Centre of Excellence in Cell-ECM Research

The Centre of Excellence in Cell-Extracellular Matrix (ECM) Research granted by the Academy of Finland for years 2012 - 2017 is an integrated consortium of six research groups led by Drs. Taina Pihlajaniemi, Johanna Myllyharju, Seppo Vainio, Robert Winqvist, Aki Manninen, and Lauri Eklund. The consortium aims to understand how cell‐ECM interplay and the ECM microenvironments contribute to tissue development and homeostasis as well as how disruption of these essential conditions and interactions influence the integrity of tissues and malignancy development

The consortium integrates expertise in research on cell-ECM interplay, collagens, ECM synthesis and hypoxia response, embryonic induction and organogenesis, cancer genetics and tumor biology, epithelial cell polarity, and vascular morphogenesis. New understanding gained from the studies of the CoE will lead to improved diagnostics and treatments.

The CoE in Cell-ECM Research strenghtens the Oulu profile as one of the leading centres in ECM biology wordwide and provides well-organized and tightly internationally linked training opportunities for at least 35 PhD and MD-PhD students.The current number of personnel working for the CoE is about 100 and about 20 % of research staff is recruited from abroad. The laboratories of the CoE operate at the Medical Campus of the University of Oulu, Finland, and the groups are part of Biocenter Oulu.