Pihlajaniemi, Taina: Finnish CoE in Cell-Extracellular Matrix Research

The extracellular matrix has many crucial roles to play. In order to gain a true picture of how the human organism works, we need to consider the constant interaction between cells and the extracellular matrix.

The CoE’s aim is to understand the dialogue that goes on between cells and the extracellular matrix, a process that is necessary for the formation and normal function of organs and blood vessels, as well as in cancers and other types of diseases. The CoE is also interested to explore the functions of stem cells in the processes of renewal and differentiation. The new understanding gained from these studies will lead to improved diagnostics and treatments during the next few years.

The extracellular matrix is not just a support structure but an extremely diverse and active agent. It works at once as a messenger and as a regulator of disease processes. The extracellular matrix provides behaviour cues to cells, and creates a physical barrier to the progression of cancer.

One of the CoE’s visions is to be able to grow replacement organs from individual cells.  The number of kidney patients, for instance, far outstrips the number of donors.

The CoE’s aim is to conduct research that will help identify mechanisms of malignant cell transformation and ultimately lead to new diagnostic methods and treatments. We want to facilitate the detection of cancer and treatment before the disease progresses too far.

Professor Taina Pihlajaniemi, University of Oulu, tel. +358 8 537 5800, taina.pihlajaniemi(at)

Site of research: University of Oulu


More information

Professor Taina Pihlajaniemi
University of Oulu
tel. +358 8 537 5800

Site of research: University of Oulu

Last modified 19 Feb 2015
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