Seppo Vainio

Seppo Vainio


Research Unit leader
Developmental Biology, Cell Signalling, Gene Editing, Stem Cells, NanoBiology Medicine, Tissue Engineering, Biosensors


As a child via my godfather, Professor Sulo Toivonen, I was exposed to his research with salamanders.  In the summer time Sulo used to collected embryos from ponds to conduct experiments how to construct a new body plan. In his lab, I had a change to look at the embryos, smell the taste of the lab, the microscopes, and the research tools. I learned that a process of cell communication was a key to emerge the morphological structures throughout the nature in all species.  I have studied these questions ever since.         

Research interests

  • Stem cell based kidney development and disease modelling
  • Wnt signalling
  • Secreted extracellular vesicles, exosomes
  • Biosensors assembly
  • Single cell omics
  • Embryonic induction
  • Tissue engineering
  • Biome level nanocommunication
  • Morphogenesis

Renaltract Marie Curie ITN

Center of Exellence of Cell matrix Reseacrh


Selected publications

  • Kispert, A.; Vainio, Seppo & McMahon, A. P. (1998) Wnt-4 is a mesenchymal signal for epithelial transformation of metanephric mesenchyme in the developing kidney. - Development 125, 4225-4234
  • Saarela, Ulla; Akram, Saad Ullah; Desgrange, Audrey; Rak-Raszewska, Aleksandra; Shan, Jingdong; Cereghini, Silvia; Ronkainen, Veli-Pekka; Heikkilä, Janne; Skovorodkin, Ilya; Vainio, Seppo J. (2017) Novel fixed z-direction (FiZD) kidney primordia and an organoid culture system for time-lapse confocal imaging. - Development 144 (6; SI), 1113-1117 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Lin, Yangfen; Zhang, Shaoping; Rehn, Marko; Itäranta, Petri; Tuukkanen, Juha; Heljasvaara, Ritva; Peltoketo, Hellevi; Pihlajaniemi, Taina & Vainio, Seppo (2001) Induced repatterning of type XVIII collagen expression in ureter bud from kidney to lung type: association with sonic hedgehog and ectopic surfactant protein C. - Development 128, 1573-1585
  • Vainio, Seppo & Lin, Y. (2002) Organogenesis: Coordinating early kidney development: lessons from gene targeting. - Nature Reviews Genetics 3, 533-543
  • Itäranta, Petri; Lin, Y.; Peräsaari, J.; Roel, G.; Destree, O. & Vainio Seppo (2002) Wnt-6 is expressed in the ureter bud and induces kidney tubule development in vitro. - Genesis 32, 259-268
  • Nagy I, Railo A, Rapila R, Hast T, Sormunen R, Tavi P, Räsänen J, Vainio S (2010) Wnt-11 signalling controls ventricular myocardium development by patterning N-cadherin and beta-catenin expression. - Cardiovascular research 85, 100-109
  • Krause, Mirja; Samoylenko, Anatoliy; Vainio, Seppo J. (2015) Exosomes as renal inductive signals in health and disease, and their application as diagnostic markers and therapeutic agents. - Frontiers in cell and developmental biology 3 (65), 4611857 . [Original]
  • Vainio, Seppo; Heikkilä, Minna; Kispert, A.; Chin, N. & McMahon, A. P. (1999) Female development in mammals is regulated by Wnt-4 signaling. - Nature 397, 405-409
  • Itäranta, Petri; Chi, Lijun; Seppänen, T.; Niku, M.; Tuukkanen, Juha; Peltoketo, Hellevi & Vainio, Seppo (2006) Wnt-4 signaling is involved in the control of smooth muscle cell fate via Bmp-4 in the medullary stroma of the developing kidney. - Developmental biology 293, 473-483
  • Naillat Florence,Prunskaite-Hyyryläinen Renata,Pietilä Ilkka,Sormunen Raija,Jokela Tiina,Shan Jingdong, Vainio Seppo (2010) Wnt4/5a signalling coordinates cell adhesion and entry into meiosis during presumptive ovarian follicle development.. - Human Molecular Genetics 19, 1539-1550
  • Shan J, Jokela T, Peltoketo H, Vainio S (2009) Generation of an allele to inactive Wnt4 gene function conditionally in the mouse. - Genesis 47, 782-788
  • Louis, I.; Heinonen, K. M.; Chagraoui, J.; Vainio, Seppo; Sauvageau, G. & Perreault, C. (2008) Signaling protein Wnt4 enhances thymopoiesis and expands multipotent hematopoietic progenitors through beta-catenin-independent signaling. - Immunity 29, 57-67
  • Heinonen KM, Vanegas JR, Brochu S, Shan J, Vainio SJ, Perreault C (2011) Wnt4 regulates thymic cellularity through the expansion of thymic epithelial cells and early thymic progenitors.. - Blood 118 (19), 5163-5173 . [Original]


Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems – BISG

Strategic research project of the University of Oulu Focus Institute: Infotech Oulu