Johanna Ivaska - Biography#

K. Albin Johansson Research Professor Johanna Ivaska
Internationally recognised leader in the field of cell adhesion and cancer
No. publications, 124; H-index, 65; citations, 16124

After completing her PhD in 2000, Johanna, supported by an EMBO long-term fellowship, moved to the CR-UK London Institute for her postdoc training. In 2003, she set up her own group at the VTT Medical Biotechnology Centre in Turku, Finland. Shortly after, she was awarded a prestigious 5-yr Academy of Finland PI position (675000 €) to continue her research at the University of Turku (UTU). During her 20 years as head of the Cell and Adhesion and Cancer group, Johanna has trained over 60 international young researchers (currently 15 members from FR, UK, AU, FI, CZ, MX, IN), gained international recognition (most recently nominated as EMBO council member) and published high impact articles (several national prizes for best publication) in established journals (e.g. Nat Cell Biol, Nat Rev Cancer, Dev Cell, J Cell Biol, Nat Commun, etc). Her past funding includes ERC Starting, Consolidator and PoC grants. Her current portfolio includes 1.7 M € as the director of a Centre of Excellence (BarrierForce, 2022-2026) and 990000 € from a Finnish foundation (2023-2026) (total ongoing funding 4.41 M €, 2019 – 2026).

Johanna has made translationally relevant discoveries, leading to patent applications (2 granted, 3 pending) and funding support from Novo Nordisk Fonden to investigate new anti-KRAS therapies.

In addition to UTU responsibilities, Johanna is an active external reviewer for articles, international grants (most recent Wallenberg foundation) and institutions (e.g. SAB member of Beatson Institute CR-UK) and serves on the editorial board of several journals. In 2023 alone, she is in the organising committee of the AACR annual and the Italian ABCD conferences and is the Chair of the Annual Biocity Symposium in Finland (international meeting >300 participants). Johanna is also a strong advocate for women in science and for public engagement through national media outlets. She was a prominent figure in the Pink Ribbon cancer charity campaign (prime-time TV, 2020, FI), which raised 4.2 M € for cancer research and patient support.

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