People

Our interdisciplinary team shares a passion for exploring the underpinnings of molecule dynamics in live cells. We are affiliated with the Biomolecular Structure and Function Research Program at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki
Jarno Mäkelä, PI

Jarno Mäkelä did his PhD on transcription dynamics using single RNA microscopy measurements and modelling in the group of Andre S. Ribeiro at the Tampere University in 2016. He then moved to University of Oxford to work as a postdoc in the group of David Sherratt to study how bacterial chromosomes are organized and compacted using super-resolution microscopy and single molecule tracking. In 2020, he moved to Stanford University to study the effect of ploidy on growth dynamics in different bacteria. After receiving the Academy Research Fellow grant from Academy of Finland, he has now established a new research group at Institute of Biotechnology at University of Helsinki to study extreme temperature adaptation at single molecule level in live bacteria.

Ada Pajari, Doctoral researcher

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at Åbo Akademi University in 2017 and continued to pursue my interest in microscopy during my studies at the Biomedical Imaging master’s program, which was a joint degree program by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. In my master’s project, I used spinning disk confocal microscopy and image analysis to investigate the function and potential significance of a previously ill-defined protein in the rare neurological disease called cerebral cavernous malformations. In 2023, immediately after the completion of my master’s degree, I started my PhD research project at the Mäkelä lab to study the molecular mechanisms that enable temperature adaptation in E. coli using super-resolution microscopy and single-molecule tracking.

Chris Hayes, Research Assistant

Chris Hayes is a masters student at the University of Helsinki. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in molecular biology, and his honors project was on DNA topology. Now in the Jarno Mäkelä lab, Chris aims to understand how bacteria are able to control the nucleoid's physical properties using nucleoid-associated and topologically-active proteins at various temperatures.

Aakeel Wagay, Doctoral researcher

I completed my master’s in Biotechnology from University of Kashmir, India which is flanked by the world-famous Dal Lake, in 2021. In my master’s dissertation, I was interested in understanding the molecular basis of fragile X Syndrome (FXS), a neurodevelopmental disorder and fragile X tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Following this, my academic trajectory transitioned to an intensive study of protein-DNA interactions, employing cutting edge super-resolution microscopy techniques including DNA-PAINT and dSTORM at IISc, Bangalore. Currently, I’m pursuing my doctoral studies at the Mäkelä lab focusing on unraveling the interplay between temperature adaptation and molecular dynamics in prokaryotic systems using super-resolution microscopy and single molecule tracking, aiming to contribute to the broader understanding of cellular behavior. Beyond my research pursuits, I like playing cricket and football.

Dan Noel, Postdoctoral researcher

Dan completed his PhD at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Sandra Wilks and Bill Keevil, during which he investigated the limitations of common antibacterial disinfectants used for infection control. Through this project he developed a keen interest in understanding how bacteria are able to adapt to stressful conditions and environments. This includes both the long-term temperature adaptations exhibited by extremophiles, and the short-term stress responses seen in bacteria as a result of temperature shock. He is now a postdoc in the Jarno Mäkelä lab group, primarily investigating the impact of temperature on cytoplasmic state and single-molecule dynamics in extremophiles.

Taras Redchuk, Postdoctoral researcher
Eveliny Nery, Postdoctoral researcher
Noora Roos, Research assistant

Noora is a final year BCs student in biology with an orientation in microbiology. She currently works with the major E. coli nucleoid associated proteins to study how their movement and DNA binding dynamics is affected by a wide range of temperatures.

Alumni

Yu Sato (Visiting scholar, Assistant Professor, Yamaguchi University, Japan)