Kadri Toome and Tambet Teesalu of the laboratory of Cancer Biology participated in the joint symposium of the Finnish Synthetic Chemistry Society, the Medicinal Chemistry Committee of the Finnish Pharmaceutical Society and the Finnish Peptide Society “Emerging targets and molecules in middle space” (Helsinki, Finland, August 24-27, 2015). Kadri’s poster “Development and in vivo validation of blood-brain barrier targeting peptides” (authors: Toome K, Säälik P, Willmore AM, Tarmo Mölder T, Sudakov A, Kõiv K, Nikonov A, Teesalu T) was awarded the best poster prize. Tambet presented an invited talk entitled „Tumor homing peptides v2.0: streamlined discovery and applications for targeted payload delivery”.

At the beginning of March a new member Maarja Haugas joined with the Lab of Cancer Biology. After ten years in Finland at the University of Helsinki, where she defended a PhD degree in developmental biology and veterinary anatomy in 2011 and continued as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental neurobiology, she has returned to beloved University of Tartu. She has background in molecular and developmental biology and in neuroscience, as well as know-how in histology.

Starting from 1st of February a new lab​ ​member​ has​ joined us. Pablo David Scodeller is from Argentina and he concluded his PhD studies ​in the University of Buenos Aires under the supervision of​ ​D​r. Ernesto Calvo​​​. ​He then went on to work in the​ 'Chemistry of Nanomaterials' group led by Dr. Galo Soler Illia​ of Buenos Aires​,​ under CONICET fellowship​​. ​For the last two years he's been working in the 'Vascular Mapping Laboratory' of Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti at Sanford-Burnham Medical research Institute, in La Jolla, USA. His main research interests are: Nanomedicine, Tumor microenvironment, drug​ ​penetration, drug delivery, adjuvants of oncolytic drugs. Phage display in vivo and in vitro. Neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries. His main hobbies include: cogitations over beer, tango music, attending milongas, and the study of the Buenos Aires jargon called Lunfardo .

On 17th of September Kairit Šor joined Cancer Biology group as a executive administrative assistant. Her duties are taking care of grant financials (budgets, expenses etc) and overall office problems. Please do not hesitate to contact her with mentioned issues. 

About her: she has more than 5 years of experience working in University of Tartu also as a project manager, has a BA in classical philology and soon to be graduate her master studies of philosophy of science.

Prof. Tambet Teesalu presented his  work on discovery and application of tumor homing peptides for targeted delivery of drugs and nanoparticles on the EMBO Young Investigator Program Cancer Group meeting in Marseille, France. 

Participants from left: Anna Sabina, Hacer Ezgi Karakas, Axel Behrens, Pascale Zimmermann, Vita Bryja, Bernd Zeisig, Devrim Gozuacik, Rania Ghossoub, Joanna Fare, Tambet Teesalu, Eric So, Erica Tse (missing: Johanna Ivaska).

Lorena Simón Gracia (left) from the laboratory of Cancer Biology participated in the European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine meeting “Paving the way to personalized diagnostics and therapy” (Basel, Switzerland). She presented a poster “Tumor penetrating pH-sensitive polymersomes for cancer theranostics” (authors: Simón L, Hunt H, Madsen J, Kotamraju VR, Braun G, Willmore AM, Ruoslahti E, Battaglia G, Teesalu T). Middle: Pablo Schodeller; right: Gary B Braun  (both from collaborating Ruoslahti lab at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, USA).

Anne-Mari A. Willmore and Tambet Teesalu of the Lab of Cancer Biology were among the members of the team that reported in Nature Materials on the development of etchable plasmonic silver nanoparticle system for cancer targeting studies. The lead author of the study “Etchable plasmonic nanoparticle probes to image and quantify cellular internalization” ( is Gary B Braun Ph.D. of Sanford Burnham Medical research Institute, La Jolla (USA) –PhD co-supervisor of Anne-Mari A. Willmore.

We are happy to congratulate our enthusiastic and talented M.Sc. students for successful conclusion of their thesis work and wish them good luck in future endeavors!




  Annika Jürimäe: „Identification of long-circulating peptides using in vivo phage display“. The aim of Annika’s work was to identify peptides that increase phage blood half-life and can be used as RES-avoiding peptides on synthetic nanoparticles.







  Kairit Kukk: “In vitro interactions of tumor-penetrating peptides with spontaneous tumours of dogs and cats”. This work characterized ex vivo binding, internalization and penetration of a panel of tumor homing peptides to a panel of spontaneous  veterinary tumors. 









  Vidrik Teder: „Serum ratiometric diagnostic peptide screening using in vivo phage display“. The aim of Vidrik’s  work was to identify peptides that modulate blood clearance of nanoparticles in tumor-dependent manner.

The Lab of Cancer Biology moved to newly built Center for Translational Medicine Building. The center includes a large animal facility and modern laboratories that will facilitate groundbreaking work on developing targeted cancer therapies.
External link:


The second joint meeting  with prof. Langel’s lab at Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu  (organizer: Kaido Kurrikoff Ph.D.) was held in Pühajärve hotel in Southern Estonia. Different aspects of peptide-mediated payload delivery, peptide design, and nanotechnology were discussed in 11 talks, followed by a general discussion and social activities. 

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