Members of the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab

The group con­sists of many ex­perts and re­search­ers with out­stand­ing know­ledge in the field of immunovirotherapy.
Vincenzo Cerullo


Vincenzo Cerullo, Vince, is professor of Biological Drug Development, Faculty of Pharmacy, Head of Drug Research Program, HiLIFE fellow, Translational Immunology Programme, University of Helsinki.

Orcid id: 0000-0003-4901-3796

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Vince is our fearless leader and has extensive knowledge in immunoviro therapy and is highly skilled in developing new platforms in the fight against cancer. 

Vincenzo Cerullo, Vince, is professor of Biological Drug Development, Faculty of Pharmacy, Head of Drug Research Program, HiLIFE fellow, Translational Immunology Programme, University of Helsinki.

Vince got his PhD at Centre for genetic Engineering (CENIGE) at University of Naples, Federico II in 2004, then he moved to Houston Texas (USA) for a postdoc at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2009 he moved to University of Helsinki where he worked as senior researcher until 2012 when he was awarded the tenure-track professorship and started the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab.  In these years IVTLab has raised more than 5 million Euros for research, including the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant, HiLIFE fellow and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation grant. The group has produced tens of scientific papers and patents and has co-founded a multimillion spin-off company together with the University of Helsinki (VALO therapeutics). Vince has been awarded the Outstading Young Investigator award in 2014 by the European Society of Gene and cell Therapy and the Excellence in Research award by the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in 2015.

One of Vince’s passion is science dissemination, this is why has been involved from the beginning in organizing the Science track in Slush, he has pitched himself on the Slush stage in 2015, 2016 and on the Slush Y Science stage in 2017 ( Among other things, he has also presented a TEDx talk on the importance of creativity in science (

In his spare time Vince likes to spend time with his family both in Finland and Italy. 

Vincenzo Cerullo's research and contact information

Vincenzo Cerullo on LinkedIn




Mikaela Grönholm

Adjunct professor

Mikaela is a senior researcher with a background in immunology and cancer research. She is developing organoid culture systems to study tumor-immune system interactions and test therapies.

Her spare time is filled by family, handball and culture.  

Mikaela Grönholms research and contact information

Mikaela Grönholm on LinkedIn


Sara Feola

Postdoctoral researcher

Sara has been with the lab already since the beginning of 2016 when she started as a PhD student. She defended her thesis  in the spring 2018 and is now working as a junior post doc in the lab. Sara is involved in the identification of tumor antigens for developing personalized cancer vaccine. She is further also active in the process of  coating oncolytic viruses with peptides to stimulate both de-novo and pre-existing immune response. Sara likes and is a big fan of science fictions tv series and specially the phenomenon of the TARDIS.

Sara Feola's research and contact information 

Sara Feola on LinkedIn

Manlio Fusciello

PhD student

Manlio is a PhD student in our lab since the fall 2016. He came to our lab from the University of Toronto. Manlio is developing a new platform for fighting cancer by using oncolytic viruses and nanotechnologies. His scientific passion is to discover "the" new and revolutionary  application that has not yet been discovered. According to Manlio viruses are the future in cancer immunotherapy. Manlio is an adventurous traveller and also plays the piano and the guitar.

Manlio Fusciello's research and contact information

Manlio Fusciello on LinkedIn

Jacopo Chiaro

PhD student

Jacopo  joined the IVT Lab in february 2018 to pursue his  PhD.

His  project is based on the design of a bioinformatic platform to identify tumor antigens similar to immunogenic microbial peptides in order to use those latter to produce a molecular mimicry-mediated crossreactivity to elicit a stronger antitumoral response.

Among the things that Jacopo likes the most there is biking and enjoying the nature. He also likes to spend time with his friends. In addition he likes playing and recording music.

Jacopo Chiaro's research and contact information

Firas Hamdan

PhD Student

Firas is a PhD student that joined the IVT lab in September 2018. Before joining the lab, he completed two masters in Cancer Biology (University of Kent) and Infection and Immunity (Utrecht University) and has done many research internships all over the world. His dream is to develop an anti-cancer therapy available to patients and hopes to accomplish that in his PhD. Due to his multi-cultured origins, Firas is trying to bringing the best of both worlds by developing viruses able to secrete anti-tumour antibodies. However, he does not intend to let them secrete plain antibodies but antibodies with a twist.

In his spare time, Firas loves to play competitive handball in the Finnish league, binge watch Rick and Morty and collect vinyl’s. He is also trying to accomplish one of his bucket-list ideas by travelling to every country possible.  

Firas Hamdan research and contact information

Firas Hamdan on Linkedin

Otto Kari

Commercial Champion

Otto is responsible for the commercialisation of PeptiCHIP and also supports other IVT Lab research-to-business projects as the commercial champion. Previously, he was a long-time scientific collaborator of the IVT Lab. His scientific work as a postdoctoral researcher focuses on the development of novel methods to study protein corona formation on nanoparticles, viruses and extracellular vesicles, using the combined expertise of different research groups at the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine. He is passionate about humanitarian work and if you cannot reach him by phone, he is probably playing tennis or engaging in some form of physical exercise.

Otto Kari's research and contact information

Otto Kari on LinkedIn



Katarina Fellman

Project coordinator

Katarina is our project coordinator who takes care of everything non scientific.  Her professional background is mainly in administration, sales and marketing.  Katarinas main objective in her job is to do all the background stuff so that the scientists can concentrate on doing their science.

In her spare time she takes care of her family, dogs and horse.

Katarina Fellman's contact information

Katarina Fellman on LinkedIn


Erkko Ylösmäki

Erkko  was   a senior  postdoctoral researcher at the IVT Lab.  His tasks also included teaching   at  courses related to his field.  In addition Erkko supervised students with their theses. His job at the IVT lab was to develop novel platforms for cancer immunotherapy using different viruses and bacteria. Erkkois  a keen nature photographer whenever he has  time to do that!

Erkko currently works as Director Research and Development at Rokote Laboratories Oy. 

Erkko Ylösmäki's research and contact information

Erkko Ylösmäki on LinkedIn