Pia first discovered ”microparticles” during her PhD studies, while studying the role of collagen receptors in platelet functions including procoagulant activity. Platelet-derived EV staining of fibrin strands in thrombus-formation mimicking system of blood flow generated her first EV publication in 1996 . In 2000-2004, she did a post doc in the University of Cambridge U.K, on platelet collagen receptors. Upon returning to Finland, she worked as an Academy of Finland –funded independent post doctoral researcher and research fellow with the aim to develop tools for integrin affinity states with phage display before becoming a university lecturer in Biochemistry of Health in 2008. By then, the field of EVs had geared up, enabling a return to her passion. Soon also others joined in the quest to understand the communication of the cells’ own social media, EVs, which generated the EV group in 2011. 

In 2016, the EV group jointly with Dr. Maija Puhka in FIMM was proud to open the world’s first core facility dedicated to EVs to offer our expertise to other researchers in Finland and abroad. 

email: pia.siljander(at)helsinki.fi

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Mari’s research focuses on the potential of platelet-derived EVs as natural therapeutics in regenerative medicine, and currently she investigates how activating platelets with various agonists affects the molecular cargo of platelet-derived EVs. Mari has a long track record in omics (proteomics and metabolomics), which is utilized in the EV group in many projects. For example, she is studying the potential metabolomic fingerprint of cancer EVs. From september 2021 onwards, Mari started to work in the PLEASER project studying the effect of cancer-EVs on platelets as a university researcher. Mari also coordinates the EV core in Viikki. 

email: mari.palviainen(at)helsinki.fi
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Katariina’s research focus in the Extracellular Vesicle Ecosystem (EVE) consortium is in discovering the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of EVs where she is developing the EV flow cytometry and other new EV analytics. EV group participates in the EURAMET EMPIR project METVES II with the goal to standardize concentration measurements of EVs for medical diagnoses, and for this, Katariina is developing standardized test samples in collaboration with the group of Dr Rienk Nieuwland in AMC, the Netherlands.  

Katariina is finalizing a study of platelet-derived EVs in the context of cardiovascular diseases, where platelet activators relevant to cardiovascular diseases are analysed regarding their impact on platelet-derived EV number and composition, and how such EVs might contribute to the disease development.  

email: katariina.maaninka(at)helsinki.fi
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Alessandra became fascinated by biochemistry and cancer research during her PhD studies at the University of Campinas in Brazil, and in Molecular Medicine at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. During her PhD, Alessandra investigated hematogenous dissemination in colorectal cancer, and protein tyrosine phosphatases focusing on the roles in platelet-cancer cell interaction. Since 2021, she will be applying her expertise in the PLEASER project in which the effects of the platelet-derived EVs on melanoma are studied using cellular and molecular biology approaches. Reciprocally, she will study the impact of melanoma-derived EVs on platelet activation and signaling. 

email: alessandra.desousafaria(at)helsinki.fi
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Jaana has a background in evolutionary genetics and molecular systematics in which fields she did also her PhD and post doc projects. She has excitedly taken on a new field of biosciences by becoming a laboratory coordinator in the FastEV and EVE projects. 

email: jaana.kekkonen(at)helsinki.fi
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Johanna is fascinated by platelet biology and the innate therapeutic and biomarker potential of platelet-derived EVs. She is studying these topics in the EVE consortium and together with Mari. In her work, Johanna focuses on the characterization of the subpopulations of naturally occurring and agonist-induced platelet-derived EVs and their role in tissue healing and regeneration. Johanna did her master’s thesis on the use of asymmetric field flow fractionation on platelet-derived EV subpopulations. 

email: johanna.puutio(at)helsinki.fi
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Zeynep received her Master’s degree on different exosomal miRNA signatures in Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) disease from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biology, Turkey. Zeynep’s EV focus is on EV theranostics. She works together with Alessandra to identify the interactions between cancer cells and platelets through EVs in a 3D model with the aim to utilize platelet EVs for drug delivery. Zeynep’s first project in the EV group was to determine candidate biomarker molecules in cancer EVs through metabolomics and small RNA analyses, which she is doing together with Mari. 

email: zeynep.tavukcuoglu(at)helsinki.fi
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Rosabella has been working for EV-Core since 2019 and branched out into EV-group in the summer 2021, helping with several projects as a technical assistant.

Outside of her work in the EV-group, Rosabella studies physiology at the University of Helsinki and is working on her bachelors thesis on 'Extracellular vesicles as biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases'. After that she will focus on her masters degree in neurophysiology while continuing to work with EVs at the EV-Core.

Maija Puhka, Associate group member

As an associate group member of the EV group, Maija explores the commercialization options for an innovative and scalable EV isolation method, FastEV, in a joint project with Pia which has funding from Business Finland TUTL and UH HiPOC grants (-2021) and belonged to Spark Finland. Maija is dedicated to help researchers to grab the potential of the fast-developing EV field with improved technologies. The EV core facility, the functions of which Maija is heading at FIMM side, has the same focus.  

Maija also studies the EV contained (mi)RNA biomarkers for diabetic kidney disease and urological cancers at FIMM with Prof. Leif Groop, Adj. Prof. Vilja Pietiäinen and Prof. Antti Rannikko. 

email: maija.puhka(at)helsinki.fi
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Maria Aatonen, MSc, currently working at Faculty of Biological and Enviromental Sciences, UH

Heikki Saari, PhD, currently working at Finnish Red Cross Blood Services

Sami Valkonen, PhD, currently working at Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, UH

Kuan Kiat Chew, MSc

Maarit Neuvonen, PhD, currently working at Targovax Oy

Snehadri SInha, MSc, PhD student at Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Medical Faculty, UH 

Maarit Takatalo-Laine, PhD, currently working at Thermo Fischer

Elisa Lazaro Ibañez, PhD, currently working at Astra Zeneca

Saara Kauremaa, BSc, currently working at MobiDiag

Anna Lindelöf MSc, Currently working at Bio-Rad Laboratories

Natalia Koralewska, PhD, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2019

Jesus Gullon Sanz, BSc, 2018

Arturs Abols, PhD, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, 2016 

Manuel de Aledo Gonzales, BSc, 2016