Virpi Muhonen

Dr. Virpi Muhonen, CEO, Askel Healthcare Ltd

My expertise:

• cell biology, especially in orthopaedic field

• tissue engineering, especially cartilage repair

• cartilage repair methods

• large animal models (equine and porcine)

• veterinary clinical studies (dogs)

• medical devices, especially class III devices

• academic start-up (founder and a CEO)

• start-up funding, including crowdfunding, Business Finland and ELY grants



Saara Laitinen

Dr. Saara Laitinen, R&D manager at FRC Blood Service (FRCBS)

Saara Laitinen has an interest in applied science for the novel therapy development. Having a background in cell biology, biochemistry and lipid membrane from the first start of her scientific carrier she is still fascinated on membrane dynamics and how it can be modified and use as a novel tool of delivering therapies in most challenging disorders of our physiology phases. During current over ten years in FRCBS she has been an elementary part of developing mesenchymal stem cell techniques aiming for better culture methods towards clinical use. Her and her colleagues work in FRCBS has made a foundation to current Cell Therapy Centre in house that is one of the leading cell therapy centres in Finland.

Laitinen has over 50 peer-reviewed publications on adult (stem) cell lipidomics and immunology, extracellular vesicles derived from stem cells, blood and cancer. (Scopus: 52 publications, 3,365 citations, h-index 25, RG Score 34.35).


Johana Kuncová-Kallio

Dr. Johana Kuncová-Kallio, Director, UPM Biomedicals

Johana works in the fields of cell technology and diagnostics since 2000. The topics included single cell handling and analysis, biomimetic environments for cell cultivation and stem cell differentiation, point-of-care diagnostics, biosensors, molecular interactions, nanoparticle characterization and surface modifications.
She has been involved in the Finnish national initiatives of Research Tissue Bank Finland, Infrastructure for Personalized Treatments, as well as in the building of BioMediTech institute. She has established several courses in the field of microfluidics and still gives lectures in the fields where biology meets technology, such as nanobiotechnology or laboratory automation. Besides that, she acts as a mentor and advances the skills of others in the fields of presentation skills, career development and technology spin-offs.
During her career, she was involved in several spin-offs from universities, as well as from established companies. Before joining UPM, she was a CEO of a company manufacturing scientific instrumentation. She acted as an evaluator for Dutch Technology Foundation and for the European Commission.


Hongbo Zhang

Dr. Hongbo Zhang, Associate Professor in Åbo Akademi University
Guest Professor in Ruijin Hosptial, Shanghai Jiaotong University

Hongbo Zhang graduated his PhD from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki in December 2012 and then he did three years postdoc in Harvard University supervised by Prof. David A. Weitz. He has a multidisciplinary background in pharmacy, nanotechnology, microfluidics, precision medication, bioimaging, diagnostics; and he knows the world leading technologies. In September 2016, he becomes a Tenure track Assistant Professor in Åbo Akademi University and established his own research group and he became Tenure track Associate Pofessor in November 2018. He has published 120 papers, with total impact factor of 1200+, google citation of 4500+, H-index of 41. He is reviewer of Chemical Reviewer, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano and many other journals. He has also been corresponding 14 research projects in Finland and in China. He is the co-founder of ChinFin Incubator and Innovation Oy, Turku, and in collaboration with Huaihai Rongtai Holding, they will focus on Biomedical research commercialization.

ORCID Number: 0000-0002-1071-4416

Research Interests:
Nanotechnology for drug delivery and Nanomedicine
Functional materials for tissue engineering


Chunlin Xu

Dr. Chunlin Xu
Professor in Renewable Materials Chemistry
Laboratory of Natural Materials Technology
Åbo Akademi University

Expertise and competence:
Bioactive substances and biomaterials from plants, Biomass processing and characterization, Biomaterial chemical characterization, Carbohydrate chemistry and polysaccharides modification, Development of advanced biomaterials including using advanced fabrication techniques such as 3D bioprinting, Smart hydrogels from biopolymers for cell culture and medical treatments.

Email: cxu(at)