Taija Mäkinen (PI)

I am interested in understanding the complex interplay between cells and their environment during vascular morphogenesis.


Henrik Ortsäter

I received my PhD in Medical Cell Biology from Uppsala University in 2005. After post doctoral work on diabetes research at Karolinska Institute I joined the Mäkinen lab in 2014. I’m working on techniques to monitor lymphatic vessel function using NIR in vivo microscopy.

Magda Hernandez Vasquez

I received my PhD in Pharmacology from CINVESTAV-IPN in Mexico City. During my PhD in Prof. Jose Vazquez´s lab, I characterized the molecular mechanisms by which GPR124/TEM5, an orphan adhesion GPCR, promotes endothelial cell adhesion. In 2017 I joined the lab as a postdoc. Now I am working on characterising two new lymphatic endothelial transcription factors.

Milena Petkova

I obtained my Master’s degree in Medical Research from Uppsala University. For my thesis I worked in Christer Betsholtz’s research group, exploring the expression profile of Gpr116 - an orphan adhesion GPCR, in the endothelium. I joined Taija’s lab in 2018 as a PhD student and my project focuses on the mechanisms underlying the development of venous and lymphatic malformations.  

Nina Daubel

I obtained my Master’s degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. For my thesis work I joined the group of Ortrun Mittelsten Scheid at the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology, where I studied dynamics in nuclear architecture. I am interested in aspects of cell biology and development in general. My PhD project focuses on the characterization of lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells.

Sarah Schnabellehner

I received my Master´s degree in Molecular Medicine from Uppsala University, where I conducted my thesis project in Christer Betsholtz´s group. The project focused on the investigation of vascular defects and malformations during embryonic development caused by defects in Rho‑GTPase signalling. I joined Taija´s group in 2018, first for an internship and then as a PhD student, investigating the role of integrin signalling in (lymph)angiogenesis.

Simon Stritt

I received my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the Julius-Maximilians University in Würzburg. Up to now I have studied the role of cytoskeletal proteins in platelet production and the pathogenesis of platelet disorders in the lab of Prof. Bernhard Nieswandt. In 2016 I joined Taija’s lab focusing on the role of the cytoskeleton in determining endothelial cell function and on the origin of lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells.

Sofie Wagenius

I have a master degree in ecology from Stockholm University. My master project was about social complexity in the arctic fox. I joined Mäkinen lab in 2015 as a laboratory assistant.


I received my PhD in Biology from Tsinghua University in China, where I worked on the molecular basis of convergent extension movement during embryogenesis. I joined Mäkinen lab in 2015 as a postdoc. Now my work is focusing on the organ-specific mechanisms of lymphatic morphogenesis.