Our lab consists of diverse group of researchers from a broad spectrum of scientific fields and backgrounds.
Timo Laaksonen


Timo has a background in both chemistry and pharmaceutical research. He got his PhD from Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) in 2007 and has since concentrated on studying nanomaterials for drug delivery. He is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology at the Faculty of Pharmacy since 2019 and a former Professor of Chemistry at Tampere University (2016-2020). Prof. Laaksonen has experience in fundamental physical chemistry, pharmaceutical technology, various nanomaterials, and has in particular explored the use nanocellulose in drug release formulations. Recent work has concentrated on biophotonics, the use of advanced light-triggered reactions for drug release, and new method development such as the use of fluorescence life-time microscopy for pharmaceutical sample analysis.

Tatu Lajunen

University Researcher

Tatu got his PhD in Pharmacy from University of Helsinki in 2016. He works on drug delivery to challenging target sites, for example posterior segment of the eye, tumors and central nervous system. Tatu has diverse international research background through working in Santen Pharmaceuticals in Japan as well as Kyoto University and Tokyo University of Pharmacy & Life Sciences. He holds a shared position in University of Helsinki and University of Eastern Finland. The current focus of his research is the utilization of nanoparticle drug delivery systems for targeted treatment of diseases with biomacromolecules. With the help of his international network of collaborators, the work continues to progress the field towards better medications.

Patrick Laurén

University Lecturer

Patrick has been a university lecturer at the Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at the University of Helsinki since 2019 and the current director of Bachelor’s degree study programme. He defended his PhD thesis on nanofibrillar cellulose in biomedical applications in 2018 at the Faculty. The thesis was awarded the Best thesis of the year award by the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences (DONASCI). Patrick’s main interest in the research field is the design and use of biomaterials in drug delivery.

Jaakko Itkonen

Post Doctoral Researcher

Jaakko Itkonen received his PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Helsinki in 2020.  He has a strong background with biological drugs and therapeutic proteins, with his earlier work focusing more specifically on their clinical applications in ophthalmology. Upon graduation joining the Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology group, Jaakko’s research as a post-doctoral researcher is centered on developing light-activated liposomal carriers for the delivery and targeting of peptide-based drugs in oncologic diseases. 

Shirin Tavakoli

Post Doctoral Researcher

Shirin received her Pharm.D degree from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran in 2013. She received her PhD degree in Pharmacy from University of Helsinki. Her PhD thesis was on Intravitreal liposomes as ocular drug delivery systems and she defended her doctoral project, which was within NANOMED EU-project (H2020-MSCA-ITN), in June 2021. Her research focus as a post doctoral researcher is on drug delivery and targeting the light-activated liposomes for cancer and ocular applications. 

Vili Auvinen

Doctoral Student

Vili has been studying how to encapsulate pharmaceutically relevant materials in nanocellulose. Vili finished his master’s degree at Aalto University in 2017 and started his PhD studies in 2017. 

Eija Mäki-Mikola

Doctoral Student

In her doctoral project, Eija is looking at how to use multi-compartmental flow systems to better predict the targeting efficiency of nanoparticles. She is interested in enhancing anticancer drug delivery and in developing better in vitro platforms to support the research. Eija received her MSc in Pharmacy from University of Helsinki in 2020 and started as a PhD student in 2021. 

Anna Klose

Doctoral Student

Anna has studied Pharmacy at Heidelberg University in Germany. After receiving her license in 2020, she has started her PhD studies in Helsinki in 2021. In her doctoral project, she is looking at DNA-based nanoparticles for ocular drug delivery. 

Puja Gangurde

Doctoral Student

Puja has completed her Master’s degree (M.Pharm) from Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India. After her master's, she worked for two years in the pharmaceutical industry as a formulation scientist. She has started her PhD, at the University of Helsinki in 2021. In her doctoral project, she is focusing on light-activated drug delivery in combination with hydrogels for controlled drug release. 

Tampere University team

We are in active collaboration with the Supramolecular chemistry of bio- and nanomaterials -team at Tampere University. The team there is working on photochemistry and time-resolved spectroscopy/imaging, and support many of the activities and projects in Helsinki. The affiliated people are Dr. Nikita Durandin, Dr. Ekaterina Lisitsyna, Kaisa Rautaniemi, Jussi Isokuortti, Iida Haapalehto, and University lecturer Elina Vuorimaa-Laukkanen.

Please visit the web site for more information about current activities in Tampere!


Domestic collaborators

Prof. Arto Urtti - School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland

Prof. Marjo Yliperttula - Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki

Prof. Olli Ikkala - Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University

Dr. Tapani Viitala - Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki

Dr. Kirsi Rilla - School of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland

Dr. Veikko Linko - Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Aalto University

Dr. Alex Bunker - Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki

Dr. Astrid Subrizi - School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland

Dr. Marika Ruponen - School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland

International collaborators

Prof. Yuuki Takashima - Tokyo University of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, Japan

Dr. Xavier Le Guevel - Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Grenoble, France