Group Members

Meet us

Ahmed Al-Samadi, DDS, PhD

Ahmed is an Associate professor at the University of Eastern Finland, as well as an Academy research fellow at the University of Helsinki.

Ahmed graduated from a PhD program at the University of Helsinki and completed his DDS at the University of Mosul.

He was previously employed as a Post-Doc in Prof. Tuula Salo’s group at the University of Helsinki, and during his career has also practiced as dentist.

Ahmed's contact details at UH and UEF 

Aini Hyytiäinen, PhD

Aini's research focuses on the prognostic value of neutrophils in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Aini graduated from the Doctoral program in Clinical Research at the University of Helsinki, and her work gained her the award for “Best Thesis in Dentistry 2021”.

She was previously employed as a PhD student in prof. Tuula Salo’s group, and as a research assistant in Prof. David Rice’s group at the University of Helsinki. She has also practiced as occupational therapist and dentist.

Aini's contact details 

Meri Torri, DDS, PhD

Meri's research focuses on providing oral cancer patients with better and more effective treatments, in particular investigating immune checkpoint inhibitors as a new therapy modality.

Meri graduated from the Doctoral program in Clinical Research at the University of Helsinki, and also completed her DDS at the University of Helsinki.

She was previously employed as a PhD student in prof. Tuula Salo’s group and is still practicing as a dentist. She has recently been appointed as Chief Dental Officer for the Kymenlaakso region. 

Meri's contact details 

Zivile Giedraityte, PhD

Zivile's research focuses on finding neo-antigens in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. 

Zivile's contact details 

Martina Giacomini, M.Sc.

Martina's research focuses on identifying resistance mechanisms and improving the patients’ response to immunotherapies in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Martina completed a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the University of Udine and a M.Sc. in Molecular biology and Genetics from the University of Pavia.

During her studies she took part in two Erasmus+Interniship programs, in the “Sampaolesi group” at KU Leuven and in the “Viral zoonosis research unit” at the University of Helsinki.

Martina's contact details  

Varuni Ratnayake, M.Sc.

Varuni's research focuses on determining the prognostic value of neutrophils in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and identifying its role in cancer progression.

Varuni completed two M.Sc. degrees, in Cellular and Molecular Immunology from the University of Colombo and in Biochemistry from the University of Oulu.

She was previously employed for two years as a teacher/scientific assistant at the University of Colombo, and as a research assistant in the “Complement group” at the University of Helsinki.

Varuni's contact details 

  • Adam Sandell at UEF
  • Joosua Suominen at UEF