Ville Hietakangas
Ville did his PhD with Lea Sistonen in University of Turku on transcriptional regulation of the heat shock response. During his postdoc with Steve Cohen (EMBL Heidelberg and TLL Singapore) used Drosophila to study insulin/TOR signalling in the regulation of tissue growth and metabolism. His current goal is to achieve an integrated view on nutrient sensing in physiological setting and to discover new regulators of nutrient sensing with relevance to human disease.


Linda van den Berg

Linda van den Berg
Linda’s research interest lies in the identification of causative genes and molecular mechanisms in disease predisposition. She did her Ph.D. (2009-2013) in the group of Andrea Kindler-Röhrborn, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, focussing on innate susceptibility and resistance, respectively, towards chemically induced tumors in rodent models of human disease. In 2014 she joined the group of Lauri Aaltonen, University of Helsinki, to explore tumor predisposition in human populations. Since 2016 she is part of Ville Hietakangas´ group and studies the interaction of genetic factors with dietary sugars the chronic overconsumption of which can lead to e.g. type 2 diabetes or cancer.

linda.vandenberg (at)

Bohdana Rovenko
Bohdana studied Biochemistry in Chernivtsi University (Ukraine) and has been doing her PhD in the lab of Volodymyr Lushchak (Precarpathian University, Ukraine) at the field of Drosophila nutrition and oxidative stress. Her main research focus is on crosstalk between sugar intolerance and oxidative stress.

bohdana.rovenko (at)

Anni Viheriäranta

Anni studied genetics in the University of Helsinki and did her PhD (2007-2014) in the laboratory of Juha Klefström in the Institute of Biomedicine & Translation Cancer Biology Program. Her PhD focused on apoptotic sensitization and metabolic reprogramming by oncogene Myc. Currently, Anni is aiming to find novel drug targets for human cancer therapy by studying nutrient sensing and metabolic transformation.

anni.nieminen (at)

PhD students

Ryan Giblin

Ryan studied medical research at the University of Tasmania in Australia. Ryan received his Honours degree in Medical Research for his investigation into the role of vitamin D and sex on metabolic function. Ryan's PhD project focuses on sugar sensing and glutamine metabolism.

ryan.giblin (at)

Kiran Hasygar

Kiran studied biochemistry in the University of Bangalore. Before joining the lab as a PhD student he worked as a Junior Research Fellow in the Indian Institute of Science. Kiran's PhD project focuses on regulation of insulin-like peptide secretion and growth control.

kiran.hasygar (at)

Krista Kokki

Krista Kokki
Krista studied biosciences in the University of Eastern Finland but has focused in bioinformatics since the beginning of her MSc. studies. In Hietakangas lab, she works as the group’s bioinformatician. For her PhD Krista is studying organism’s response to sugar feeding and aiming to uncover new mechanisms for the sugar sensing network.

krista.kokki (at)

Ying Liu

Ying received his Master's degree in the Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan. For his PhD Ying is determined to identify new downstream effectors of insulin signalling and growth control.

ying.liu (at)

Mari Teesalu

Mari has studied gene technology in the University of Tartu after which she received her Master's degree in the University of Helsinki. For her PhD, Mari is characterizing novel regulators involved in sugar tolerance.

mari.teesalu (at)

Undergraduate students

Oona Kinnunen
Nicole Lamichane


Heini Seppälä

Heini has studied chemical engineering in the EVTEK University of Applied Sciences and works in the group as a research technician.

heini.seppala (at)

Juhana Juutila



PhD students
Essi Havula, University of Sydney, Australia

Riikka Hynynen, University of Helsinki
Jaakko Mattila, DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany
Richard Melvin, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Wei Zhang, Nanjing Agricultural University, China

Contact information

Ville Hietakangas
Group leader, PhD
Associate Professor
Tel. +358 2941 58001
e-mail: ville.hietakangas (at)

Department of Biosciences (Genetics)
Institute of Biotechnology
P.O.Box. 56, 00014 University of Helsinki
Street address: Viikinkaari 9, Biocenter 1