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Biochemistry – research and researchers

Biochemistry – research and researchers

Research Groups

Laboratory of Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry

Professor J Peter Slotte

My research group is focused on studies of lipid interactions in bilayer membranes. We study cholesterol interactions with co-lipids, and its functions in membranes. We also examine the role of unsaturation in phospholipid acyl chains on lipid interactions and membrane properties. Sphingolipids have for a long time also been of special interest to us, and currently we study the role of ceramide (a sphingolipid) for membrane structure and function. We also study molecular recognition patterns of sphingomyelin-binding actinoporin toxins.

Senior Research Associate Thomas Nyholm
Research interests: Protein-lipid interactions, membrane proteins, lipid phase behavior, Lateral membrane structure, cholesterol-phospholipid interactions.

PhD Max Lönnfors
My research focuses on the biochemical and biophysical properties of plasma membrane mimicking model lipid membranes as well as the structure and function of a family of phosphoinositol transfer proteins (PITPs). My membrane research has focused on the role of sterol and its interaction with sphingomyelin on lateral membrane segregation as well as membrane order and stability. When it comes to PITPs I have focused on deciphering the pocket dynamics of the mammalian START-like PITP, PITPα, during both hetero- and homotypic lipid exchange reactions.

PhD Mohammed Abdullah Al Sazzad 
PhD Oskar Engberg


Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory (SBL)

Professor Mark S. Johnson

My research team at the  Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory (SBL) focuses on how biological molecules function to produce their biological consequences. Our team has broad expertise and hence applies multiple approaches to investigate different problems, primarily involving human proteins. Key approaches employed by us in our research are experimental structural biology (X-ray crystallography), structural bioinformatics (structure and molecular complex modeling), in silico screening for ligands and development of biologics, development and application of novel computational tools. Our research is made in close cooperation with research groups investigating the biological problem primarily using wet-lab experimental approaches. Our main current problems focus on transcription factors in very early human development; natural and engineered avidins for biotechnology; kinases and their involvement in disease processes; integrins – evolution and roles in disease  processes; engineering of enzymes for specific chemistries.

PhD Tomi Airenne 
PhD Konstantin Denessiouk
PhD Alexandre Denesyuk 
PhD Jukka Lehtonen

Senior Lecturer Tiina A. Salminen

My research team at the Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory (SBL) focuses on 3D structures of proteins and, particularly, utilizing 3D structures to predict and understand protein function. We are interested in finding out how proteins interact with other molecules and what is the structural basis for their ligand specificity. Some of the proteins we are working with are important in human health and disease, are used as biocatalysts to produce drug molecules or in diagnostics of disease while others are of plant origin and important in maintaining the photosynthetic reaction, which is vital for all of us.

PhD Käthe Dahlström
PhD Gabriela Guédez
PhD Jenny Isaksson

Acting Professor Outi Salo-Ahen


Lipid Transfer Protein Research Group

Senior Lecturer Peter Mattjus

Our research is focused on lipid transfer proteins, in particular proteins specific for glycosphingolipids, such as the glycolipid transfer protein, GLTP, and the Phosphatidylinositol-four-phosphate adapter protein 2, FAPP2. We are also working on the relationship between glycosphingolipid transfer and synthesis, and the connection to the ceramide synthase family, CerS.


Detection Methods for Cyanobacterial Peptide Toxins

Docent Jussi Meriluoto

PhD Lisa Spoof
PhD Kerstin Häggqvist
PhD Elina Palonen (Detection Methods for Cyanobacterial Peptide Toxins)


Roos-Mattjus lab

Senior Lecturer Pia Roos-Mattjus

My research group studies the family of heat shock transcription factors HSFs and their biological functions both during development, disease and during stressful conditions.


Doctoral students

Nitin Agrawal (SBL)
Ida Alanko (SBL)
Anders Backman (Lipid Transfer Protein Research Group)
Leonor Carvalho (SBL)
Polytimi Dimitriou (SBL)
Tamara Dulic (Detection Methods for Cyanobacterial Peptide Toxins)
Peik Ekman (Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry)
Anna Möuts (Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry)
Henrik Nurmi (Lipid Transfer Protein Research Group)
Juan Palacios Ortega (Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry)
Vipin Ranga (SBL)
Maksym Skaldin (Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry)
Mahlet Tamirat (SBL)
Mia Åstrand (SBL)


Ibrahim Zaghloul (SBL)
Vladimir Vukic (SBL)
Zorica Svircev

E-mail: firstname.lastname@abo.fi

Updated 25.9.2019