Group Aaltonen
Lauri A. Aaltonen, Academy Professor, M.D., Ph.D.
Reetta Alajoki, research assistant

I am finishing up my master's thesis project here at Aaltonen lab and will be graduating from the Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences. As a research assistant, my work focuses on the functional characterization of cell models for uterine leiomyoma driver mutations.

Reetta Alajoki contact info

Simona Bramante, Ph.D.

I am a postdoctoral researcher with a background in molecular biology and cancer gene therapy. I have a strong interest in translational research and precision medicine. My current work focuses on the development of patient-derived 2D and 3D models of uterine leiomyoma, as predictive preclinical models for drug discovery and drug design. I mainly perform cell culture experiments, genotypic and phenotypic characterization of in vitro-generated models and high-throughput drug sensitivity assays.

Simona Bramante contact info

Sini Ilves, Ph.D. student
Vilja Jokinen, Ph.D. student

I started working in Aaltonen lab in 2021 after graduating from the Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences. My research projects mainly focus on genetic alterations driving tumorigenesis in uterine leiomyomas. Our goal is to classify leiomyoma subtypes and understand mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis in these different tumor subtypes. My work includes both lab work and bioinformatics.

Vilja Jokinen contact info

Auli Karhu, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Molecular Ge­net­ics

My research is focused on identification and understanding molecular changes, genetic and epigenetic, that are critical for tumor development and progression. Identification of new genotype/phenotype correlations also in other clinical conditions are among my research interests. The work involves analysis and interpretation of next-generation sequencing data, transcriptome and methylation profiling and various cellular works.

Auli Karhu contact info

Riku Katainen, Ph.D., title of Docent

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Tumor Genomics (Aaltonen) and Machine Learning in Biomedicine (Pitkänen) groups. My research focuses mainly on next-generation sequencing-powered disease genetics, which involves analyses of inherited and somatically acquired genetic variants of all sizes as well as software development. I got my formal education in the University of Helsinki from where I received degrees in computer science (BSc), bioinformatics (MSc), and cancer genetics (PhD).

Riku Katainen contact info

Jaana Kaukomaa, M.Sc., PhD student

My research projects focus on characterizing the genetic background of uterine leiomyomas. The work involves analyzing whole genome, exome, and SNP array data.

Jaana Kaukomaa contact info

Alison London, M.Sc., senior laboratory technician

I am a senior laboratory technician. My duties principally include experimental planning and research. I troubleshoot and develop better working practices and design protocols for complex samples to facilitate and improve the quality and the quantity of data. I maintain our sample collection, manage the use of DNA stocks and the preparation of samples, including library preps for various downstream applications. I undertake the comparison of data and analysis, including interpretation and evaluation of results. On a general basis I perform various molecular genetic techniques such as DNA isolations, quantification analysis, PCR, fragment analysis, western blots, isolation of RNA and sequencing.

Alison London contact info

Samantha Martin, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

I recently joined the group as a PhD student and I will be working with microsatellite unstable colorectal cancer.

Samantha Martin contact info

Sini Marttinen, research nurse

I have worked as a research nurse in Aaltonen lab since Dec 2000. My responsibilities are genealogy work and sample management. I maintain and develop our database and combine cancer data with our sample database. As extra curriculum I am also the groups worry person, I co-arrange our recreational activities and I’m in charge of the safety issues.

Sini Marttinen contact info

Heikki Metsola, IT designer

I am part of our bioinformatics team. My main responsibilities are all data integrated actions and I try to create an illusion of easiness for our researchers, so that they wouldn't need to worry about their samples. Our data collection is ever increasing and the fluid use of it is a complex puzzle that we are trying solve on a daily basis.

Heikki Metsola contact info

Kimmo Palin, Ph.D., title of Docent

I am a senior staff scientist working both in Aaltonen and Taipale groups. My research is Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from genetics and functional regulatory genomics perspective. I'm involved especially with genetic epidemiology and biobank research related projects and have special interest in functional genomics, gene regulation and functional understanding of non-coding genetic variation.

Kimmo Palin contact info

Anniina Raitila, Ph.D.
Juuli Raivola, Ph.D.

I am a postdoctoral researcher working at Aaltonen lab, where my project focuses on characterization and drug screening of patient derived uterine leiomyoma and myometrium cells. Our aim is to depict the events that lead to the formation of myomas and to find drug candidates for more efficient, noninvasive treatment options.

In my main project at Daniela Ungureanu lab, I study the molecular mechanisms that drive ovarian cancer development. In this work, our goal is to find better treatment options against metastatic and resistant ovarian cancer using high-throughput drug screening and cell-based assays combined to single cell expression data.

Juuli Raivola contact info

Marjo Rajalaakso, research nurse

I am a research nurse.  While my work includes some genealogy and databasing tasks, I also support the lab by being responsible for ordering and compiling patient records as well as collecting and providing patient samples to the researchers such as fresh frozen tissue and FFPE blocks and slides.

Marjo Rajalaakso contact info

Kristiina Rajamäki, Ph.D.

I joined the Aaltonen lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2018. I have a strong background in innate immune signaling and working with primary human blood cells and tissues in translational studies involving complex and familial inflammatory diseases. At the Aaltonen lab, my work will focus on studying the genetics and cellular mechanisms of cancer types strongly associated with inflammation, including colitis-associated colorectal cancer. 

Kristiina Rajamäki contact info

Janne Ravantti, Ph.D., Docent

I work as a senior scientist / bioinformatican. My duties include basic research and related IT-support and -development. For my research I develop computational methods for processing and analyzing genomic information related to group's interests. In IT-support, I work with others to implement new methods and processes to improve our existing analysis pipelines. I also test new methods and instruct others in the selection and use of bioinformatics tools.

Janne Ravantti contact info

Maritta Räisänen, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

I am a PhD student with M.Sc degree major in human genetics. My project is part of the uterine leiomyoma regulatory genome project. My duties involve both lab work and data analysis of ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq and HiChIP from uterine leiomyomas.

Maritta Räisänen contact info



Lauri Sipilä, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

I’m a PhD student in the early phases of my project. My main focus is on studying environmental causes of tumorigenesis by trying to detect patterns of genetic damage in the tumors of patients who have had substantial exposure to carcinogenic agents due to their work environment or lifestyle choices. Finding such patients for study involves utilizing data sets gathered by Finnish national institutes over the past decades. Another branch of my project concerns using the same data to recognize familial cancer clustering that cannot be readily explained by previously known cancer syndromes, the reason behind which we will then study at the genomic level.

Lauri Sipilä contact info

Sirpa Soisalo, research secretary

My main duties involve genealogy work and databasing. I also have a variety of secretarial and administrative duties which include updating group's webpage, processing an assortment of paperwork, checking invoices, control of supplies, domestic and international travel arrangements as well as submitting travel expenses etc.

Sirpa Soisalo contact info

Päivi Sulo, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

I am a PhD student in bioinformatics. My research is focused on retrotransposons in the human genome. I detect somatic and germline transposons from whole-genome sequencing data and study the relationship between cancer and retrotransposition.

Päivi Sulo contact info

Aurora Taira, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

I’m a PhD student having my Master’s degree major in genetics and specialty in bioinformatics. My own project is about methylation in colorectal cancer. As a bioinformatican I’m balancing between genetics and computers. My job is to formulate the biological research questions in such a way that computers can understand them. Even though R and shell scripts are pedantic and sometimes frustrating tools they are researcher's best colleagues in this task.

Aurora Taira contact info

Iina Vuoristo, M.Sc., senior laboratory manager

I am junior laboratory manager. My duties include taking care of reagent and supply orders. I also maintain our patient lymphoblastoid cell line collection.

Generally I perform various techniques such as exome library prepping, DNA/RNA isolations, PCR/qPCR, immunohistochemistry, fragment analysis and cell culture.

Iina Vuoristo contact info

Niko Välimäki, Ph.D., title of Docent

Postdoctoral researcher. I received my PhD in computer science from the University of Helsinki in 2012. Since then I have continued at Aaltonen lab as a postdoc. My work involves bioinformatics and computational data analysis of the various high-throughput data. My current interests are in statistical inference and data science.

Niko Välimäki contact info

Inga-Lill Åberg, M.Sc., senior laboratory manager

I am the laboratory manager handling most of the techniques and equipment used in the lab. I am responsible for the chemicals and their safety handling, maintenance and service of the equipment and guiding of new members of the lab. In general I do various molecular genetic techniques, for example DNA, RNA and protein extractions, PCR, qPCR, Western blots, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, exome sequencing and bacterial methods, and I maintain the sample collection.

Inga-Lill Åberg contact info