Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science BECS

Faculty Profiles

While teaching in the Brain and Mind Master's Degree Programme is designed, supervised and conducted by a highly talented staff of senior researchers and professors the enrolled students also come in contact with the rising stars who currently complete their postgraduate training by work as doctoral students in the participating laboratories. We thrive to ensure that teaching of the Brain and Mind master's students meets the highest quality standards. A selection of our teacher and supervisor staff provides here short descriptions of themselves.

Academy professor, academician of science Riitta Hari (MD, PhD) is the leader of the Brain Research Unit (BRU) at O.V. Lounasmaa laboratory, Aalto University School of Science. Her extensive career spans from studies of sensory systems and cognitive brain functions to the brain basis of social interaction ("two-person neuroscience"), with a special interest in temporal dynamics of human cortical functions. Riitta Hari has supervised 36 doctoral students and 32 post doctoral scientists. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Academy professor Risto Ilmoniemi is professor of applied physics at BECS; his area of expertise is neuroscience and neurotechnology, including magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and their hybrid forms such as MEG-MRI. He was the head of the BioMag Laboratory at Helsinki University Central Hospital from 1994 until 2003; he is founder and former Chairman and CEO of the leading TMS technology company Nexstim. "I try to present the necessity of physics in understanding how the nervous system works, what the substrate of mind is and what physical changes can be observed when the brain is stimulated or when it performs its tasks." Risto Ilmoniemi has a wide network of contacts and collaborators in academia and industry throughout the world.
Dr Iiro P. Jääskeläinen, senior scientist, PhD, is a highly experienced neuroscientist and he has published significant theoretical work in cognitive neuroscience. In his research, Dr. Jääskeläinen combines magnetoencephalography, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to study cognitive and emotional functions in health and disease, including the neurotransmitter basis of these functions. Prior joining the Brain and Mind Laboratory of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science (BECS) at Aalto University, he has worked as a Harvard Medical School Instructor in Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Other collaborators include Georgetown University in Washington DC, and Grenoble University in France.
Adjunct professor, Academy of Finland Senior Fellow Lauri Nummenmaa works in the fields of cognitive and affective neuroscience and experimental psychology. "I am particularly interested in how the brain processes emotional signals, and I also study functional and neuromolecular mechanisms of reward processing." He combines state-of-the-art neuroscience with moder experimental and social psychology with strong expertise on a wide array of neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, PET, EEG) and behavioural and psychophysiological (e.g., eye tracking) methods. Lauri Nummenmaa is an experienced university lecturer and the author of popular text-books on applied statistical analysis.
MSc. Janne Ojanen earned his a Master's degree in engineering and he is currently working as a doctoral student in the Bayesian methodology group at BECS. The research of Janne Ojanen concentrates on Bayesian model comparison and selection and he has already several years of experience in teaching statistical modeling and information theory at Aalto University.
Assistant professor Lauri Parkkonen is the vice director of the programme and in charge of the Advanced neuroscience module. His research field is medical imaging and he has given training courses on neuroimaging at scientific conferences and in several universities in Europe, the USA and Japan. "For the most part of my research career, I have developed instrumentation and methods for magnetoencephalography (MEG) and also applied them to address various systems-level neuroscientific questions ranging from probing sensory systems to characterization of consciousness." Much of Lauri Parkkonen's work is being done as international collaborative research involving academic partners such as Harvard and Carnegie-Mellon universities in the USA, and CEA and INSERM in France.
Academy professor Riitta Salmelin is the head of the Imaging Language Group in the Brain Research Unit, O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory. Her research focuses on cortical dynamics of language function and dysfunction, oscillatory neural activity and its role in brain connectivity. An intriguing research topic is the relationship of electromagnetic and haemodynamic imaging as probes of cognitive processing. She is the senior editor of the handbook "MEG. An Introduction to Methods" (Oxford University Press 2010) and Associate Editor of the journal Human Brain Mapping.
Professor Mikko Sams is the director of the Brain and Mind Master's Degree programme and leader of the Brain and Mind Laboratory at BECS. While continuing his research in auditory neuroscience his current research in cognitive and affective neuroscience also focuses on neural mechanisms of emotions and intersubjectivity. "With my research team, I am developing new methods to study human brain functions under naturalistic conditions. This includes using stimuli such as natural pieces of music and films of film clips." The research conducted at the Brain and Mind laboratory meets the highest international standards with publications appearing in journals such as Human Brain Mapping, Neuroimage, and PNAS.
Dr. Margareta Segerståhl is the academic coordinator of the Brain and Mind Master's degree programme. She holds a PhD in Computational Systems Biology and her theoretical work concerns the development of new theory for studying the complexity of living and life-like systems. Dr segerståhl has extensive teaching experience and she is also the Aalto University coordinator of the Doctoral Program Brain and Mind which is organized jointly by the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.
Simo Vanni, MD, PhD, is an Academy research fellow and docent of neurophysiology (University of Helsinki). His research focuses on vision systems neuroscience, the visual cortical processing, using brain imaging technology, mainly functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). "I am interested in linking the neural functions to signals we are measuring with functional imaging." Simo Vanni's International collaboration includes the University of Utah. He is also the director of the Advanced Magnetic Imaging (AMI) Centre of the Brain research Unit (BRU) of the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory.