Johanna Ivaska started her research career as a PhD student in the University of Turku, focusing on the biological roles of collagen-binding integrins. Following her successful postdoctoral training at CR-UK, LIR with Prof. Peter J. Parker, she established her own lab at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2003. Johanna subsequently moved to the University of Turku Centre for Biotechnology in 2013 and currently has 22 young and dynamic lab members. Johanna was elected as an EMBO member in 2015.
Our ultimate aim is to understand how integrin traffic, activity and signalling are regulated under normal and pathological conditions. Integrins and receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are cell surface receptors mediating key biological functions such as cell survival, proliferation and cell migration.
The loss or perturbation of mechanisms that would normally control integrin-mediated cell adhesion or RTK signalling is associated with a number of diseases including cancer metastasis. Current projects are concerned with endo/exosomal trafficking of integrins, cross-talk between integrins and RTKs and the regulation of integrin activity and filopodia formation during cell invasion. We are also interested in the interplay between cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment.
Our projects receive funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 615258 and from the Academy of Finland, the Cancer Society of Finland, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation and EMBO.