Group members and contact information.
Olli Kallioniemi

Principal Investigator, MD, PhD.

Olli Kallioniemi was the founding director of FIMM in 2007-2015, and continues a part-time appointment at FIMM as a leader of his research group. His main position is now Director of SciLifeLab, a national infrastructure for life sciences in Sweden, as well as professor of Molecular Precision Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

Olli received his M.D. in 1984, Ph.D. in 1988 and did his postdoc at UC San Francisco in 1990-1993. Before his term as a FIMM director, he was professor and founding director of the Medical Biotechnology Goup at VTT / University Turku in 2001-2007 as well as head of the Translational Genomics Unit/Section at NHGRI, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA in 1995-2001.

Olli Kallioniemi is an author of 383 publications in PubMed and 579 in Web Of Science (with 44,915 citations, H-index 106)  He has supervised 27 doctoral theses. Current research is focusing on precision systems medicine in leukemia and solid tumors, such as acute myeloid leukemia, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Olli Kallioniemi has received several awards, such as the Anders Jahre Young Scientist Prize, NIH Director’s lecture, AACR team science award, IFCC-Abbot Award for Molecular Diagnostics and the main annual medical prize in Finland (Duodecim-Äyräpää). Olli Kallioniemi has been a director or a member of Centers of Excellence (Academy of Finland and Marie Curie Center grant) four times, a co-PI in 11 EU framework grants and in one IMI grant, and participated in four ESFRI/ERIC infrastructure networks.

Olli Kallioniemi is a member of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the National Academy of Science and Letters (Finland), European Academy of Cancer Sciences as well as the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet.

Vilja Pietiäinen

Senior scientist, PhD, Adj. professor

Vilja Pietiäinen is a senior scientist and a team leader of personalized urological tumor project (DEDUCER) and ERAPerMed -funded COMPASS project (Clinical implementation Of Multidimensional PhenotypicAl drug SenSitivities in paediatric precision oncology). Her research focuses on the systems medicine and precision therapeutics in cancer. She has a M.Sc. in biochemistry and Ph.D. in virology/cell biology in 2005 (University of Edinburgh, U.K.; University of Helsinki-UH, Finland), as well she is an adjunct professor in molecular and cellular biology. Currently, she is particularly dedicated to develop high-content phenotypic image-based characterization and ex vivo drug testing of patient-derived cancer cell models. 

Astrid Murumagi

Senior Scientist, PhD

Astrid Murumägi is a senior scientist at the Kallioniemi group. She received her PhD in Molecular Immunology at the University of Tampere.  During her postdoctoral training she transitioned to systems biology and genomics by joining Prof. Olli Kallioniemi´s team at FIMM in 2009. Her work is focused on applying systems medicine in cancer research. She is involved in the FIMM Grand Challenge on Individualized Systems Medicine program. More specifically, she is responsible for ovarian cancer and melanoma functional precision medicine projects, where patient-derived cancer cells are used for comprehensive drug sensitivity testing and molecular profiling to identify best treatment strategies for patients. In addition she is involved in several collaboration projects where the drug testing platform has been applied to uncover novel drug vulnerabilities in cancer cells.

Teijo Pellinen

Senior Scientist, PhD

Teijo Pellinen is a senior scientist and a team leader of the Molecular Spatial Pathology. He has worked in the Kallioniemi group since 2011. Pellinen has set up the FIMM multiplexed IHC (mIHC) technology, which has also been implemented as a service in the FIMM Digital Microscopy and Molecular Pathology unit, which is part of the HiLife core facilities. He is currently focusing in understanding the biology of tumour-stroma interactions and profiling of stroma-associated markers for risk and therapy stratification.

Vesa Rahkama

Doctoral Student

Vesa Rahkama is a PhD student at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM). His research focuses on developing and utilizing novel patient-derived cell and tissue culture models for prostate cancer. He completed his Master of Science degree at the University of Jyväskylä in 2012 in Cell and Molecular Biology and his thesis research on Androgen receptor and FOXA1 was conducted at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. Currently he is engaged in the development of a highly reproducible, robust and extensive culture system for human tissues and cells.

Mariliina Arjama

Laboratory Coordinator, Lic. MSc

Mariliina Arjama is a laboratory coordinator at the Kallioniemi group. She received her M.Sc. in Microbiology and biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. She joined Prof. Olli Kallioniemi´ s team at FIMM in 2011. Optimizing cancer therapy based drug sensitivity testing and deep molecular profiling, especially for ovarian cancer and melanoma functional precision medicine projects. Bringing new drugs to cancer patients in a personalized way.

Minttu Polso

Laboratory  Coordinator, MSc

Involved in various single-cell related shenanigans. Recent focus in single-cell transcriptomics and morphology based cell recognition/isolation; utilizing high-content screening microscopy, image analysis, machine learning and laser microdissection microscopy.

Katja Välimäki

Laboratory Coordinator, B.Eng

Katja Välimäki is a laboratory coordinator at the Kallioniemi group. She start working at FIMM and group in 2010. Katja has bachelor of biotechnology engineering degree.

Katja has long experience of many laboratory techniques from westen blotting to cell culture and crispr. She has been involved in the development of multiplexed immunohistochemical stainings and nowdays she is mostly responsible groups IHC stainings and tissue imagine. She is also part of many collaboration projects.

Katja is working daily cooperation with FIMM digital microscopy and molecular pathology unit and she is units coordinators spare person.

Michaela Feodoroff

Doctoral Student

Michaela Feodoroff is a PhD student at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM). Her research focuses on discovering novel, enhanced immunotherapeutic treatments for urological solid tumors. She is currently focusing on immune system-mediated control of tumor growth and disease progression through the development of a testing pipeline. 3D tumor models, drug sensitivity and resistance testing (DSRT) and oncolytic viruses hold the focus of her research in precision and translational cancer medicine.

Sara Kuusela

Postdoctoral Researcher

Sara Kuusela is a postdoctoral researcher in the Kallioniemi group, with a M.Sc. in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in biomedicine from the University of Helsinki. In early 2022, she made a transition from translational metabolism research to translational cancer research. Currently, Sara is working in the iCAN-PEDI project, which is a part of the iCAN flagship— the digital precision cancer medicine discovery platform.

Currently her work focuses to utilizing phenotypic image-based characterization and functional ex vivo drug sensitivity and resistance testing (DSRT) of patient-derived cancer cells (PDCs) to identify treatment opportunities for pediatric solid malignancies through comprehensive molecular understanding of the tumors. Her research also aims to develop a functional precision medicine pipeline, combined with multimodal molecular characterization and AI-assisted data integration, to investigate and improve therapeutic approaches for patients with pediatric solid tumors.

Tamara J. Luck

Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr. rer. nat

Tamara J. Luck joined the group as a postdoc and computational biologist in the spring of 2022. She previously completed her PhD in Molecular Medicine at Ulm University, Germany, developing new tools for the study of acute myeloid leukemia using different genomic and transcriptomic sequencing data ( She also completed a first postdoc at the CRUK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, UK, studying patterns of synonymous mutation and codon usage shared across different tumor types. In our group, she continues to work towards the effective integration of the complex and high-dimensional data that is obtained from the extensive cancer sample profiling performed within iCAN and our urological and pediatric precision medicine projects.


Caroline Högel-Starck

Technical Assistant