Aalto-Helsinki Team Wiki

Aalto-Helsinki Team Wiki



Aalto-Helsinki 2021

Aalto-Helsinki 2021 is a student group consisting of ten students from the two top Finnish universities: Aalto University and the University of Helsinki. With skills in bioinformatics, genetics, psychology, neuroscience, molecular biosciences, engineering, microbiology, and biotechnology, our team is not only international but also diverse. The exceptional scientific work we do is made possible by the unique collaboration between Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, which provides us with multidisciplinary skills, a broad support network, and first-rate resources. Thus, our goal is to create an innovative solution to a scientific real-life problem by bringing various fields of study together for higher value creation.


Team leader

Wet lab

Sally is enrolled in the University of Helsinki's MSc degree in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology and holds a Bachelor's degree in Global Diseases Biology from the University of California, Davis. On the weekends, she enjoys hiking, playing volleyball, and tending to her houseplants.

Sally Chesnut


Vice team leader

Dry lab

Emma is a BSc student in Biology at the University of Helsinki and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Energy Engineering from Aalto University. She enjoys listening to music, trying out new recipes and spending time outdoors.

Emma Ryhänen


Wet lab

Anni is a Master's student at the Life Science Technologies programme at Aalto University. She is also enrolled in the MSc programme of Genetics and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Helsinki, where she completed her bachelor's in Molecular Biosciences. In her free time, she plays the guitar and loves to spend time outdoors in nature.

Anni Lindfors


Dry lab

Anniina has studied her Bachelor’s in Bioinformation Technology with a Bioproducts minor at Aalto University, where she is presently doing a Master's degree in Biosystems and Biomaterials. In her free time, she enjoys doing voluntary work, growing food and cooking, thrifting cookbooks and swimming.

Anniina Savolainen


Wet lab

Enrique, also known as Quique, graduated from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with a BSc in Biotechnology, and is currently enrolled in the University of Helsinki's MSc degree in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology. His main hobbies are playing the guitar, football and theatre.

Enrique de Dios Mateos


Dry lab

Iiris is a student of the Molecular Biosciences BSc program at the University of Helsinki with a minor in Computer Science. She plays ringette in the Finnish national league and loves other sports as well. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family.

Iiris Pitko


Wet lab

Joanna is a student of the Translational Medicine MSc program at the University of Helsinki. She did her Honour Bachelor’s in Human Biology with Immunology and Physiology minors at the University of Toronto. Her main hobbies include exploring the city, cooking and subjecting her friends to experimental dishes.

Joanna Jagdeo


Wet lab

Rupesh has completed a Biotechnology BTech degree at Anna University in Chennai and is presently enrolled in the University of Helsinki's Genetics and Molecular Biosciences MSc program. His hobbies are football, graphic design and online quizzes.

Rupesh Balaji Jayachandran


Dry lab

Sofie is currently doing her MSc degree in Neuroscience at the University of Helsinki, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Statistics minor from Victoria University of Wellington. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the world, building memorable moments and living life to the fullest.

Sofie de Sena


Dry lab

Vilma has graduated with a Chemical Engineering B. Ch. E. and Biochemistry and Chemistry minors from the University of Minnesota, Twin-cities, and is currently completing an MSc program in Biotechnology at Aalto University. She loves playing soccer and listening to music.

Vilma Jäämuru

Principal Investigators and Advisors


Principal Investigator

Heli Viskari is a University Lecturer at Aalto University, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems and she has been involved in the iGEM team advisor activities since 2015. Her professional field of expertise includes molecular genetics and synthetic biology as well as cell and molecular biology in general.

Heli Viskari


Principal Investigator

Markus is a Professor of Biomolecular Materials at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering, and the leader of the Biomolecular Materials research group. His research combines synthetic biology and materials, studying novel biosynthetic production as well as interactions between living and non-living systems.

Markus Linder



Sesilja conducted her Ph.D. studies in the laboratory of Dr. Hideo Iwai at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, and defended her thesis in November 2014. In January 2016, she joined Professor Markus Linder’s group at Aalto University to focus on biomaterials. She obtained a three-year Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellowship in 2017 and spent a 6-month mobility period at EMBL Hamburg in early 2019. Since December 2018, she has held a staff scientist position at Aalto University.

Sesilja Aranko



Ville Paavilainen is a tenure track group leader at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. Ville’s research aims to understand how our cells maintain healthy balanced proteomes, how proteomic imbalances can lead to disease and how innovative strategies to target proteostasis disease could eventually be used as new therapies against diseases such as cancer, inflammatory conditions and viral diseases.

Ville Paavilainen




Bulat has a background in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology and is a PhD student at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine. His research revolves around the use of statistical and deep learning methods in precision medicine, with a particular emphasis on medication repurposing and understanding the effects of drug combinations in cancer therapy. In the future, he hopes to further explore the promise of individualised medicine in longevity studies.

Bulat Zagidullin



Marta is a biomedical scientist specialised in neuroscience. She is a PhD student in two laboratories of the University of Helsinki, the Rivera Lab and the Di Scala Lab, where she studies the role of chloride homeostasis in the reactive plasticity of the dentate gyrus. She holds a Master's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Helsinki. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and nature.

Marta Sáez García



Sardana is a student of the Computer Science doctoral program at the University of Helsinki. She has completed the Information Technology MSc program at North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk.

Sardana Ivanova



Shahan did his master's in Protein Biochemistry from the University of Oulu, Finland. He started his PhD at the University of Helsinki in December 2017 under Prof. Seppo Meri and Dr Karita Haapasalo. His academic interests are to analyse the immune evasion strategies by pathogenic bacteria. Shahan believes that scientific research must be accessible and understandable to everyone. He founded at the beginning of 2021 and continues efforts to dissipate scientific knowledge to academic and non-academic audiences.

Shahan Syed



Tuomo is a physicist turned into a computational biologist. He is a PhD student at the Taipale Lab in University of Helsinki studying gene regulation using machine learning and other computational approaches. Tuomo holds a Master's degree in Theoretical Physics and Translational Medicine from the University of Helsinki, and really enjoys sports as well as nerdy things.

Tuomo Hartonen

Aalto-Helsinki Team Wiki