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Penninger Group

Miikka Vikkula headshot

Miikka Vikkula, MD, PhD

University of British Colombia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The Penninger Lab will generate iPSCs from patient samples to analyze the phosphoproteome under static and flow conditions, toward determining biomechanical signatures in MMA and AVM vasculopathies. They will develop vascular organoid models from patient iPSCs, perform CRISPR editing to generate defined mutants and test the ability of diseased cells to adapt to different flow patterns. They will also use these organoids to test the effect of pharmacological modulation of mechanotransduction, performing small molecule library screens to identify potential new treatments. Finally, they will transplant the organoids into mice to study changes to mechanobiology in MMA/AVM in vivo.


Group Members

Gustav  Jonsson
Gustav Jonsson
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Gustav is currently doing his PhD in the group of Dr. Josef Penninger at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna. Before joining Dr. Penningers group, Gustav worked in Sweden, South Korea, and the UK on in vivo intravascular NK cell migration and cancer, and he holds an engineering degree in Medical Biotechnology. For his PhD work, Gustav is continuing his work in the fields of immunology and vascular biology. For example, for his PhD Gustav is currently working on new microfluidics platforms for on-chip tissue vascularization and virus infections of endothelial tissues.

Jingqiang  Wang
Jingqiang Wang
Jun  Wang
Jun Wang, PhD
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Jun Wang is postdoctoral fellow in Josef Penninger lab at the University of British Colombia. She received her doctorate in Cell Biology from Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and her bachelor's degree from Nanjing Agricultural University in China. She has published papers about PROTACs and cardiovascular diseases: "A chemical approach for global protein knockdown from mice to non-human primates" (December 2019, Cell Discovery 5(1):10) and "Reconstitution of HuR-Inhibited CUGBP1 Expression Protects Cardiomyocytes from Acute Myocardial Infarction-Induced Injury" (February 2017, Antioxidants and Redox Signaling 27(14)). She currently field is generation of vascularized epithelial organoids and induced diseases ex vivo. She also focuses on evaluation of the genes to design small molecular to treat cardiovascular diseases.

Junseong  Lee
Junseong Lee, PhD
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Dr. Junseong Lee joined Dr. Josef Penninger’s lab as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in December 2019. Before this, from 2014-2019, he did his thesis research with Dr. Jacques Thibodeau and Dr. Cheolho Cheong in the Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Montreal. In 2012, he received his B.S. degree in the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at Korea University.

Kirill   Salewskij
Kirill Salewskij
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Kirill is a second year PhD student in Dr. Josef Penninger’s group at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna. He received his master’s degree in Molecular Biomedicine from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Germany and worked at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in the field of mouse embryonic self-organization. For his PhD, Kirill transitioned to the field of human stem cells and vascular biology. His current projects involve modelling the vascular disorders CADASIL and Moyamoya Disease through blood vessel organoids in order to find responsible cellular pathways and to explore opportunities for genetic and pharmacological intervention.

Nico  Werschler
Nico Werschler
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Nico Werschler is a PhD candidate [Biomedical Engineering], in the Josef Penninger lab. Nico’s works surrounds human tissue engineering with a precise focus on generating self-organizing and controlled perfusable human blood vessel networks in human stem cell derived organoids. Nico also has experience modelling stem cell trajectory and fate acquisition, which serves useful in optimising and enhancing organoid complexity and reproducibility.