I am an Acedemy of Finland Research Fellow (2018–2023) and the group leader of the Tracers in Molecular Imaging Group since January 2020. I have been a member of the TRIM team since the beginning of my Ph.D. studies in Radiochemistry in 2007. My Ph.D. studies were focused on the development of fluorine-18 -radiolabeled molecular imaging tools for the in vivo evaluation of porous silicon drug delivery systems, which sparked the interest to remain in the "margins" of radiopharmaceutical chemistry developing new molecular imaging tools to facilitate the translation of promising nanoscale drug delivery systems and materials from in vitro cell models to preclinical models. After my Ph.D., I trained years 2014–2016 under the mentorship of Dr. Jason S. Lewis as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Radiology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA. Upon return to Helsinki, my research has focused on the development and evaluation of multimodality imaging probes for nanocrystalline cellulose (CNC) and lignin drug delivery systems, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in cancer immunotherapy. I especially enjoy the multidisciplinary nature of radiopharmaceutical chemistry, which allows me to combine radiochemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, histology, and laboratory animal science without having to pick one discipline! My research is currently funded by the Academy of Finland, and I am a supervisor of five Ph.D. students at the Doctoral Programme for Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS-DP). I also manage the Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry services provided by our group through the Helsinki Animal in Vivo Imaging Platform (HAIP) and Biocenter Finland.

ORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2956-4366

Mirkka
Sarparanta
Academy Research Fellow
Department of Chemistry
Field of science Chemical sciences

I got my B.Sc. and M.Sc degrees at the University of Jyväskylä, testing radiation detectors. After that I started doctoral studies in the Gamma spectroscopy group at the accelerator laboratory of the Department of Physics, University of Jyväskylä. In my Ph.D. work I studied in-beam and decay spectroscopy of very neutron-deficient bismuth and astatine nuclei. After finishing the Ph.D. in 2009 I worked for one year as a laboratory engineer here in the Radiochemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki. After that I did some teaching, including the spring semester in 2011 as a primary school science teacher in Vantaa. Subsequently I went to work as a researcher in the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Geel, Belgium, measuring cross sections of inelastic neutron scattering. After almost nine years in Belgium, I returned back to Finland in February 2021 to take up the formidable task of replacing Kerttuli Helariutta as the senior laboratory engineer here at the Department of Chemistry. I am responsible for the cyclotron, radiation detectors, radiation safety, teaching nuclear spectrometry, and other support for scientific research. I am looking forward to participating in the various interesting research programs that are being conducted here!

MN
Markus
Nyman
Senior Engineer
Department of Chemistry

During my doctoral research at Georgetown University I developed Gd(III)-peptide based activatable MRI contrast agents for kinases overexpressed in cancer and Rh-phosphine based catalysts to steer stereoselectivity in hydroformylation reactions. I was also involved in teaching general, physical and organic chemistry laboratory and recitation sessions along with mentoring undergraduate students. In my postdoctoral research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center I worked on numerous preclinical projects. I developed activatable optical contrast agents and targeted drug delivery techniques using Cerenkov luminescence. I used PET imaging to evaluate efficacy of vascular targeted photodynamic therapy in prostate cancer. I performed clinical research to evaluate the efficacy of Cerenkov imaging device to detect tumors in patients undergoing PET/CT. 

My current project is to build modular and standardized e-learning content on application of nuclear medicine in cancer diagnosis and therapy for the EU commission MEET-CINCH project. I am also responsible for coordination of the Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry services for the Helsinki In Vivo Animal Imaging Platform (HAIP).

Professionally I am interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and business development related to diagnosis and therapy of cancer. Personally I enjoy snowboarding, soccer and motorcycles!

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9393-204X

SD
Sudeep
Das
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Chemistry
Field of science Chemical sciences

I started my Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellowship in September 2020. I’m interested in utilizing molecular imaging to track the bioaccumulation and bioretention of micro- and nanoplastic in mammals. For this purpose, I’m developing radiolabeling methods for plastic materials, such as polystyrene, polyethylene and polypropylene. I did my PhD studies in TRIM team (2013-2018) after which I moved to New York to join Dr. Brian M. Zeglis’ lab at Hunter College where I will continue to conduct majority of my Academy of Finland fellowship. In my Ph.D. studies I used bioorthogonal chemistry for in vivo pretargeting. I’m still very interested and excited about the applications of pretargeting in molecular imaging.

ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3939-6706

Contact information: outi.keinanen@helsinki.fi

 

OK
Outi
Keinänen
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Chemistry
Field of science Chemical sciences

I originally come from Albania, a beautiful country in  Southeast Europe. After high school, I moved to Italy to pursue a single-cycle Master´s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology  at University of Siena. This degree  focuses on chemical, biochemical and chemical-pharmaceutical disciplines, with particular emphasis on practical laboratory activities. Due to this multidisciplinary approach I have a solid background not only in organic and medicinal chemistry but also in biology and other related disciplines. On the last year of my Master's degree I carried out my experimental thesis in the Drug Research Program at the University of Helsinki under the guidance of Prof. Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma as an Erasmus student. My thesis work  focused on the synthesis of novel nature-inspired compounds as quorum sensing inhibitors capable of tackling the bacterial biofilm of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a leading multi-drug resistant pathogen. During this experience I fell in love with Finland.

I started my Ph.D. studies in January 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Mirkka Sarparanta. My research project is focused on the development of PET and multimodal imaging tools for the tracking of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in vivo in the course of cancer immunotherapy. The future of drug discovery remains exciting and I think that radiopharmaceuticals will play a crucial role in this process.

 

AB
Anisa
Biti
Doctoral Student
Department of Chemistry
Field of science Chemical sciences

I achieved a master’s degree after graduating from the University of Urbino (Division of Biomolecular Science, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology), Italy. Being a passionate student, I gained consolidated knowledge of fundamental subjects as well as related applied disciplines. During my study I became interested in pharmaceutical chemistry. This prompted me to carry out my experimental thesis in the Drug Research Program (DRP) at the University of Helsinki under the guidance of Prof. Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma as an Erasmus student. My thesis work at DRP aimed towards the synthesis of novel marine alkaloid derivatives as possible antileishmanial agents. Having enjoyed the academic working environment at the University of Helsinki, I pursued an Erasmus+ traineeship in the DRP in the same topic. During these experiences I fell in love with Helsinki city as well as research.

I started my Ph.D. studies in January 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Mirkka Sarparanta. My research project is focused on PET imaging tracers to visualize immune checkpoint inhibition and activated T cells in vivo in the course of cancer immunotherapy. What I love the most about my project is the multidisciplinarity, allowing me to develop a wide range of skills from different disciplines. I am confident gaining expertise in Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry will shape my future as a researcher and hopefully give my contribute to oncologic imaging.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0095-1087

Alessia
Centanni
Doctoral Student
Department of Chemistry
Field of science Chemical sciences

I obtained B.Sc. (Hons) in Molecular and Cell Biology from the National University of Singapore in 2018. I have started my doctoral studies in Doctoral Program in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS-DP) at the department of chemistry, University of Helsinki in September 2019. As I am keen on the multidisciplinary aspects in radiochemistry, my doctoral studies are in collaboration between TRIM and Radionuclide Fate and Reaction groups under the supervision of Dr. Mirkka Sarparanta and Prof. Gareth Law. My projects focus on the studies of radioactive cesium-rich microparticles (CsMP) released by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) incident in 2011 and their behavior as well as the biological responses triggered in respiratory system. 

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2445-136X

Contact information: you-cheng.khng@helsinki.fi

I originally come from beautiful Greece. I have also lived abroad for quite a long period of time. I did my bachelor’s and master’s studies in chemistry and bioimaging sciences in England where I participated in bioinorganic, analytical and molecular biology projects. Later, I decided to live in Hong Kong to get the Asian cultural experience. There I obtained my second master’s degree which was based on organic synthesis and photophysical measurements of theranostic agents. Moreover, in the beginning of this year (2017), I took the challenge and moved to Finland. Here, I will conduct research in radiochemistry within the TRIM team, synthesizing radiopharmaceuticals for PET/ SPECT imaging which is my greatest interest. My first project is based on a gallium-68 pretargeting probe for PET imaging. Apart from research and travelling, I like keeping a healthy lifestyle, listening to live music and spending time with my family and friends.

Contact infromation: eliza.lambidis@helsinki.fi, +358 2941 50532

I started my Ph.D studies in January 2016 and my topic is synthesis of In-111 and Ga-68 radiopharmaceuticals via biorthogonal click reactions, more especially reactions with tetrazine-DOTA molecules.  I have also done my bachelor and master theses in the TRIM team. I started as a summer worker 2013 and have been group member since then. During this time I have worked with different nuclides e.g. F-18 and I-131. I have been trained to operate cyclotron and I have permission to work with animals (mice and rats).

Contact information: dave.lumen@helsinki.fi, +358 2941 50149

I started my Ph.D in the radiopharmaceutical group TRIM team in February 2017. 

My background is in organic chemistry. I did my B.Sc in medicinal chemistry of the topic: ”Optimization of Claisen rearrangement” in the pharmaceutical industry. I did my Master’s thesis as a joint project of organic and radiochemistry laboratories, during which I started my work in TRIM team. After my thesis I also worked as a research assistant in TRIM team for three months. I worked as a research assistant for two months in the organic laboratory synthesizing new drug candidates under the supervision of Professor Wähälä in the University of Helsinki.

My research interests are in the area of PET- and SPECT-imaging, pharmaceuticals, pretargeting and theranostics.

ORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6578-4227

Contact information: sofia.otaru@helsinki.fi, +358 2941 50385

I am a second year chemistry student in the University of Helsinki, expecting to gain my bachelor degree in spring 2022.  Currently my plan would be to pursue Master's in radiochemistry or translation medicine. During my studies I've become very interested in cancer research, specifically in developing new ways of cancer treatment. For this reason I applied to Mirkka's research group (TRIM) and that's where I am currently doing my internship. The topic of our project is synthesis of new Ga-68 chelator for PET imaging. I'm very happy and thankful to be a part of this research group.

I'm a bachelor student at the University of Helsinki and started my bachelor's thesis project here at fall 2021. Originally, I hold a M.Sc degree in Economics from Hanken, Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki. After operating in the advertising industry for a good while and when I moved back to Finland with my family, I saw a chance to do something totally different and worthwhile. Hence, I ended up here and have been really happy with the outcome so far, and regarding radiochemistry, I feel like a kid in a candy store.

I was born in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic. In 2020 I passed the State Final Examination at Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering and I was awarded a bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) of Nuclear Chemistry. My bachelor thesis was focused on preparation and optimalization of Ge-68/Ga-68 radionuclide generator. Now I continue at CTU in the Master Continuation Programme in Nuclear Chemistry, focusing on biology and medicine. In my research project I studied preparation of inorganic oxides and their application as sorbents for medical radionuclides (Ge-68, Ga-68, Ac-225).

I came to University of Helsinki as an Erasmus exchange student to undertake an internship under the supervision of Mirkka Sarparanta, Ph.D. in collaboration with prof. Robert Luxenhofer. The purpose of our project is to track polymer hydrogel formation in vivo using Ga-68-labeled tracers.

I'm from the Netherlands, I'm here as an intern where my function is primaraly as lab assistant. I'm excited to learn the science behind radiochemistry and to see the possibilities of this in fields medicine.

In my spare time I'm a fencer and I love being surrounded by nature.

Associate Prof. Anu J. Airaksinen, principal investigator and group leader (2006—2021)

Dr. Tiina Ujula, postdoctoral researcher (2018—2021)

Dr. Surachet Imlimthan, Ph.D. researcher (2016—2021)

Dr. Kerttuli Helariutta, Senior Laboratory Engineer (2001—2021)

Dr. Andreas Paulus, postdoctoral researcher (2019—2020)

Marlene Schlesinger, Erasmus exchange student (2020)

Senja Hakola, M.Sc student (2020)

Jarkko Lampuoti, M.Sc student (2020)

Martta H Peltoniemi, B.Sc student (2020)

Dr. Ana Fraguas Sánchez, postdoctoral researcher (2020)

Tatu Martinmäki, M.Sc student (2020)

Isa Coopmans, technician trainee (2020)

Iida Hirsso, M.Sc student (2019)

Iiro Rautsola, M.Sc. student (2019)

Adriana Filipek, Erasmus M.Sc. student (2018—2019)

Dr. Teija Koivula, postdoctoral researcher (1999—2019)

M.Sc. Marcus Lindgren, summer trainee (2018)

M.Sc. Osku Alanen, research assistant (2018)

Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan, postdoctoral researcher (2017—2018)

Dr. Ulrika Jakobsson, postdoctoral researcher (2015—2018)

Kirsi Kepsu, bachelor student (2018)

Anita Nurminen, bachelor student (2018)

Danni Ramdhani, visiting researcher (2017—2018)

Vilma Jallinoja, M.Sc. student (2017)

Pauline Lang, Erasmus M.Sc. student (2017)

Chiara Timperanza, Erasmus M.Sc. student (2017)