using high-throughput sequencing and expression profiling, I investigate unique molecular defects in these tumors. Identifying markers that distinguish tumors with malignant potential can improve early detection and ultimately enhance clinical outcomes for women affected by these tumors.
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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 have a Master’s degree in genetics and genomics. Currently, I am studying endometrial polyps and endometrial carcinomas. Although endometrial polyps are very common benign gynecological lesions, their molecular background is not well understood. I aim to shed more light into the molecular landscape of endometrial polyps with NGS methods. Endometrial carcinomas are common uterine cancers, and I am utilizing NGS methods to detect molecular factors indicating unexpectedly aggressive tumor behavior. Better understanding of molecular mechanisms behind benign and malignant tumorigenesis can provide new treatment targets and improve detection of malignant and unexpectedly aggressive tumor behavior.
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Lotta Katainen

Laboratory manager, MSc

I work as laboratory manager 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 

Terhi Ahvenainen, PhD, Molecular background of histopathological uterine leiomyoma variants. 

Janne Hänninen, MD

Vilja Jokinen, MSc

Maare Arffman, MSc