Tuula Heinonen Ph.D., Professor, Director of  FICAM

Dr Heinonen,  Ph.D. in toxicology has adjunct professorships both at the University of Turku (biochemical toxicology) and at the University of Helsinki (biochemistry). She is European registered toxicologist. Dr Heinonen is the director of the Finnish Centre for Alternative Methods, FICAM. Her responsibility has been to set up and is to manage the GLP-grade centre, FICAM.
Before FICAM Dr. Heinonen worked in pharma industry for 17 years in various positions such as Study director in in vivo and in vitro non-clinical regulatory (general toxicity and genotoxicity) and biological mechanistic studies, as laboratory head and department manager and also as R&D director. She set up several laboratories into GLP. She gained experience from clinical trials when acting as Clinical study director. Dr Heinonen has participated in several meetings with regulatory bodies (EMEA, FDA, national) with regard to various stages of pharmaceutical development including scientific advices on whole development plan. Before joining to pharmaceutical industry Dr. Heinonen worked at the Institute of Occupational Health performing animal toxicity and in vitro toxicity studies on chemical substances and using that data in carcinogenic risks assessments.

Timo Ylikomi, MD, Professor

Dr. Timo Ylikomi has received his MD and PhD at the University of Tampere. He has carried out research work in the Medical School of the UTA and in France (Strasbourg and Paris). Timo Ylikomi  is a professor of cell biology at the Department of Cell Biology and at FICAM. He is currently directing research in cell biology, steroid hormone action, functional genomics, human adult stem cells, tissue engineering and cell engineering. The research is multidisciplinary (biomedical engineering) combining clinical medicine, cell/molecule biology and engineering.

Tarja Toimela, Ph.D.

Dr. Tarja Toimela obtained her MSc degree in Jyväskylä University cell biology as her major. She obtained her PhD degree in Tampere University Medical School in the field of in vitro toxicology (2004). Tarja Toimela has wide expertise in cell culturing, cell analysis techniques and in in vitro toxicology methods.


Marika Mannerström, Ph.Lic.

Marika Mannerström has obtained her Ph. Lic. in physiology in the University of Helsinki. She has over twenty years experience as researcher in different projects (in vitro toxicology, cell biology, nutritional physiology, microbiology). She has been working in different GLP laboratories eg. as Study Director. In FICAM she is responsible for quality assurance (QA).


Outi Huttala, PhD.

Outi Huttala graduated from the Master’s Degree Programme in Biotechnology at the University of Tampere, specializing in cell technology. She performed the work for her Master’s thesis and Doctoral thesis in FICAM. She works in FICAM she works in various research projects.


Tuomas Tolvanen, Ph.D.

Tuomas Tolvanen graduated from the University of Kuopio as M.Sc. in biochemistry, and obtained his PhD from the Medical faculty of University of Helsinki in 2018. Previously he has been studying mechanisms behind diabetic kidney disease, and developing novel drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In FICAM Dr. Tolvanen is developing the in vitro 3D heart model.


Maria Koivisto, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Maria Toivanen obtained her M.Sc. (Tech.) degree at the Tampere University of Technology where she studied Tissue Engineering in the Biotechnology Programme. She made her Master’s Thesis (Extracellular Signals of Neuronal Networks in Restricted Culture Volumes) in Neuro Group at BioMediTech. Currently, she works as a PhD Student at FICAM. Her research topic is in vitro heart model.


Hanna Tähti, Ph.D., Professor emer.

Hanna Tähti has reached the degree of Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki. she has worked as teacher and scientist in Helsinki (1964-73) and in Tampere (1973-2004) Universities. In Tampere University she has a long career in research in the field of toxicology. Her special area is neurotoxicology.  Her main interest is to develop in vitro alternative methods for the replacement of the use of animal experiments. In FICAM, she has a scientific advisory role. She has been active in research projects developing in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) models for the evaluation of drug effects on the central nervous system.

Prof. Tähti is European registered toxicologist. She has acted as a board member (1997-2003) of EUROTOX, where she is the honorary member since 2005. She was the first Chairman (2003-2007) of the Finnish Consensus Platform for Alternatives (FINCOPA), which was established in Tampere in 2003, and she is still active in the board of FINCOPA.

Technical personnel

Maaret Vaani

Ms. Maaret Vaani graduated from Pirkanmaa Polytechnic University of Applied Sciences as Biomedical Laboratory Technologist. She has been working in different GLP laboratories. In FICAM she is working as laboratory supervisor and responsible for the realization of GLP.


Mirja Hyppönen

Special laboratory technician Mirja Hyppönen graduated as laboratory technician from Tampere College in 2000. She has made additional studies on cell culturing, clean room work, PCR work, laboratory animal care, and has Master´s degree in production engineering. Mirja has worked in GMP organization as a product development technician. The work included a variety of laboratory duties (immunology, histology, production of anti-bodies and peptides).
Mirja has worked in Medical School at the University of Tampere since the year 2002 in cell biology research group. In FICAM she has worked since 2008 with different cell model development projects (endometrium, angiogenesis) using immunohistochemistry, cytotoxicity and ELISA methods. Her GLP duties include e.g. preparation of master banks, some device responsibilities and work in GLP studies.

Maria Annala