Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

The main research focus of my group is to understand the molecular foundation of how receptor-like kinases (RLKs) are integrated with reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated signaling. On a physiological level we investigate how RLKs and ROS function in stress adaptation and plant development. Starting from the regulation of ROS-induced cell death we aim to understand also other aspects of ROS signaling, such as plant development.
We analyze the function of receptor-like protein kinases in ROS sensing. In particular the CYSTEINE-RICH RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASES (CRKs) are interesting proteins with a novel lectin-like ectodomains structure. In higher plants this protein family has undergone drastic expansions. Aleksia Vaattovaara is collaborating with Dr. Jarkko Salojärvi to understand the complex evolution of the CRKs and related proteins families address the reasons for the differential expansion of the CRKs in different plant families. Dr. Sachie Kimura is interested in how CRKs participate in control of extracellular ROS production and the coordination of systemic signaling in plants. Kerri Hunter is aiming to understand cell biological aspects of CRK function and to identify the protein complexes harboring CRKs.
Besides research projects I am interested in Unix, Linux/BSD and Perl-scripting and introduce biologists to those computer tools. I have been teaching programming for biologists for several years at the University of Helsinki. Currently I am teaching plant biochemistry and cell biology as well as plant genome evolution.

Education information

Docent, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2011

Education information

PhD, University of Vienna, Austria, 2004

Education information

Master of Science, University of Vienna, Austria, 2001

Fields of Science

  • 11831 Plant biology
  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.