Janne Koivisto – Material Engineer in search of the perfect gel

When you visit Janne Koivisto‘s work place, it looks just like you would imagine. White coated researchers in a white laboratory, microscopes, lots of small glass jars, and bottles everywhere. Yet, it is still far away from the ordinary. Janne could be described as an adventurer, who is sailing the open sea and trying to find the perfect environment to plant seeds.

Janne is working with gels. Gels, which would make an ideal seedbed for stem cells. In 2013, he wrote his master’s thesis in Tampere University of Technology about differentiation of peripheral neural cells. During the thesis work, Janne joined to the hydrogel project and now he continues that research by working as a PhD student and a researcher in our biomaterials team at the Human Spare Parts program.

“Hydrogels are mostly water. Then there are polymers. My goal is to find an ideal hydrogel, which would mimic soft tissue, such as the brain or heart tissue, in the best possible way”, Janne explains.

Janne tests and tries out different combinations of biomaterials. When his gel patch is ready, he takes it to the fridge. “Hydrogel is a really good seedbed for stem cells, but did you know it becomes moldy really fast. That is why the gel has to be kept in the fridge.”

“Stem cells won’t grow without a proper bed. They also need tailor-made houses. Developing, building and creating the best possible conditions for stem cells”, Janne says while doing his next testing phase of a new hydrogel combination.

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