Mari Pekkanen-Mattila – Making the heart beat on glass arrays
In 2005, one of the world-class cell biology research topics began in BioMediTech and later became an important part of our research program – the thumping heart cells. Biochemist, PhD, Mari Pekkanen-Mattila has been studying the heart beat on a plate from the very beginning.
“When we try to understand heart diseases it is impossible to get thumping human hearts as research material. Animal hearts can also be used, but they are never 100 % comparable with human hearts. Therefore, it is sort of a revolution for cardiac research when we can use thumping heart cells of human origin as research material”, Mari says and quite evidently is still, after many years, passionate about her research subject.
It is amazing to see how cell biology professional, Mari, finds beating heart cells with a microscope and the picture of a tiny heart cell beating becomes visible on a big screen. “Oh, here is a really tough one, what a beat these cells have”, she says and makes notes on her computer.
“At the moment, it is possible to model genetic heart diseases by utilizing heart cells on a plate, or test how certain drugs affect a patient’s heart cells without risking the patient’s well being.”