Taina Pihlajaniemi

MD, PhD, Professor
Vice Rector (research)
Biomedicine, molecular biology

ECM and Hypoxia
Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Taina Pihlajaniemi

The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides structural support and guidance cues for cells, and is centrally involved in dynamic processes in organogenesis, organ function and diseases. Pihlajaniemi investigates the structural and regulatory roles of collagens, a key group of ECM proteins in supporting homeostasis and function of cells and tissues. She has discovered several of the collagen family of proteins and studied their biochemical and cellular properties as well as physiological and pathological relevance in animal models and human diseases. These include the structurally homologous collagen types XV and XVIII, forming the subfamily of multiplexins (multiple triple-helix domains with interruptions), and collagen XIII, identified as a transmembrane protein. Of special interest is investigating their roles and mechanismsin tissue development and homeostasis, including in in stem cell niches, and in fibrotic and malignant processes. The aim is to use the new knowledge to design novel bioassays and therapeutic approaches.

Research interests

  • Collagens, especially multiplexin collagens XV and XVIII, and transmembrane collagens, especially collagen XIII
  • Cell-extracellular matrix interactions, especially using mouse models
  • Role of extracellular matrix in tissue homeostasis, development and disease processes

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0400 586 920