Johanna Ivaska Photo
Johanna Ivaska- The Boss

Johanna is a K Albin Johansson Professor at the University of Turku. She started her own group at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2003. In 2013, she joined the University of Turku Bioscience Centre where she currently leads the “Cell Adhesion and Cancer” group.

Megan Chastney Photo
Megan Chastney - Postdoc

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Ivaska lab, interested in the role of mechanical forces in cancer progression. I obtained my PhD in the laboratory of Prof Martin Humphries at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, using proximity biotinylation to investigate mechanisms of mechanotransduction in pancreatic cancer. My work now focuses on how cells respond to mechanical stimuli via integrin adhesion complexes and the cytoskeleton during laryngeal cancer progression.

James Conway - Postdoc

I am a postdoctoral research fellow working on image-based screening approaches and cancer invasion. During my undergraduate studies at the University of Adelaide in Australia, I majored in Chemistry and Biochemistry, conducting an honours degree in the lab of Prof. Greg Goodall working on the development of miRNAs as therapeutics in neuroblastoma. Moving to the lab of Prof. Paul Timpson in Sydney, my PhD focused on the development of a intravital imaging approaches to track therapeutic responses in areas of low oxygen in live mouse xenografts.

Michal Dibus Photo
Michal Dibus - Postdoc

Originally from Slovakia, I completed my Ph.D. in the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Invasion at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, under the supervision of Prof. Jan Brábek and A/Prof. Daniel Rösel, where I studied the role of kinase signalling in regulation of small Rho GTPases and cancer progression. Currently, I am supported by an MSCA postdoctoral fellowship to study the mechanistic and functional aspects of the negative regulation of integrin activity. Outside the lab, I love black and white film photography and growing botanical orchid species.

Gautier Follain Photo
Gautier Follain - Postdoc

Coming from France, I’m a joint Postdoctoral researcher working in J. Ivaska and G. Jacquement laboratories. I obtained my Bachelors, in Cell Biology and Physiology, and, Masters, in Developmental Biology and Stem Cells, from the University of Strabourg. I then joined the lab of J. Goetz to study the impact of hemodynamic forces on the metastatic cascade. Now, I am working on the role of cell protrusions during PDAC intravascular arrest, adhesion and extravasation. A good working day starts with cell culture, keeps on going with imaging of zebrafish embryos and finishes with a beer.

Hellyeh Hamidi Photo
Hellyeh Hamidi - Research Support Coordinator

Originally from the UK, I did my PhD in the laboratory of Prof Martin Humphries in the Wellcome Trust Cetre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester. I then did a postdoc with Prof Rachel Lennon, before moving to Finland for my current position. I try my best to take care of the group, to manage visibility of the lab, help in scientific writing and to be the communication bridge between academics and admin. It is a busy job but I love it!

Aleksi Isomursu Photo
Aleksi Isomursu - PhD Student

Originally from the north of Finland, I acquired my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Jyväskylä, while working in the laboratories of J. Bamford and T. Kuopio. My undergrad studies and time spent abroad as an exchange student both shaped my interest in human malignancies and cell-matrix interactions; consequently, I sought to join the Ivaska lab as a PhD student. My current projects revolve around cancer cell mechanotransduction, inclucing mechanosensitive transcription factors and mechanically directed cell migration. Outside work, I like to relax by exercising and catching up with friends.

Niklas Jäntti  Photo
Niklas Jäntti - PhD Student

I’ve been a PhD student in the lab since September 2019, studying the interplay between cancer cell adhesion, cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane trafficking and exploring the regulatory network that coordinates these processes, with the goal of identifying new mechanisms to prevent metastasis. What I enjoy most about working here is the great people, the dynamic atmosphere and the possibility to do some world-class microscopy. During my free time I like to do bouldering or swimming and I also sing in a choir and play the guitar.

Omkar Joshi Photo
Omkar Joshi - PhD Student

I completed my BS-MS dual degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India while working in the lab of Dr. Nagaraj Balasubramanian. I joined the Ivaska Lab in May 2022 for my PhD. My work focuses on the protein STOML2 and its role(s) and regulation in adhesion-mediated cellular behaviors in normal versus cancer cells. Beyond science, I love playing badminton (or any other racquet sport). So ping me, and we'll play 😄

Jasmin Kaivola Photo
Jasmin Kaivola - PhD Student

I am a phD student at the Ivaska lab and I’m working on integrin regulators and mechanosensing in cancer. I previously studied biochemistry at University of Turku (BSc and MSc). During my studies I worked as a research assistant on hormonal regulation of breast cancer (Lab run by Prof. Pirkko Härkönen).

Petra Laasola Photo
Petra Laasola - Biomedical Laboratory Scientist

I previously worked at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland as part of the biochip-team, where I helped to test, develop and prepare Cell Spot Microarrays (CSMA). I then joined the Ivaska lab several years ago where I help in the day-to-day running of the lab. I have experience in many other molecular biology techniques including immunoprecipitation, PLA, tissue staining, immunofluorescence and FACS analysis.

Mathilde Mathieu Photo
Mathilde Mathieu - Postdoc

I am a French postdoctoral researcher. I did my master at the University Paris IV and the ENS Paris Saclay. For my PhD, I worked in Clotilde Théry’s lab at the Institut Curie in Paris, where I studied the trafficking of tetraspanins towards their secretion into different types of extracellular vesicles. My postdoc project focuses on how cancer cells migrate from the stiff tumor environment to softer environments. Outside the lab I like to go to rock concerts, visit art museums and travel to explore the world around me.

Paulina Moreno-Layseca Photo
Paulina Moreno-Layseca - Postdoc

I'm an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher originally from Mexico. I did my PhD at the University of Manchester, UK with Prof C. Streuli, and a postdoc in Hamburg, Germany, working with Dr S. Veltel before joining the Ivaska lab. I'm interested in integrin traffic controlled by Rab21, the actin cytoskeleton and their interplay during cancer progression. The key to a great day is listening to cheerful music, tea and biscuits, lots of microscopy, plenty of scientific debates, efficiency and good results!

Veli-Matti Leppänen Photo
Veli-Matti Leppänen - Research Fellow

I am a senior researcher with special interest in protein structural biology.

Nicolas Pasquier Photo
Nicolas Pasquier - Joint PhD student

Originally from France, I did my Master of Engineering at the ESPCI Paris. . As from September 2020, I started a joint PhD between the Ivaska Lab and the Jaulin Lab at the Institut Gustave Roussy (Villejuif, France) where I will study the role of oncogenic and mechanotransduction alterations in the focal-adhesion pathway on the colorectal metastasis polarity. A perfect day starts with a cup of coffee, continues with great colleagues and lots of microscopy, an insane amount of music (listening and playing), a good run, and ends with a nice beer with friends!

Megan Chastney Photo
Jenni Siivonen - Biomedical Laboratory Scientist

I have been an Ivaska lab member for several years and I help in the day-to-day running of the lab. I have experience in many techniques including but not limited to recombinant protein production, RNA and DNA isolation, imunofluorescence and western blotting.


  • Hussein Al Akhrass - July 2021; next step: R & D Manager, Boehringer and Ingelheim, Vienna, Austria
  • Elisa Närvä - April 2021; next step: Principal Investigator, Pluripotency & Cancer Laboratory, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Finland!
  • Jaroslav Icha - October 2019; next step: Application Specialist, Promega, Prague, Czechia
  • Emilia Peuhu - August 2019; next step: Principal Investigator, Peuhu lab, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Finland!
  • Guillaume Jacquemet - August 2019; next step: Principal Investigator, Cell Migration Lab, Åbo Akademi University, Finland!
  • Ilkka Paatero - August 2019; next step: Head of Zebrafish Facility, Turku Bioscience Centre, University of Turku
  • Camilo Guzmán - October 2018; next step: Facility manager (Nanophotonics) at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal
  • Maria Georgiadou - August 2018; next step: Senior Researcher at Orion Pharma, Finland
  • Mika Pietilä - until 2017; next step: Medical Advisor, Astra Zeneca, Espoo, Finland
  • Anja Mai - until 2016; next step: Researcher at BerGenBio, Bergen, Norway
  • Antti Arjonen - until 2015; next step: Senior researcher at Misvik Biology Ltd, Turku, Finland
  • Ghaffar Muharram - until 2013; next step: Scientist at University of Lille, Lille, France
  • Jeroen Pouwels - until 2013; next step: group leader at Turku Bioscience Centre, Turku, Finland
  • Stefan Veltel - next step: lecturer at University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany
PhD Students
  • Maria Taskinen (thesis defended 2022) - next step: Paul Workman's lab, ICR, London, UK
  • Mitro Miihkinen (thesis defended 2021) - next step : studying statistics at University of Turku, FI.
  • Martina Lerche (thesis defended 2021) - next step : postdoc, Clare Waterman's lab, NIH, US
  • Siiri Salomaa (thesis defended 2020) - next step : postdoc, Kevin Chalut's lab, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Johanna Lilja (thesis defended 2020) - next steps : postdoc, Johanna Joyce's lab, University of Lausanne, CH
  • Aki Stubb (thesis defended 2019) - next steps : postdoc, Ewa Paluch's lab, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Pranshu Sahgal (thesis defended 2018) - next step : postdoc in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, US
  • Jonna Alanko (thesis defended 2016) - next step : postdoc in the Michael Sixt lab, IST, Austria
  • Riina Kaukonen (thesis defended 2016) - next step : postdoc in Turku Bioscience Centre
  • Nicola De Franceschi (thesis defended 2016) - next step: postdoc in Institute Curie, FR
  • Reetta Virtakoivu (thesis defended 2015) - next step : postdoc in Institute of Biomedicine, FI
  • Antti Arjonen (thesis defended 2013)
  • Gunilla Högnäs (thesis defended 2013) - next step : postdoc University of Tampere, FI
  • Anja Mai (thesis defended 2011)
  • Juha Rantala (thesis defended 2011) - next step : CEO at Misvik Biology and Principal Investigator at the University of Sheffield, UK
  • Jonna Nevo (thesis defended 2011) - next step : MD, Oncologist
  • Karolina Vuoriluoto (thesis defended 2010) - next step : Drug Safety Specialist, Orion Corporation
  • Saara Tuomi (thesis defended 2010) - Next step : Postdoc at the Danish Cancer Society
  • Teijo Pellinen (thesis defended 2009) - now Senior Researcher at Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Helsinki, Finland
  • Elina Mattila (thesis defended 2009) - now Senior Scientist at Orion Pharma, Finland
Master's Students
  • Max Grönloh
  • Niklas Jäntti
  • Nuria Barber Perez
  • Rafael Saup
  • Maria Rafaeva
  • David Kühl
  • Taru Varila
  • Sonja Vahlman
  • Paula Rasila