Areas of expertise
I did my PhD with Prof. Olli Lassila (University of Turku) on transcriptional regulation of B cell and plasma cell development and function using loss-of-function studies. During my post-doctoral research at Yale Immunobiology (USA), I studied the targeting of somatic hypermutation to immunoglobulin genes with David G. Schatz (2012-2015). Soon thereafter, I began setting up my own research group at the Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Finland. In addition to running my independent lab, I am a university teacher of immuno-pharmacology since 2018.
I have teaching experience since 2008 and am currently also university teacher on immuno-pharmacology. I teach on various Masters', MD and PhD courses both in English and Finnish. These include lectures, case-based learning, journal clubs, mentoring, laboratory courses and an online course. The topics cover innate and adaptive immunity, immunomodulatory drugs and therapeutic antibodies. I have taken courses on university pedagogics. I have and am currently supervising PhD students and participate in follow-up committees of doctoral students.
Protective immunity requires production of high-affinity antibody-producing cells. Me and my team study how high-affinity antibody production is achieved. While cells generally keep somatic mutations at minimum to avoid genome instability and tumorigenesis, immunoglobulin genes during B cell development are actively mutated, e.g. the germinal center B lymphocytes undergo somatic hypermutation (SHM) of immunoglobulin V regions. Failure to correctly target mutation can have severe consequences for genome integrity and is involved in several forms of cancer, particularly leukemia and lymphoma. My focus is to investigate the molecular mechanism of how immunoglobulin enhancers recruit SHM to immunoglobulin genes as well as the mechanism that lead to mis-targeting of mutations to other sites in the genome, including several proto-oncogenes. We use e.g. reporter assays, library screening, genome manipulation and whole genome analysis techniques.