• PL 20 (Tukholmankatu 8)




Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Dr. Vilja Pietiäinen’s research is focused on cancer precision medicine and functional drug testing. The patient -derived cancer cells are isolated from tissues after the surgery, grown ex-vivo, and characterized with different omics technologies, including genomics, phenomics, and drug profiling. Dr. Pietiäinen develops also microscopic imaging –based solutions with her collaborators for phenotyping and drug profiling of patient –derived cells. This approach enables the better understanding of the cellular heterogeneity in cancer, and drug sensitivity and resistance in particular patient.

Vilja Pietiäinen has a M.Sc. in clinical biochemistry (Faculty of Biosciences, University of Helsinki; UH, and University of Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K) and doctoral degree in virology (UH, Finland) and she is a docent in the cellular and molecular biology. In the Academy of Finland post-doctoral position (Research group of Prof. Elina Ikonen, UH), she investigated the intracellular cholesterol trafficking and combined her earlier experience in cell biology, real-time cell imaging and other microscopic methods with lipid research. In 2011-2013, her research project was focused on characterization of novel candidate genes affecting blood lipid levels (such as LDL, HDL, and triglycerides) in humans using high throughput siRNA/drug screening and high-content microscopy in FIMM.

Currently, Dr. Pietiäinen is a senior researcher at Kallioniemi group, and she acts a team leader in ERAPerMed -COMPASS, iCAN-Flagship iCAN-PEDI and DEDUCER projects. Earlier, she led a collaborative project with UPM on novel high-content 3D cell culture methods, and worked as a project manager of TEKES FiDiPro fellow project “Next generation image analysis solutions - towards image-based diagnostics”.  In 2017, she initiated of the new HiLIFE core unit, FIMM High Content Imaging and Analysis (FIMM-HCA; HiLIFE, partnering Helsinki BioImaging, BF Imaging platform, EuroBioImaging).

She has teaching experience as a teacher at University of Helsinki laboratory courses, a tutor at Problem Based Learning sessions for Medical Students, and as a lecturer. More recently, she has also participated in planning of different courses in the curriculum of Medical Faculty and curriculum planning for Master Program for Genetics and Molecular Biosciences. She has studied the pedagogics in several courses at University of Helsinki. Currently, she also acts as a part-time coordinator of undergraduate education at FIMM.

Education/Academic qualification

Cellular and Molecular Biology, docent/Adj. Prof., Helsingin Yliopisto, Bio- ja Ympäristötieteellinen Tiedekunta

Award Date: 19 Nov 2019

Virology and Cell Biology, PhD, Helsingin yliopisto, virologian osasto

Fields of Science

  • 3111 Biomedicine
  • atherosclerosis
  • dyslipidaemia
  • 318 Medical biotechnology
  • high throughput screening
  • RNAi
  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • cholesterol
  • Lipids
  • cancer
  • bioimaging
  • drug screening
  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • 3122 Cancers

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.