Meet our team: Mariann Kasela

Mariann Kasela

Meet our team: Mariann Kasela

We are delighted to announce that Mariann Kasela has been appointed as Production Manager and will be responsible for the DiagMMR® production operations. Congratulations!

Mariann has been with the company from the early days and has made huge contributions to the R&D efforts over the years. 

All the hard work finally was rewarded earlier this year when Mariann successfully defended her doctoral thesis on ‘Reduced mismatch repair gene expression and functional deficiency as indicators of Lynch syndrome‘. 

The journey was not easy and took a few unexpected turns. When Mariann first moved from to Helsinki from Estonia in 2012, the company did not exist yet and she anticipated to stay for around four years to complete her PhD at the research group of our founder Prof. Minna Nyström.

"It has been impressive to follow the developments, and it is a big achievement where the company stands today compared to the early days."

Dr. Mariann Kasela

As so often in life, things turned out differently and we have been lucky to keep her with us much longer and participate in her growth as a researcher and a highly appreciated team member.

In the PhD, work started off quickly and the first publication on reduced expression levels in mismatch repair protein was ready soon, with timelines being on track. The next undertaking was much more complex and a large international project with collaborators from the International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT), which evolved around one of the biggest challenges in the field of Lynch syndrome research: the interpretation of variants found in the associated genes.

Mariann also acknowledges that it was tough to be doing a PhD while working in the company, even though the topics were closely related. Among all that came requests for more research, and Mariann took on the next subject, which was the reduced expression of a specific Lynch syndrome gene, PMS2. Previous gene knockdown work had been the starting point of DiagMMR® and therefore it was natural for Mariann to take on this next challenge, which resulted in a much noted publication on decreased PMS2 expression.

Although delayed by two maternity leaves, Mariann was steadily moving forward to complete her work on the thesis. And when the finish line drew closer, and the defense was being prepared, the pandemic hit. She wasn’t spared anything and had to postpone the defense itself and everything around it, including the celebration which was a big disappointment for everyone. 

“Mariann has grown with the company from the early days of intense R&D to managing the DiagMMR® production while retaining her foot in the R&D functions in a vibrant changing environment. A pleasure to work with, her broad knowhow in the laboratory and involvement in multiple key functions makes her contributions pivotal and rewarding for the whole team.”

Prof. Minna Nyström & Dr. Minttu Kansikas

In this brave new world, Mariann’s big day finally came in the form of a remote defense with minima presence on site, and with all of the team from LS CancerDiag logging into the public online stream.

What a great presentation and defense she delivered! Everyone was impressed and Mariann overcame the last obstacle on her way to become Dr. Mariann Kasela. This journey reflects her personality much valued by all of us, a resilient, versatile and multi-tasking team member, always willing to help and walk the extra mile!

We are thankful to have you as a trusted colleague and congratulations for you thesis and promotion!

Mariann Kasela et al

From left to right: Prof. Minna Nyström (CEO), Dr. Mariann Kasela (Production Manager), Dr. Minttu Kansikas (Chief Scientifc Officer).