Hotulainen Lab

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Pirta Hotulainen     Pirta Hotulainen, PhD, Docent, Group leader

Pirta started her cellular neuroscience group in 2009. She started her career as a biochemist (University of Helsinki) and continued then to actin cell biology during her PhD in Germany (supervised by prof. Martin Bähler) and during postdoctoral training in the Institute of Biotechnology (University of Helsinki, supervised by prof. Pekka Lappalainen). For her own group, she wanted to continue with the actin cytoskeleton and as neuronal actin cytoskeleton was relatively poorly studied at that time, she brought her actin expertise to neuroscience. She is actively contributing to science outreach and politics and she is currently Chair of Finnish Brain Research Society ( and Vice Chair of European “young” Neuroscience PIs Network FENS-KAVLI ( .



Rimante Minkeviciene    Rimante Minkeviciene, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow

Rimante got her Master’s degree in Neuroscience from Vilnius University, Lithuania. She completed PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. Of special interest to her during her PhD studies was neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. She also gained significant experience in behavioral neuroscience. She came to Helsinki as a post-doc in 2011. She brings her knowledge of behavioral neuroscience and histology to the Hotulainen Lab’s projects. Also, she has an input in the preparation of organotypic hippocampal slices and neuronal cultures.



Jolanta Lundgren    Jolanta Lundgren, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow

Jolanta got her Master’s degree in cell biology from Åbo Akademi University. She did her PhD at the division of Neurogeriatrics at Karolinska Insititutet in Stockholm where she studied the presynaptic role of the amyloid β-peptide and the secretases responsible for its production. After a short post doc at Prof. Cecilia Sahlgren’s Cell Fate lab at Åbo Akademi University, she joined the cellular neuroscience group in 2020. She is studying the role of the actin regulating protein myosin XVI at the synapse, with an emphasis on cytoskeletal regulation and excitatory/inhibitory balance.



Pushpa Khanal    Pushpa Khanal, MSc, PhD Student

Pushpa received her BSc degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Wyoming, USA and completed her MSc degree in Neuroscience at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She joined the Hotulainen lab in April 2017. Currently, she is working as a PhD student in the group. Her research focuses on investigating the regulation and the physiological importance of dendritic spine initiation. She aims to identify the novel dendritic spine initiation factors as well as the underlying molecular and signaling pathways associated with their functions.



David Micinski    David Micinski, MSc, PhD Student

David received his BSc in psychology from Centenary College of Louisiana, USA, and completed his MSc in neuroscience at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has been a PhD student in the group since 2018. His research focuses on the axon initial segment (AIS) and how the cytoskeleton and associated proteins contribute to AIS function. He is currently investigating the role of diverse and dynamic actin structures in the formation and maintenance of the AIS.



Jutta Joukio    Jutta Joukio, MSc student

Jutta is currently finalizing her biomedical studies at the university of Turku. She is interested to elucidate how do biology and behavior intertwine, what is the role of the environment and experience in this interaction, and how do neuropsychiatric disorders develop? At the moment, she is engaged in her Master’s thesis work where she is focusing on myosin XVI, its expression patterns at different points during development and potential roles in autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.


Former Members

 Enni Bertling, Post-doctoral fellow

 Merja Joensuu, Post-doctoral fellow

 Amr Abou Elezz, PhD Thesis

 Iryna Hlushcenko, PhD Thesis

 Mikko Koskinen, PhD Thesis

 Maria Anastasiadou, Master's Thesis

 Jonas Englund, Master's Thesis

 Nora Nordström, Thesis, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

 Aruna Ghimire, PhD student

 Jaakko Kuurne, Undergraduate Student

 Aino Lipponen, Undergraduate Student


Internship Students

 Katharina Möller, Germany

 Carla Cuní López, Spain