The Färkkilä Lab members

People working in our group.
Anniina Färkkilä, MD PhD

Principal Investigator

Anniina Färkkilä is a gynecologist, and an Academy of Finland clinical research fellow. During 2017-2019 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, where her work focused on mechanisms of resistance and biomarkers for combination therapies in ovarian cancer. Currently, she is focusing on the treatment of gynecologic cancer patients at Helsinki University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and translational research. She coordinates the prospective Oncosys-Ova clinical study.

In 2018, she was awarded the Seth Wichmann award by the Finnish Gynecologic Society. Currently, her research focuses on understanding the complexity and cell-cell interactions in the tumor microenvironment using highly multiplexed imaging, advanced bioinformatics, and functional models in ovarian cancer. She is particularly interested in uncovering features that delineate the responses to novel combination- and immunotherapies.

Anniina Färkkilä contact information

Julia Casado, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral fellow working with single-cell proteomics analysis. My research focuses on the tumor microenvironment from highly-multiplexed images of tumor tissue. I design and integrate algorithms to perform cell type and cell state calling with emphasis on spatial localization and cell infiltration profiling.

Julia Casado contact information

Ashwini Nagaraj, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow

Ashwini’s research is focused on profiling tumor microenvironment particularly immune suppression in high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) tissue samples and matched organoid cultures. Her long-term goal is to evaluate response to immunotherapies in HGSOC organoid cultures.

Ashwini Nagaraj contact information

Ulla-Maija Haltia, MD PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Surgeon

Ulla-Maija Haltia, MD PhD. Specialist in obstetrics and gynecology.  Ovarian cancer is her main interest. She shares her time between clinical duties and translational research. 

Fernando Perez, MSc

PhD student

Fernando is interested in the response of the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment to different therapies, measuring the relationship of this response with the genotype of the patients (Phenotype-Genotype associations). For that, he is developing algorithms to analyze fluorescence images and performing genomic analysis.

Topics of interest: Bioinformatics, Image Analysis, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Genomics, Tumor Microenvironment, Population Genetics, Mexican Food, Video Games.

Fernando Perez contact information

Inga-Maria Launonen, BMed

PhD student

Inga-Maria is a medical student whose PhD projects focus on the effects of homologous recombination deficiencies and DNA damage on the tumor-immune interactions in high-grade serous ovarian cancer. She is especially interested in the spatial architecture and interactions in the tumor microenvironment that delineate therapy responses.

Inga-Maria Launonen contact information

Anastasiya Chernenko, MSc

Lab manager

Anastasiya Chernenko is the lab manager, technician and study nurse. She keeps Färkkilä Lab safe, clean, organized, equipped and smoothly running. 

Anastasiya Chernenko contact information

Matilda Salko, BMed

PhD student

Matilda is a medical student who is working on her PhD in Färkkilä Lab. Her work is mostly focused on the prospective Oncosys-Ova study. She is looking into the clinical characteristics and treatment responses as well as genomic data of ovarian cancer patients, aiming to better understand the real-world clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with HGSC

Elina Pietilä, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow


Elina is a postdoctoral fellow focusing on precision medicine in high-grade serous ovarian cancer using immunocompetent patient-derived ex vivo cultures. Her project bases on screening the effect of novel combinatorial immunotherapies on single-cell level in the tumor microenvironment.

Elina Pietilä contact information

Ella Anttila, BMed

Medical student


Ella is a medical student and she has been studying at the University of Oulu since 2018. Her main task in Färkkilä Lab is to help with data analysis in different projects concerning tumor microenvironment of HGSOC.

Angéla Szabó, BSc

Masters student


Angela is a master's student in Life Science Informatics at the Helsinki University. Her tasks mainly focus on celltype calling and image analysis. She's particularly interested in image visualization tools. 

Ada Junquera Mencía, BSc

Masters student


Ada recently obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Oviedo (Asturias, Spain) and she is currently a student in the Master's programme in Translational Medicine. Her research focuses on tCycIF as a tool to understand the tumor microenvironment in HGSC.

Maija Vääriskoski, Midwife

Study nurse

Experienced Nurse in the field of gynecology. Maija is particularly interested in gynecological cancers and digitalisation of healthcare. Works as a Midewife in Gynecological Outpatient Clinic and as a Study Nurse for Färkkilä’s lab. She recruits patients, ensures smooth sampling and works with the database.

Iga Niemiec, MSc

PhD student

Iga is a bioinformatician with an immunology background. Her PhD project focuses on the discovery of the immune escape mechanisms in the high-grade serous ovarian cancer. She is studying the genetic and spatial features shaping the tumor-immune interplay and leading to immune escape. She is combining genetics, spatial image and spatial transcriptomics data to better understand these complex interactions which have a huge impact on the patients’ response to therapy.

Iga Niemiec contact information