Associate Professor, Principle Investigator
Sara studied medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland and absolved a M.D/PhD. program receiving her MD in 2001 and PhD in 2004. After postdoctoral training with Reinhard Fässler at Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, she was in 2010 appointed as a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany. Since 2018 she is an Associate Professor at the Helsinki Institute of Life Science.
Anu is a science-oriented Lab Manager who graduated as a Bachelor of Laboratory Sciences from Metropolia, University of Applied Sciences 2013. Worked previously in Research Program Unit (Genome Scale Biology) and Department of Immunology and Bacteriology. She is also a former Restaurant Manager with a Business Administration degree (2001). Keeps the pots boiling and wheels rolling on the operational level. Has passion for pilates, books and good single malt whiskey.
Leah is a native Iowan and completed her BSc in biology at Iowa State University. She obtained her PhD at the University of Iowa under the guidance of Dr. Martine Dunnwald, investigating keratinocyte differentiation and epidermal homeostasis. She then moved to the University of Helsinki for a postdoc in the Mikkola group to study hair follicle induction. Leah is interested in the signaling between stem cell niches to maintain skin homeostasis and developing technology to study and apply these principles.
Karolina received her BSc in Molecular Biology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland in 2014. She then completed a PhD in Stem Cell Research under the guidance of Dr Sally Lowell at the University of Edinburgh, where she studied the effects of cadherin switching on the neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells. She joined the Wickström lab in 2019, where her postdoctoral work is focused on understanding cancer heterogeneity and stem cell behaviour in 3D models of oral squamous cell carcinomas. When not in the lab, Karolina can usually be found playing beach volleyball, or cooking and eating tasty vegetarian food.
Postdoc - JSPS Fellowship
Koichiro received his bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Kyoto University, Japan. In his PhD project with Prof. Taiji Adachi at Kyoto University he explored conformational changes and mechanical behavior of mechanosensory proteins using single-molecule Atomic Force Microscopy. As a post-doctoral researcher he is interested in how mechanical loading modulates molecular dynamics of chromatin in developmental and pathological settings.
Postdoc - EMBO Fellowship
Kate is an engineer at heart and by training. She received her Bachelor’s degree from F.W. Olin College of Engineering in Boston and then moved on to do her PhD in the lab of Dr. Valerie Weaver at UC Berkeley & UC San Francisco where she focused on understanding the role of biophysical forces in modulating cancer aggression and progression. Kate then moved on as a Whitaker postdoctoral scholar to the Institute for Advanced Biosciences in Grenoble, France as a joint postdoc with the Wickström lab. Kate is interested in understanding how mechanical cues guide cell- and tissue-level fate decisions and behaviors and leads the group’s efforts in understanding the nuclear mechano-response and mechano-adapation of chromatin and the nuclear envelope to extrinsic mechanical cues. Hobbies - tennis and bioinformatics =)
Postdoc - Marie Curie Fellowship
Michele studied Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy and obtained a PhD in Strucural Engineering from the same institute in 2015. In 2017 he obtained a Marie Curie Fellowship and joined the Wickström lab at the Max Planck Institute. Michele uses a combination of experimental and theoretica approaches to understand how mechanical forces are sensed by the nucleus and how the nucleus responds to mechanical stress to protect the genome.
Irene holds a MSc in Biochemistry and a Phd in Medicine. She obtained her PhD in Translational Cancer Biology Research Program at University of Helsinki where she worked with Docent Marko Hyytiäinen and Prof. Jorma Keski-Oja. Her work focused on understanding cancer cell invasion using human brain cancer as a model. She investigated how cancer cell identity and polarity of the invasive sprouts are regulated by netrin signaling. After graduating she did a short postdoc in the group of Prof. Pirjo Laakkonen where she set up glioma angiogenesis models. In 2018 she joined the Wickström lab where her research interests lie in studying intercellular communication in a developmental context. She is aiming to resolve how biomechanics and interactions between different cell types coordinate the growth and cell fate in developing hair follicles. Outside the lab Irene is dancer at heart, excited golfer and curious traveller.
Karlo received his M.Sc. in Molecular Biology from the University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2018. In his master thesis at the Department of Molecular Biology he investigated the effects of ascorbic acid on osteosarcoma cancer stem cells. He joined the Wickström lab in May 2018 and is interested in the role of nuclear actin in chromatin architecture, transcription, and stem cell fate regulation. In his free time he enjoys traveling, meeting new people and trying local food.
Eman received her Masters of Science in Biotechnology from the American University in Cairo, Egypt in 2016. In 2017 she joined the Wickström lab for her PhD work. Eman is interested in the mechanisms and functional significance in cell fate plasticity both in healthy tissue resident stem cells and in cancer.
Ahsan obtained his Bachelors (B.Sc. Hons.) in Biotechnology from University of Health Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. During his B.Sc., he worked on isolation and molecular identification of zoonotic pathogens from poultry particularly Salmonella species. He graduated with M.Sc. in Molecular Bioengineering from Technische Universität Dresden. He performed his Master thesis research at Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, which focused on the molecular analysis of pancreatic β-cell maturation in zebrafish. He joined Wickstroem Lab in July 2018 for his PhD. Ahsan is interested in understanding how mechanosensory ion channels regulate proliferation, positioning and differentiation of epidermal stem cells. In the future, he aims to put his efforts in translational biology. Besides research, he has interest in swimming, cricket, badminton, photography and travelling..
Chrstine received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then moved on to do her PhD at the same university on mechanism by which Short Palate Lung Nasal Clone 1 (SPLUNC1) inhibits the Epithelial Sodium Channel. After graduating in 2016 she joined the Wickström lab. Christine is interested in stem cell metabolism and in how metabolic changes in the stem cell niche guide cell fate changes and stem cell function.
Janis received his M.Sc. in Technical Biology from the University of Stuttgart in 2015. He performed his Masters thesis work on Immature B-cell Selection in Lupus at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, USA. He then joined the Wickström lab at the Max Planck Institute for his PhD. Janis is interested in mechanical changes of the stem cell niche upon aging and how changes in the niche impact chromatin organization in stem cells.
Tim studies medicine at the University of Cologne and at the same time performs research work at the Wickström lab at the Max Planck Institute. Tim is interested in identifying mechanisms by which the stem cell genome is protected against mechanichal stress.
Postdocs: 2011-2013 Kristina Behrendt (now Bayer Healthcare) 2013-2016 David Schneider (now Bayer Technology Services) 2014-2015 Chloe Yeung (now postdoc University of Copenhagen, DK) 2016-2017 Saman Honarnejad (now scientist at Pivot Park Screening Centre, NL)
2013-2018 Carlos Andrés Chacón-Martínez
PhD students: 2010-2014 Jessica Morgner (now postdoc NKI, NL) 2011-2015 Sushmita Ghatak (now postdoc University of Cologne, GER) 2013-2016 Le Quang Huy (now postdoc at NKI, NL)
Master students: 2012 Christian Pichlo 2015 Nadja Breidenbach 2016 Stavroulla Artemiou 2017 Nina L’Hoest
Bachelor students: 2016 Maribel Schönewulff