Jordi Gonzalez Molina

Research Specialist

About me

I am a research specialist at Kaisa Lehti's group (MTC). My main research interest is understanding the interplay between biophysical and biochemical cues of the tumour microenvironment (TME) in the regulation of tumour development, progression, and therapy response. To this end, we are developing novel 3D cell culture methods that allow the precise control of multiple biochemical and biophysical features, presenting relatively high complexity.

Research description


The Extracellular matrix and mechanobiology

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a network of macromolecules providing with physical support and biochemical signals to surrounding cells. The ECM in tumours is usually altered by cancer and stromal cells to provide a favourable microenvironment for cancer cells to proliferate, migrate, and survive external stresses. Typical alterations of the ECM in tumours include changes in the composition and physical characteristics such as its topology, stiffness, and viscoelasticity.

I am investigating how the biochemical and biophysical properties of the ECM impact tumour progression, aggressiveness, and therapy response with the ultimate goal of improving patient treatment, specifically in ovarian cancer and in sarcomas.


Relevant Publications:

Closset L., Gultekin O., Salehi S., Sarhan D., Lehti K., Gonzalez-Molina J. The extracellular matrix–immune microenvironment crosstalk in cancer therapy: challenges and opportunities. Matrix Biol. 2023 Jul 29;S0945-053X(23)00081-1.

Gonzalez-Molina J., Hahn P., Falcão R.M., Gultekin O., Kokaraki G., Zanfagnin V., Braz Petta T., Lehti K., Carlson J.W. MMP14 expression and collagen remodelling support uterine leiomyosarcoma aggressiveness. Mol Oncol. 2023 Apr 20.

Gonzalez-Molina J.*, Moyano-Galceran L.*, Single A.*, Gultekin O., Alsalhi S., Lehti K. Chemotherapy as a regulator of extracellular matrix-cell communication: implications in therapy resistance. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 2022 Mar 21;S1044-579X(22)00068-2.

Gonzalez-Molina J., Kirchhof K.M. , Rathod B., Moyano-Galceran L., Calvo-Noriega M., Kokaraki G., Bjørkøy A., Ehnman M., Carlson J.W., Lehti K. Mechanical Confinement and DDR1 Signaling Synergize to Regulate Collagen-Induced Apoptosis in Rhabdomyosarcoma Cells. Adv Sci. 2022 Aug 11;e2202552.

Pietilä E.A., Gonzalez-Molina J., Moyano-Galceran L., Jamalzadeh S., Zhang K., Lehtinen L., Turunen S.P., Martins T.A., Gultekin O., Lamminen T., Kaipio K., Joneborg U., Hynninen J., Hietanen S., Grénman S., Lehtonen R., Hautaniemi S., Carpén O., Carlson J.W., Lehti K. Co-evolution of matrisome and adaptive adhesion dynamics drives ovarian cancer chemoresistance. Nature Communications. 2021 Jun 23;12(1):3904.

Gultekin O.*, Gonzalez-Molina J.*,Hardell E., Moyano-Galceran L., Mitsios N., Mulder J., Kokaraki G., Isaksson A., Sarhan D., Lehti K., Carlson J.W. FOXP3+ T cells in uterine sarcomas are associated with favorable prognosis, low extracellular matrix expression and reduced YAP activation. Npj Precision Oncology. 2021 Nov 19;5(1):97.

Gonzalez-Molina J., Gramolelli S., Liao Z., Carlson J.W., Ojala P.M., Lehti K. MMP14 in Sarcoma: A Regulator of Tumor Microenvironment Communication in Connective Tissues. Cells. 2019 Aug 28;8(9).

Gonzalez-Molina J., Zhang X., Borghesan M., Mendonça da Silva J., Awan M., Fuller B., Gavara N., Selden C. Extracellular fluid viscosity enhances liver cancer cell mechanosensing and migration. Biomaterials. 2018 Sep;177:113-124.


Prototissues to investigate the tumour microenvironment

In recent years, biomaterials have proven to be excellent tools to study the impact of the biophysical and biochemical characteristics of the ECM on cell behaviour. However, these models lack the cellular components of the microenvironment. I am developing novel biomaterials that include synthetic ECM and cells (protocells) forming Prototissues (Figure 1) to investigate how cancer and cancer-associated cells integrate complex signals and how they regulate fundamental processes in cancer including cancer cell growth and invasion.


Figure 1


Relevant Publications

Peng L., Matellan C., Bosch-Fortea M., Gonzalez-Molina J., Frigerio M., Salentinig S., Del Rio Hernandez A., Gautrot J.E. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Sense the Toughness of Nanomaterials and Interfaces. Adv Healthc Mater. 2023 May;12(13):e2203297.

Teaching portfolio

PhD student course, Tumor microenvironment, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, KI (2019, 2020, 2021), course co-organizer


2015 – 2018, MPhil/PhD in Cancer mechanobiology, Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, University College London, London, UK.

2013 – 2014, MSc in Biomedical Research, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

2006 – 2011, BSc in Human Biology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.