Lab Members

    Group Leader

    Lea Sistonen, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
    Department of Biosciences
    Åbo Akademi University
    lea.sistonen [at]

    Contact Information

    Turku Bioscience P.O. Box 123, BioCity
    (Street addr. Tykistökatu 6 B)
    FIN-20521 Turku, Finland
    Phone: +358-2-215-3311 (Lea Sistonen)
    Fax: +358-2-251-7013 (Attn. Lea Sistonen)

    Senior Researchers and Postdoctoral Fellows

    Eva Henriksson

    University Teacher, Senior Scientist

    Sistonen Lab

    office: +358 2 215 4079 (Biocity 2nd floor)

    eva.henriksson [at]

    I am investigating how HSFs regulate a developmental process, i.e. spermatogenesis, and how they sustain malignant growth in cancer and promote cancer cell invasion. My special focus is in identifying interaction partners of HSF1 and HSF2 and in resolving the functional consequences of these interactions in different cellular compartments.

    Jenny Joutsen

    Postdoctoral Researcher

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2-2154060

    jenny.joutsen [at]

    I am mainly interested in HSFs and their importance in protein aggregation induced cell stress. Currently I am working with HSF2 and proteasome inhibition and I am mainly focusing on the HSF2-dependent transcriptional program that sensitises cells to proteasome inhibiting drugs. The overall keywords for my scientific interests could be: HSFs, protein aggregation, neurodegeneration, PTMs, SUMO, translation, cell adhesion, mechanical stress and many others!

    I love knitting and crocheting, detective stories, sushi, gardening and of course my two wonderful kids Ivalo and Pietari.

    Pia Roos-Mattjus

    Academy Lecturer, Senior Scientist

    Sistonen Lab

    office: +358 2 215 4079 (Biocity 3rd floor)

    pia.roos-mattjus [at]

    There are always projects available for students, please contact me for further information if you want to do your Biochemistry III lab rotation (or equivalent) or if you would be interested in doing your pro gradu research work in the laboratory!

    To learn new things, teaching and spending time with family.

    Anniina Vihervaara

    Postdoctoral Researcher

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2 215 4055

    anniina.vihervaara [at]

    Postdoctoral fellow working in the laboratory of John Lis at Cornell University, New York.

    Doctoral Candidates

    Hendrik Hästbacka

    Doctoral Candidate

    Sistonen Lab


    hendrik.hastbacka [at]

    Samu Himanen

    Doctoral Candidate

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2 215 4060

    samu.himanen [at]

    I am interested in understanding how HSF1 and HSF2 mediate cell protection upon different proteotoxic conditions. To study this, I am using genome-wide methods to discover what are the roles of HSF1 and HSF2 in transcriptional responses during heat stress and oxidative stress. In addition, I am interested in knowing how does repeated exposure to stress affect cell memory and capacity of cells to respond to subsequent stress.

    Outside the lab, my biggest passion is street workout/calisthenics, but I enjoy also reading some good sci-fi literature among other things.

    Jens Luoto

    Doctoral Candidate

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2 215 4060

    jens.luoto [at]

    I am interested in learning about new aspects of HSF2 by studying its localization in cells. I also work with Marek to produce CRISPR-Cas9 cell lines for the lab. I am also in charge of building and maintaining our website.

    In my free time I study Japanese and enjoy both card and video games.

    Mikael Puustinen

    Doctoral Candidate

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2 215 4060

    mikael.puustinen [at]

    Alejandro Da Silva

    Doctoral Candidate

    Sistonen Lab

    +358 (0)2 215 4060

    alejandro.dasilvanascimento [at]

    My main research interest is the protein network in which HSF1 and HSF2 function. Currently, I am focused on interacting partners of HSF2 in the context of cancer invasion. Finally, I am also studying the role of HSF2 upon proteasome inhibition and protein aggregation.

    I participate in activities organized by the local Catholic Church. I enjoy swimming, hiking, and biking.

    Undergraduate Students

    Caroline Haldin-Breitenstein


    Alexandra Elsing
    Maria Jensen
    Camilla Aspelin
    Anna Aalto
    Johanna Ahlskog
    Tero-Pekka Alastalo
    Julius Anckar
    Susanna Airaksinen
    Judith Beer
    Heidi Bergman
    Johanna Björk
    Malin Blom
    Henri Blomster
    Idalis Cardona
    Alexandra Elsing
    Ville Hietakangas
    Carina Holmberg
    Maria Jensen
    Lila Kallio (née Pirkkala)
    Sara Kangaspeska
    Emine Lundsten
    Heidi Lustig
    Terhi Maula (née Kuru)
    Annika Meinander
    Satu Orasniemi
    Beata Paziewska
    Markus Penttinen
    Sandra Pihlström
    Julia Ranta
    Helena Saarento
    Anton Sandqvist
    Cynthia Swan
    Petra Vainio
    Jenni Vasara
    Malin Åkerfelt
    Päivi Östling (née Nykänen)