People working in Takashi Namba´s group.
Takashi Namba

Principal Investigator

Dr. Takashi Namba’s research focuses on neocortical development and cellular dynamics that give rise to the complex architecture of the mammalian brain.

After receiving his PhD from the Waseda University of Japan in 2007, Dr. Namba continued as a research fellow at the National Institute of Neuroscience in Japan until 2009, when he was appointed as an assistant professor at Nagoya University. In 2014, he joined the department of Dr. Wieland B. Huttner at the Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics. Namba is interested in human neocortical development under physiological and pathological conditions.

Liliia Andriichuk


Liliia got her M.Sc. in Biochemistry from Donetsk National University, Ukraine in 2010. After graduation, she started her research in investigating conformational changes in mutant tyrosyl-tRNA synthetases in Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease in the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Ukraine. In 2013 she joined Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Amosov National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Surgery, Kyiv, Ukraine as a Biochemist. She got a scholarship for her Doctoral studies from EDUFI, Finland, and started her PhD studies in 2016 in Claudio Rivera’s group, the University of Helsinki. Her PhD topic covers activity-dependent mechanisms of neuronal migration and integration in the mouse cortex. Liliia joined Takashi Namba’s group in 2022, where she currently investigates the role of mutations in components of the cytoskeleton on Axon Initial Segment formation in neurons of the developing cortex. Her research interests also focus on the role of maternal nutrition on the neocortical development.

Matilde Aquilino

Doctoral student

Matilde graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Piemonte Orientale (UNIUPO), Novara, Italy in 2021. Her master thesis project was carried out in the Translational Neuroscience group led by Jaan-Olle Andressoo, at the University of Helsinki. The project focused on the role of GDNF during cortex development. After graduation, she worked in Andresso´s group as a research assistant until September 2021. Matilde joined Takashi Namba´s group in November 2021 as a PhD student to work on neural progenitor cell metabolism in neurodevelopmental disorders using iPSCs and brain organoids.

Maxim Bespalov

Research coordinator

Maxim earned his PhD in genetics from the University of Helsinki in 2010, working on neurotrophic factors with Prof. Saarma. He later oversaw the launch of the High-Throughput Biology Unit at FIMM, University of Helsinki. In 2012 Maxim became a Sigrid Juselius postdoctoral fellow and moved to San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy to work on in vivo reprogramming of glia into dopaminergic neurons. Upon return to Finland Maxim joined Prof. Otonkoski's group and worked on CRISPR-activators-based cell reprogramming and on modeling early human caudal brain development using brain organoids. In 2019 he joined Prof. Suomalainen-Wartiovaara's group to model mitochondrial diseases using patients-stem-cells-derived neurons. Maxim joined Takashi Namba’s group in 2022 to work on the metabolic vulnerabilities of human glioblastoma and on the metabolic aspects of early human neurogenesis.

Vasiliki Gkini

Doctoral student

Vasiliki acquired her B.Sc. degree on Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Thessaly in 2018. She graduated with a M.Sc. degree in Neuroscience from the University of Helsinki in 2021. She joined the Namba group in 2021 as a Master's thesis student and is now continuing with her PhD project. Her focus is on the evolutionary implication of human neural progenitor cell metabolism in glioblastoma growth.

Inés Gómez Lozano

Research Assistant

Inés finished her B.Sc. degree in Biotechnology from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in 2020. She started her M.Sc. degree in Neuroscience at the University of Helsinki and will graduate soon. Since January 2023, she is working as a Research Assistant in our lab mainly focusing on iPSCs and brain organoids.


Zeynep İloğlu

Research Assistant

Zeynep obtained a B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Middle East Technical University (METU) in 2022. She completed her M.Sc. in Neuroscience at the University of Helsinki in 2024. She conducted her thesis research in Jari Koistinaho’s group at the University of Helsinki, focusing on optimizing cortical interneuron differentiation protocols using iPSC lines derived from Alzheimer’s patients. Zeynep joined the Namba group as a research assistant in February 2024 to work on the cell metabolism of human glioblastoma.

Seiya Yamada-Sato


Seiya started his PhD journey as a JSPS-DC1 research fellow under the Shin-ichi Sakakibara’s group at the Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Japan in 2020. His research mainly focused on the identification and functional analysis of novel genes involves in neural stem and progenitor cells (NPCs) during mammalian cortical development. After Seiya received his PhD from Waseda University while serving as a research assistant at the university in 2022, he continued his research as an assistant professor (non-PI) at Waseda University for two years. In 2024, Seiya joined Takashi Namba’s group as a postdoctoral research fellow to work on the cell metabolism of NPCs in human brain development.






Photo credit: Tammi and Mäntynen