Currently, in addition to PI (Hannu Koistinen), one senior scientist (Susanna Lintula), two PhD students (Ruusu-Maaria Kovanen and Muhammad Ahmed) and one lab technician (Annikki Löfhjelm) are working in the group.
Docent of biochemistry, group leader
PI at Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
Author of 120 peer reviewed articles, h-index 33
President of the Biobio society
President of the Finnish National Committee for Biosciences
Orcid ID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0926-3109
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology
00290 Helsinki, FINLAND
Tel. +358-9 471 71734
Informal summary of the Curriculum Vitae
I am an adjunct professor of biochemistry at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland and since 2009 I have been a PI in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. After receiving my D.Sc. degree in 2000, I worked for two years as a Marie Curie Industrial Host fellow at GlaxoSmithKline, UK. Since 2004 I have been a Senior Scientist at the Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Helsinki, which includes a five-year period as an Academy Research Fellow.
In my doctoral thesis I identified diverse tissue specific glycoforms of glycodelin. Our findings demonstrated that the glycodelins represent one of the foremost examples of how glycosylation dictates the function of a glycoprotein. More recently my group went on to show that glycodelin is differentially glycosylated in endometrial cancer and differentiates endometrial cancer cells towards a less aggressive phenotype, resulting in reduced tumor growth in a preclinical animal model. These studies have generated almost 60 publications in journals such as Endocrine reviews and Diabetes.
During the last 16 years my main research focus has been on the functions and diagnostic potential of prostatic proteases. So far this has yielded three successfully completed doctoral theses I have supervised and well over 30 publications. Among these studies we showed that the antiangiogenic activity of PSA is dependent on its proteolytic activity. In an international collaborative effort, which I coordinated, we developed small molecule- and peptide-based stimulators of PSA activity, aiming to slow down prostate cancer growth.
In addition to basic research experience, I also have research experience in pharmaceutical industry from my postdoctoral period at GlaxoSmithKline, UK. This exposure to the drug discovery process, will be helpful when research innovations are translated to the benefit of patients.
Education of postgraduate students including supervision of PhD projects, and organization of student seminars and international symposia have been an integral part of my academic life. I feel that scientists have the responsibility to communicate science to a wider audience. For that purpose, I have taken on the role of Chairman of the Societas Biochemica, Biophysica et Microbiologica Fenniae (Biobio-society), a scientific society that promotes bioscience research in Finland. I am also the Chairman of the Finnish National Committee for Biosciences through which Finnish biosciences are represented internationally and the Finnish Peptide Society.
Susanna works with tumor markers of prostate cancer. In her PhD thesis in Genetics completed 2005 (University of Helsinki) she studied prostate specific mRNAs (PSA, HK2, PSM) in circulation and in prostatic tissue of prostate cancer patients. She showed that PSA mRNA can be found by RT-PCR in circulation of patients with metastatic disease but not in circulation of patients without metastases or metastatic patients with successful endocrine therapy. After that she has studied other tumor markers in prostate, as well as other cancers and published over 20 research articles.
Muhammad is a PhD student and works with protease inhibitors from cyanobacteria as a source of anticancer drug leads. He completed his bachelor's in biotechnology in 2013 from Forman Cristian College, Lahore Pakistan. He has M.Sc. degree from the University of Helsinki in Microbial biotechnology (2017). He has identified biosynthetic gene cluster from cyanobacteria for suomilide called natural compound, which he also identified as a selective inhibitor of human trypsin-isoenzymes. His PhD project revolves around identification and characterization of selective inhibitors of human trypsin-isoenzymes from cyanobacteria to prevent cancer cell invasion.
Ruusu-Maaria Kovanen is a doctoral student at the Koistinen group. Her research focuses on proteases as prognostic markers and targets for prostate cancer therapy. Ruusu obtained her MSc degree in Cell Biology from the University of Jyväskylä in 2008. Subsequently, she spent a year at the Baker IDI Heart&Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Upon her return to Finland, she was appointed as the Senior Laboratory Technician in the High Throughput Biomedicine unit at Finnish Institute for Molecular Medicine, FIMM. In 2014, she was recruited as a Laboratory Coordinator to the Kallioniemi group where she worked for six years in the area of systems medicine and precision therapeutics in cancer. Prior to joining the Koistinen group, Ruusu worked as a Lab Manager and Research Specialist in McWilliams lab, at the University of Helsinki. Currently, her work aims to identify and validate the proteases involved in prostate cancer growth, invasion and metastasis by developing novel 3D tissue and cell models.
Annikki Löfhjelm is a laboratory technician with about 20 years of experience in various cell, protein and molecular biology techniques. In addition to working with cell lines in 3D models, Annikki has carried out functional studies using patient-derived tissue and cell models, developed in the lab. She is proficient with immunohistochemistry, protein expression and purification, immunoassay development, DNA and RNA purification and quantitation, cloning and protein expression methods and many others. Annikki also takes care of the laboratory routines.