Kristiina Heikinheimo profile picture
University Lecturer, Institute of Dentistry
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine
DDS, MS, PhD; Visiting Professor, King´s College London


+358 29 450 4478
+358 50 514 8329
Lemminkäisenkatu 2


Overall description

During the past two decades the main research focus of the group has been to study roles played by growth factors and their receptors in odontogenic tumors and in cancers of salivary gland and of oral squamous cell origin. The working hypothesis is that some of the same molecules that regulate normal development are aberrated in these tumors. Therefore analyses of their putative tissues of origin e.g developing tooth, salivary gland and oral epithelia have been included. This comparative approach has contributed new results also to craniofacial developmental biology.

The group has a strong background in modern methods of molecular biology including in situ hybridization, Northern analysis and QRT-PCR. Recently genome-wide genomics including cDNA array, array-comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays and Next Generation and RNA Sequencing (NGS and RNA-Seq) have been utilized in search for aberrated genes and signaling pathways in the these tumors.

Research objectives 

The major aim of the group is to identify molecular-level changes in tumors of the head and neck to develop better diagnostic and prognostic tools to advance treatment modalities. Our group has produced several original findings on the molecular phenotype of head and neck tumors and will continue in the priority areas listed below.

Group's research strategy 2019–2022

The group will be engaged in the following projects in 2019–2022.

  1. Emerging biomarkers and targeted treatments in odontogenic tumors.
  2. Mutation landscape of salivary gland tumors and novel targets for treatment.

These projects have gained approval by the ethical Committee of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland (1/11.3.2007).Google Scholar Citations


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The Mutational Profile of Unicystic Ameloblastoma (2019)

Journal of Dental Research
Heikinheimo K, Huhtala JM, Thiel A, Kurppa KJ, Heikinheimo H, Kovac M, Kragelund C, Warfvinge G, Dawson H, Elenius K, Ristimäki A, Baumhoer D, Morgan PR
(A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä)

Ameloblastoma (2017)

Vered M, Muller S, Heikinheimo K
(D2 Artikkeli ammatillisessa kokoomateoksessa)