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Hello Tuomas - new research group leader!

We are happy to introduce: Tuomas Näreoja, new research group leader at the division of Pathology.

Photo of Tuomas Näreoja, research group leader, Department of Laboratory Medicine
Tuomas Näreoja, research group leader, Department of Laboratory Medicine

What research area are you involved in?

My primary field of research is bone biology and within that field we work on:

Further development of an in vitro model of bone including all bone cell types, the bone producing osteoblasts, bone eating osteoclasts and mechanosensitive osteocytes receding inside the calcified matrix.   

Understanding fundamental cell biology of osteoclasts, regulation of their differentiation and function. How to decrease excessive osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption while still allowing normal bone remodeling.  

Development of serological diagnostics for main complications affecting prosthetic implants which if left unchecked, cause dissolution of bone, inflammatory periprosthetic osteolysis and periprosthetic joint infections.

What is the purpose and goal with your research?

Currently bone biology is an incredibly exiting field of research, with the identification of sclerostin as a bone-specific modulator of Wnt-pathway, remarkable progress has been made in treatment of osteoporosis. For the first time it seems that curative treatments start to become available. Such a treatment naturally opens possibilities for interventions with other conditions involving dissolution of bone, like periprosthetic osteolysis. However, in the absence of a cure there has not been a push for diagnosing this condition. Our efforts are placed to develop a convenient method to follow patients after arthroplasty and detect the cases with inflammatory periprosthetic osteolysis at their early stages. We hope that early detection would open a window for treatment that would prevent progression of osteolysis and save the patient from a revision surgery.

Why did you decide to become a researcher?

I have been curious about things from early on and learning new things has been a passion of mine. Doing research at the lab bench, we get to learn things that nobody knew before, learn to do things nobody could do before and see things happening for the first time ever. Those thrilling moments give me a feeling of being an explorer, always going a bit further to see what lies behind the next hill or sea. What made me focus on bone biology is a harder question to answer, I suppose it had much to do with the environment I did my PhD in. The cells breaking down and rebuilding the hard skeleton were simply fascinating to a young scientist.  

In a perfect world, what is your dream to accomplish with your research?

I wish that we would learn to how bones develop, be able to affect that process in vivo to help people with genetic and metabolic bone diseases, and also, to reproduce that process in vitro to produce bone and help people in need of reconstructive surgery.

What do you like to do when you are not working at KI?

I’m a father of two amazing children and I love spending time with my family doing sports and enjoy the nature in the archipelago between Sweden and Finland.