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Laboratory of Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry

Laboratory of Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry

The Lipid and Membrane Biochemistry Group is interested in the interplay between lipids in membranes, in how lipid structure and interactions affect the lateral and transverse heterogeneity of membranes. Our experience with sphingolipids is extensive and we have devoted much effort to learn how these lipids behave in membranes, and how they interact with cholesterol. We are eager to share our expertise in collaborative ventures. Finally, we develop and provide biophysical and analytical methods relevant for lipid and membrane research to our neighboring scientific community. Our group is part of the Graduate Network in Informational and Structural Biology.

Our current research interests focus on problems relating to:

  • how membrane lipids interact in model and biological membranes and how they form laterally segregated clusters or domains
  • how glycosphingolipids behave in membranes, and how these lipids interact with other sphingomyelin, ceramide, and cholesterol in ordered domains
  • how ceramides interact with liquid-ordered domains and affect lipid-lipid interactions and how they participate in the stress response and mitochondrial integrity
  • the biological significance of sphingolipid molecular heterogeneity
  • how do phospholipids in asymmetric bilayers affect cholesterol’s leaflet distribution
  • how does cholesterol select its interaction partners in complex membranes
  • pore formation by actinoporins and the role of sphingomyelin in the process


Principal investigators

Post doc scientists

Graduate students

  • Anna Möuts, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Thomas Nyholm)
  • Juan Palacios Ortega, M.Sc. (co-supervisor prof. Álvaro Martínez del Pozo, Complutense, Madrid)
  • Peik Ekman, M.Sc. (with company; co-supervisor Dr. Johan Werkelin)
  • Maksym Skaldin, M.Biol. (co-supervisor Dr. Andrey Zaviyalov)

Pro gradu work

  • Victor Hautala


Funding is generously provided by:

Sigrid Juselius Foundation
Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation
Academy of Finland
Magnus Ehrnrooth Foundation
Graduate Network in Informational and Structural Biology (ISB – Åbo Akademi)


Updated 5.4.2019