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Dr. Joni H. Ylostalo

Associate Professor
Biology Department
Office: York 203
UMHB Mail Box:UMHB Box 8432900 College St, Box 8432BeltonTX76513
Phone: (254) 295-5534(254) 295-5534
Subjects Taught: Microbiology; Immunology; Regenerative Medicine; Biomolecules, Genes, and Cells; Research
Degrees Earned: B.S, Biochemistry, University of Oulu; M.S., Biochemistry (Biotechnology and Molecular Biology), University of Oulu; Ph.D, Biomedical Sciences, Tulane University


Biography:  I was born and raised in Finland in a city that is on the Arctic Circle and hosts the home of Santa Claus.  My curiosity for science began at an early age when staring salt crystals and various bugs through my microscope.  I really dove into the science world during high school and would spend most of my time learning about math, chemistry, physics, and biology.  After high school, I did my military service and got some valuable combat medicine training.   However, the most important things in my life happened during the following summer when I became a Believer and met my future wife.

I began my university science studies at University of Oulu in Finland and really enjoyed all the various science subjects from math to biology while spending my spare time taking part in as many Christian activities and ministries as possible.  After receiving my Bachelors degree in Biochemistry and starting my Masters studies, I headed to the US to the Center for Gene Therapy at Tulane University.  I began my protein biochemistry studies there and spent a few years cloning, expressing, purifying, and studying an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein collagen IX.  After receiving my Masters from the University of Oulu, I continued the protein biochemistry studies with various mutant forms of collagen IX and other ECM components.

Once you think that your path is set, God often has something else in mind.  In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of my research and I found myself stranded on I-10 with my wife, 2-month-old daughter, and our dog.  God is amazing, and eventually we were able to return to New Orleans and I changed my graduate studies to stem cell biology.  The next few years I spent using microarrays to study gene expression changes in mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSCs) during culture expansion and differentiation to other cells.

After receiving my Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from Tulane University, I headed for Texas and began my postdoctoral work at Texas A&M Institute for Regenerative Medicine.  For several years, I had the opportunity to expand my MSC research program more towards the translational side.  We discovered a novel way to pre-activate the MSCs to express and secrete potentially therapeutic molecules by culturing them in 3D.  After my postdoctoraI work I served as an Instructor at Texas A&M and also as an adjunct faculty member at UMHB.  I joined UMHB as a full-time faculty member fall of 2014 and started teaching students about the wonders of biology and medicine both in the classroom and in the laboratory.

At UMHB, my focus has been on developing the Microbiology and Immunology curriculum while applying innovative teaching in the classroom.  I have completed multiple research projects with students and served in various committees and leadership roles at UMHB including the Educational Technology Committee that I chaired for two years.

Whenever I am not doing science I like to work out, read, cook, cheer for my favorite sports teams, and spend time with my family.  I especially enjoy our various Texas and out-of-state trips and also the time I get to spend with my Renewal Church family.  Feel free to talk science, faith, or life in general with me as I enjoy sharing my experiences in all these things.

Recent Publications

Bartosh TJ & Ylostalo JH. Efficacy of 3D culture priming is maintained in human mesenchymal stem cells after extensive expansion of the cells. Cells, Sep 5;8(9), 2019. PMID: 31491901.

Ylostalo JH. Engaging students into their own learning of foundational genetics concepts through the 5E learning cycle and interleaving teaching techniques. J Bio Educ, May 21, 2019.

Ylostalo JH, Bazhanov N, Mohammadipoor A & Bartosh TJ. Production and administration of therapeutic mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (MSC) spheroids primed in 3-D cultures under xeno-free conditions. J Vis Exp. (121), doi:10.3791/55126, 2017. PMID: 28362380.

Clough BH, Ylostalo J, Browder E, McNeill EP, Bartosh TJ, Rawis HR, Nakamoto T & Gregory CA. Theobromine upregulates osteogenesis by human mesenchymal stem cells in vitro and accelerates bone development in rats. Calcif Tissue Int. Mar; 100(3):298-310, 2017. PMID: 27913821.

Bazhanov N, Ylostalo JH, Bartosh TJ, Tiblow A, Mohammadipoor A, Foskett A & Prockop DJ. Intraperitoneally infused human mesenchymal sten cells form aggregates with mouse immune cells and attach to peritoneal organs. Stem Cell Res Ther. Feb 10;7:27., 2016. PMID: 26864573.

Colborn JM*, Ylostalo JH*, Koita OA, Cisse OH & Krogstad DJ. Human gene expression in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. J Immunol Res. 2015:162639, 2015. PMID:26491700.

Ylostalo JH*, Bartosh TJ*, Tiblow A & Prockop DJ. Unique characteristics of human mesenchymal stromal/progenitor cells pre-activated in 3-dimensional cultures under different conditions. Cytotherapy. 16(11): 1486-500, 2014. PMID: 25231893.

Bartosh TJ & Ylostalo JH. Macrophage inflammatory assay. Bio Protoc. 20;4(14), 2014. PMID: 27570796.

Bartosh TJ & Ylostalo JH. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) aggregate formation in vivo. Bio Protoc. 20;4(14), 2014. PMID: 27478861.

Bartosh TJ & Ylostalo JH. Preparation of anti-inflammatory mesenchymal stem/precursor cells (MSCs) through sphere formation using hanging-drop culture technique. Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology. 28:2B.6.1-2B.6.23, 2014. PMID: 24510769

Research Interests

Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) biology especially immunoregulatory functions of 3D cultured MSCs.

Computational biology and microarray data analysis.

Everyday microbiology applications including anti-bacterial effects of essential oils.