Areas of expertise
- MD 1984, PhD 1987, Specialist in Dermatology and Venereology 1995, University of Turku
- Professor of Dermatology, University of Turku, 2005-
- Professor of Molecular Biology, Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Turku, 2003-05
- Senior Scientist of the Academy of Finland, 2001-02
- Senior Research Fellow of the Academy of Finland, 1995-2000
- Resident, Department of Dermatology Turku University Hospital, 1992-95
- Research assistant professor, Department of Dermatology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA, 1989-91
- Research and teaching associate, Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Turku, 1984-88
- President, Turku Cancer Research Society, 1999-2001
- President, Finnish Connective Tissue Society, 2002-03
- Board member, European Society for Dermatological Research, 2001-06
- President, Finnish Dermatological Society, 2009-12
- Member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2009-
- Treasurer, Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS), Section of Dermato- venereology, 2010-13
- Board member, European Dermatology Forum, 2012-
Responsible for organizing and teaching medical students on course in Dermatology 2005-
The incidence of skin cancer, both melanoma and keratinocyte-derived non melanoma skin cancer is increasing in the developed countries due to aging of population and increased recreational exposure to sunlight. In addition, new skin cancer cases are increasing in younger age groups. The growing number of skin cancer patients presents an important challenge to our health care system. Therefore, improved early diagnosis of skin cancer and identification of aggressive premalignant lesions is needed.
In this project our aim is to identify new molecular mechanisms involved in progression of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), the most common metastatic skin cancer. In the absence of targeted therapies, the prognosis of metastatic cSCC is poor. Furthermore, there are no molecular markers available, which could be used to identify those premalignant precursors, which develop rapidly into invasive carcinomas, or those primary cSCCs which present high risk for metastasis. Our aim is to find and characterize new biomarkers for evaluating the risk of progression and metastasis of cSCC and identify novel therapeutic targets for recurrent and metastatic cSCC. Using microarray and RNA-Seq based global gene expression profiling, we have recently identified a number of novel genes and non-coding RNAs specifically expressed in human cSCCs but in normal keratinocytes. We will characterize the functional role of these genes in progression of cSCC and validate them as biomarkers for growth and metastasis of cSCC.
Another goal of the project is to elucidate the role and regulation of proteinases and MMPs in tissue repair and fibrosis.