Pekka Katajisto, Principal Investigator
I am fascinated by the biology of aging. How and why our stem cells eventually fail to maintain tissue functions and physiological integrity? To me, that simply is the most interesting question - one that also continually spurs new research directions for the lab.
Jenny Bärlund and Maija Simula, Lab Managers, UH
Tiina Aliranta, Project Coordinator
I take care of the administrative side so that our researchers have more time to do great science. I work on financial and personnel administration, project management, organizing events, grant applications and reporting and any other task my colleagues come up with for me to do.
Agustin Sola Carvajal, Research Specialist
Stress is one of the most influencing factors in aging. Removing stress from our PhD students and postdocs and helping them to have a healthy research is my main focus. I am also interested on understanding how the stem cells of the skin behave during aging and development.
Emilia Kuuluvainen, Research Coordinator
I'm interested in how changes in a cell's environment or metabolism affects chromatin and transcription activity to control cell identity. I coordinate collaborations and do research on projects related to stem cell metabolism within MetaStem and Katajistolab. My tasks also include science communication, public outreach, organizing seminars and helping out with writing, grant applications and reporting.
Swetha Gopalakrishnan, University Researcher
I am a developmental biologist turned stem cell biologist. Using skeletal muscle stem cells (satellite cells), I aim to study stem cell dynamics during activation and injury response. Importantly how changes in cellular metabolism influence cell fate decisions in these cells.
Bioengineering applies concepts and principles of engineering and science into medicine and biology. I work to synthesize and evaluate new materials for biomedical applications especially considering concepts of biocompatibility, biodegradability and toxicity. I use technologies such as 3D-additive manufacturing, lithography, self-assembly and controlled release to understand biochemical and biophysical processes and device solutions to monitor and control such processes.
I am a molecular biologist trained for systems biology approaches. I did my PhD working on dynamics of a biological oscillator in the context of paracrine inflammatory signalling using live cell imaging as a main tool. I am interested in how cells use signalling molecules to keep each other informed and how far these signals travel in crowded environments. I recently joined Katajisto Lab to start tackling some of these questions.
My interest is how stem cells modify tissue regenerative capacity in response to intrinsic/extrinsic metabolic changes, especially in skeletal muscle and small intestine. I want to solve this question by integrating stem cell biology into my background in physiology and biochemistry (like rolling sushi). I ultimately aim to prevent tissue dysfunction with regenerative adaptations initiated by metabolic responses in stem cells.
Stem cells maintain tissue function by balancing self-renewal and differentiation, which is controlled by signaling cues from their surrounding niche. My research focuses on the cellular secretion processes that ensure successful signal delivery from the niche Paneth cells to the stem cells in the small intestine. I try to understand how the signal secretion is regulated and adapted in order to determine the stem cell fate.
Nina Peltokangas, Max Planck Institute of Immunology and Epigenetics, Germany
High-quality oocytes are critical for generating healthy offspring. I am studying how organelle function and cell interactions during oocyte development contribute to oocyte quality. I'm also a computer scientist, and aim to develop new tools for simulating cell interactions and stem cell function in silico, as well as new algorithms for automated image analysis.
My main interest is the interplay between intestinal cell types and their microenvironment, in homeostatic conditions as well as in early stages of colorectal cancer. Part of the microenvironment is the extracellular matrix, which provides structural support as well as factors to the intestinal epithelial cells. I am also investigating at what extent the extracellular matrix affects the intestinal epithelial cells.
I am interested in how cell-intrinsic changes in aging tissues influence the interactions between stem cells and their niches and how these changes contribute to the deterioration of tissue function in aging animals. I aim to study the molecular features of single cells, with techniques such as single-cell RNA sequencing, to understand the importance of the niche for stem cell function in homeostasis and pathological states
Mitochondria play a key role in regulating the glucose stimulated insulin release of beta-cells. I am interested to see how mitochondrial age affects differentiation towards the beta cell fate from human pluripotent stem cells and how mitochondrial age affects the function of beta cells. My project lies between the interests of two MetaStem labs, and thus I'm a shared PhD student of the Katajisto and Otonkoski labs.
Adult stem cells need to balance self-renewal and differentiation to maintain tissue function. I am interested in how the extracellular matrix guides stem cell fate decisions. I focus on studying the effects of basement membrane composition on regeneration and tumorigenesis in the intestinal epithelium.
During asymmetric division, some stem cells asymmetrically organize and divide organelles. I am interested in understanding how this occurs and influences cell fate. In the lab, I am focusing on studying the mechanism that regulate age-selective segregation of peroxisomes during stem cell division.
Stem cell exhaustion is a key contributor to age related tissue demise. My interest is focused on the mechanisms stem cells use to avoid accumulation of damage and to maintain tissue renewal. Understanding how stem cells recognize and rid themselves of damaged cellular material in order to preserve their functionality can give important clues about aging and longevity.
I’m interested in how skeletal muscle stem cells balance self-renewal and differentiation to enable regeneration throughout an individual’s lifetime. I’m especially keen on studying how organelle dynamics, metabolism, and exercise affect these stem cells, and currently I’m exploring whether peroxisomes, key players in metabolism, participate in cell fate changes. By understanding the basic mechanisms involved, we could understand and improve treatments for age-related loss of muscle mass and function.
Intestinal stem cells face the most metabolically varying conditions in the body. My interests lie in how stem cells and their niche cooperate to navigate such rapidly changing metabolic environments, I am particularly interested the role mitochondria play in stem cell function.
The environment influences stem cell fate. My interest is to understand how the communication between muscle stem cells with their immediate niche regulates fate determination by muscle stem cells during homeostasis, regeneration, and aging.
I have vast interests in cell biology and metabolism. I find great joy in solving problems with bioinformatics as well. Currently I am working on discovering a specific topic for my bachelor's thesis.
My fascination for stem cells, how they are regulated and what contributes to their exhaustion led me to Katajisto lab. I am interested in how stem cell function and dysfunction affect animal physiology together with the environment.
I'm interested in cellular and molecular changes that occur with aging. Although the characteristics of aged cells are well-documented, the interplay between different hallmarks is poorly understood. I want to uncover which alterations manifest first and how they are influenced by the environment and processes within the cell. I'm also curious if these changes can be effectively identified and targeted to prevent further age-associated changes.
Stem cell proliferation and differentiation potential are tightly coupled to the cellular epigenetic state, which in turn is susceptible to intrinsic metabolic bias. My research interests concern understanding how organelle fitness affects stemness, fate decisions, and organismal aging.
Increasing the number of healthy years we live is a fascinating multifactorial problem. Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the loss of physiological integrity associated with ageing can help us produce solutions for a longer healthspan. I'm currently interested in how muscle integrity is maintained throughout a lifetime and more specifically how muscle stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is balanced via organelle interactions.