Supervisors

Päivi Eriksson, Professor of Management, PhD

Professor Päivi Eriksson co-leads the Innovation Management research group with the focus on responsible renewal of organizations, management and business, especially in the areas of health and environment. Her research group has produced new knowledge on the social processes and practices of innovation and economic impact, including academic entrepreneurship, commercialization of science, value co-creation and circular economy. The inter/multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral research of her group has been done in collaboration with health, social and natural science research teams, university-based start-ups as well as other companies and organizations, including Finnish biobanks and a health business accelerator. This expertise provides excellent ground for collaboration between her group and neurosciences, social sciences and law, and computer science and applied physics in the Neuro-Innovation doctoral programme. https://www.uef.fi/en/web/kauppatieteet/innovationmanagement

Participation in training activities: Director of the Doctoral Programme in Business at UEF 2007-2012, organizing and teaching PhD training courses in Finland and abroad (Belgium, Canada) 1997-present, head of the Innovation Management courses at the UEF Faculty of Social Sciences and Business 2009-2015, member/vice member of UEF Graduate School and Research Council 2010-2017. Supervised PhD thesis: 17. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation), EAKR and ESR funding, collaboration funding with companies, Regional Council of Northern Savo, City of Kuopio, Private foundations, UEF Strategic funding. Three significant recent publications: Eriksson et al. IJEIM 20(5-6): 285-299, 2016; Aromaa et al. QROM 14(3); 356-376, 2019; Lehtimäki et al. IJEIM 23(5); 451-465, 201

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Olli Gröhn, Professor of Biomedical NMR, PhD

Professor Olli Gröhn's research group focuses on technical development of novel MRI techniques, which can be applied in several neurological diseases. His expertise in the microstructural imaging of white matter (novel diffusion techniques, susceptibility mapping, zero echo time imaging with SWIFT, and rotating frame relaxation contrasts) in combination with ex vivo tissue characterization and mathematical modelling as well as fMRI combined with brain stimulation is key for the translational aspect of the Neuroscience research area. Importantly, these techniques are widely used also by the Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases research groups. For the last 10 years, the most productive application area of new MRI techniques has been injury-induced epileptogenesis which has resulted in some of the cornerstone publications, including in vivo imaging of mossy fiber sprouting, the first long-term (> 6 months) follow-up studies of post traumatic epileptogenesis, and DTI imaging of network organization in different subfields of hippocampus. http://www.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/olli-grohn-group

Key facilities: Biomedical Imaging Unit (three small animal 7T-9.4T MRI systems, small animal PET/MRI (2021), DNP hyperpolarizer for MRI, micro PET, micro SPECT/CT. Participation in training activities: Organizing PhD training courses and events 2004-present. Previous MSCA experience: EU/H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015: MICROBRADAM, 2016 – 2019 EU/H2020 TWINNING: SYNANET, 2016-2018 MSCA ITN “Imaging of Angiogenesis in epilepsy”, Host of Grant recipient, 2006-2009, MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed.. Supervised PhD thesis: 15. Funding sources: NIH Brain Intiative Program, EU H2020-RIA, EU-H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015, EU-H2020 TWINNING, EU-FP7, EU-EFDF, Academy of Finland, TEKES, private funding (Charles River laboratories). Three significant recent publications: Pitkänen et al. Lancet Neurol 15:843-56, 2016; Paasonen et al. Neuroimage 172:9-20, 2018; Paasonen et al. Neuroimage doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116338., 2020

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Annakaisa Haapasalo, Research Director in Molecular Neurodegeneration, Adj. Prof., PhD

Research Director Annakaisa Haapasalo's research group focuses on understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms and role of genetic background in neurodegeneration with a special focus on frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). In their translational studies, the group characterizes molecular mechanisms of both sporadic and genetic forms of FTLD by widely utilizing different cell-based and animal models and patient-derived cells, including pluripotent stem cell-derived brain cells, together with patient blood, brain, and cerebrospinal fluid samples, and clinical data. These studies along with modeling different FTLD-related pathological stress conditions in the models provide platforms for identification and testing of new translatable candidate targets for biomarker and drug discovery. http://www.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/annakaisa-haapasalo-group

Key facilities: Cell culture models (cell lines, mouse primary brain cells, human skin fibroblasts and pluripotent stem cell-derived brain cells), ex vivo brain tissue culture models, patient-derived blood, cerebrospinal fluid and post mortem brain tissue samples, biochemical, cell biological and cell imaging analyses related to modeling pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, especially FTLD. Participation in training activities: Board member of the UEF Doctoral Program in Molecular Medicine 2007-2016, teaching in and organizing PhD training courses since 2006. Completed University Pedagogical Training, 14 ECTS. Previous MSCA experience: BiND Marie-Curie Training programme, FP6 (ID: 19217), supervision of a grantee; PI in the H2020-MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed programme (ID: 740264). Supervised PhD theses: 15. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, EU H2020-TWINN SynaNet partner, H2020-MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed partner, Research Collaboration Funding with pharmaceutical industry, State Research Funding (Kuopio University Hospital), Private Foundations. Three significant recent publications: Katisko et al., J Neurol. 2020 Jan;267(1):76-86; Leskelä et al. Cells 2019, 8, 1233; Katisko et al., J Neuroimmunol. 2018 Aug 15;321:29-35

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Mikko Hiltunen, Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology

Professor Mikko Hiltunen leads a research group with the focus on the functional genetic aspects of AD. His research group has identified several novel risk genes in AD by using genetic approaches and assessed the underlying molecular mechanisms of risk variants in in vitro and in vivo models as well as human brain tissue. Furthermore, his group has published several important mechanistic findings on the key molecular mechanisms of AD-related comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes and cerebral ischemia. Currently, the research group has also set the focus on interdisciplinary collaboration in data informatics, neuroethics and law as well as neuroinnovations in the ongoing national and international personalized medicine-focused projects. http://www.uef.fi/en/web/molecular-genetics-of-alzheimers-disease/home

Key facilities: Neuron-glia and ex vivo slice cultures, mice models for AD. Cell and Tissue Imaging Unit. Participation in training activities: Director of Doctoral Programme in Molecular Medicine 2016-present; Organizing PhD training courses 2006-present, Head of the Medical Cell Biology Programme courses targeted for students in medicine and biomedicine at the Faculty of Health 2014-present. Previous MSCA experience: BiND Marie Curie Training programme, FP6, ID: 19217, Member of the Faculty 2006-2009; PI of the H2020-MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed (ID: 740264). Supervised PhD thesis: 15. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, H2020, FP7, JPND, Private foundations, Collaboration funding with pharmaceutical industry, ERDF and ESF funding, UEF Strategic funding, Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation). Three significant recent publications: Kunkle et al. Nat Genet. 51:414-430 2019; Martiskainen et al. Ann Neurol. 82:128-132 2017; Sims et al. Nat Genet. 49:1373-1384 2017

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Katja Kanninen, Associate Professor, Tenure Track, PhD

Associate professor Katja Kanninen leads the Neurobiology of Disease research group that focuses on the highly interdisciplinary research question of how the environment shapes brain health throughout life. Her research utilizes new, highly translational human-based research models to investigate how environmental exposures affect key cellular mechanisms such as oxidative stress. Her research has identified several important glial mediators of oxidative stress in neurodegeneration. She is a key partner in two H2020 RIA consortia and coordinates a JPND project, which involve interdisciplinary collaboration with environmental scientists, data scientists and toxicologists. The patient organization Alzheimer Europe is a part of her JPND project, and she collaborates with several national and international industry partners. https://www.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/katja-kanninen-group

Key facilities: Highly translational human and murine cell culture models for neurodegenerative disease research, mouse models of neurodegeneration, mouse inhalation exposures, assays for cellular function. Participation in training activities: Yearly organization of PhD training courses 2014-present; Vice-member of the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Medicine 2018-present; Coordinator of the international MSc. programs at A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences 2006-2009. Supervised PhD thesis: 6 to completion, currently supervising 7 students Funding sources: Academy of Finland, H2020, JPND, Private foundations, UEF Strategic funding. Three significant recent publications: Chew et al. Part Fibre Toxicol., Oksanen et al. Stem Cell Rep. 2017 Dec 12;9(6):1885-1897; Liddell JR et al. J Neuroinflamm. 2016 Feb 26;13(1):49

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Miia Kivipelto, Professor of Neurogeriatrics, MD, PhD

Professor Miia Kivipelto and Associate Professor Alina Solomon are leading the Nordic Brain Network (NBN) with focus on ageing, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research. NBN is a “virtual department” with a cohesive research team including members located at University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and Imperial College London in the UK (in total nearly 100 researchers and research staff). NBN is led by Prof. Kivipelto, who acts as the Chief Executive Officer. Assoc. Prof. Solomon is the Chief Scientific Officer for NBN, and has main responsibility for the UEF-NBN team at Neurology/Institute of Clinical Medicine. The NBN team includes researchers with a variety of backgrounds from laboratory to the clinic to ensure multidisciplinarity. NBN is at the forefront of research on risk/protective factors for dementia across the life course, including the landmark FINGER trial (first large-scale trial showing that a multi-domain lifestyle-based intervention can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in at risk persons from general population), and the first global network of multimodal dementia prevention trials (World-Wide FINGERS) based on the FINGER model.

Key competences: epidemiology, geriatrics, randomized controlled trials in dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Participation in training activities: 500+ hours of teaching at UEF (Finland), Karolinska Institute and University Hospital (Sweden), and Imperial College London (UK), including organizing clinical courses for medical students and research courses for PhD students (subjects: neuroepidemiology; geriatric medicine, aging and dementia). Supervised PhD thesis: 26. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, IMI, H2020, JPND, EIT-Health, Swedish Research Council, FORTE, CIMED, Wallenberg Clinical Scholars, Private foundations, Collaboration funding with pharmaceutical industry. Three significant recent publications: Kulmala et al, J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019;67:1138-1144; Rosenberg et al, Alzheimers Dement. 2018;14:263-270; Ngandu et al. Lancet. 2015;385:2255-63.

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Ville Kolehmainen, Professor of Computational Physics, PhD

Professor Ville Kolehmainen is a team leader in the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Inverse Modelling and Imaging. The research areas of Prof. Kolehmainen are computational inverse problems and uncertainty quantification. The team is focused on development of mathematical models and computational inverse problems methods for image reconstruction in medical tomography imaging techniques such as X-ray tomography, diffuse tomography, emission tomography and MRI. The research team actively collaborates with system experts, commercial companies and clinical specialists on development of novel diagnostic and pre-clinical imaging techniques, which typically involve fusion of different types of imaging data and lead to large scale 3D or 4D imaging with sparse measurement data

Participation in training activities: Member of the Board of the UEF Doctoral Programme in Science, Engineering and Technology (SCITECO). Organizing and lecturing PhD courses at the University of Eastern Finland and abroad. Supervised PhD thesis: 8. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation), collaboration funding with companies and private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Kolehmainen etal. Inverse Problems & Imaging, Vol. 13, No. 2, pages 285-307, (2019). doi: 10.3934/ipi.2019015, A. Lipponen etal. SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing 40-1 (2018), pp. B305-B327 https://doi.org/10.1137/15M1052421. Rasch J et al. INVERSE PROBLEMS 34 7: 074001 (2018)

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Reetta Kälviäinen, Professor of Neurology, MD, PhD

Reetta Kälviäinen (Professor of Neurology) leads a research group with the focus on clinical epileptology including identifying biomarkers of seizure activity, epileptogenesis, progression, and drug-resistancy in cohorts of newly diagnosed and drug-resistant chronic patients. These aspects of scientific projects are combined with therapeutic neuropharmacological and neurosurgical interventions. She is an expert of progressive myoclonus epilepsies, which are neurodegenerative diseases and has collected and deep-phenotyped the largest cohort of progressive myoclonus type 1 (EPM1) patients in the world. Currently she is participating in large research ecosystem concerning EPM1 molecular mechanisms and diagnostic tools and combining high-level academic research with industrial drug research and development. https://www3.uef.fi/fi/web/neuro/epileptology

Key facilities: Director of Epilepsy Center Kuopio University Hospital; Member of European Reference Network ERN for Rare and Complex Epilepsies EpiCARE. Participation in training activities: Chair of Neurology 2019-present; 30 years of extensive experience of organizing education nationally and internationally in neurological scientific organizations including acting as the chair of the scientific committee of the European epileptology congress with 4000 participants in 2006 Supervised PhD thesis: 13. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, ERAPerMed, Private foundations, Collaboration funding with pharmaceutical industry, Government Research Funding, Tekes/Business Finland (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation). Three significant recent publications: Anttila V et al Science. 2018 Jun 22;360(6395). Whelan CD, et al Brain. 2018 Jan 22., ILAE Consortium on Complex Epilepsies Nat Commun. 2018 Dec 10;9(1):5269

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Ville Leinonen, Professor of Neurosurgery at UEF, Chief of Neurosurgery at Kuopio University Hospital, MD PhD

Professor Ville Leinonen  leads a research group with the focus on early AD and idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH). His genome-wide genotyped iNPH cohort with brain tissue, CSF and blood/DNA samples is widely used world-class research window for translational neuroscience. His group has published number of important finding on the outcome and comorbidities of iNPH. Currently, the research group has focused on interdisciplinary collaboration in the ongoing national and international personalized medicine-focused projects on brain electrophysiology and transcriptomics. http://www.uef.fi/nph

Key facilities: Neurosurgical window to living human brain. Unique collection of fresh frozen human brain samples from NPH cohort. Participation in training activities: Coordinator of UEF Doctoral Programme of Clinical Research 2009-2016, Director 2017; Organizing PhD training courses 2009-present. Supervised PhD thesis: 7 (11 on-going). Funding sources: Fidelity International Foundation, FP7, Private foundations, State research funding, Collaboration funding with pharmaceutical industry. Three significant recent publications: Vanhala et al. Neurosurgery. 84:883-889 2019; Jeppsson et al. JNNP. 90:1117-1123, 2019; Bridel et al. JAMA Neurol. 76:1035-1048, 2019.

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Tarja Malm, Professor in Molecular Neurodegeneration, PhD

Professor Tarja Malm  leads a neuroinflammation research group with a focus on understanding inflammatory cell functions, especially those of microglia, and the mechanisms and mediators of neuroinflammatory reactions in brain diseases, especially AD. Her group focuses on non-coding RNAs and extracellular vesicles as mediators of this crosstalk. She uses novel, human-based models to find new therapeutic targets for the disease benefit and to discover novel biomarkers. Her lab develops human iPSC-based models including microglia and organoids, and uses clinical human brain tissue biopsies to investigate cellular responses using omics approaches and electrophysiology. In addition, she takes advantage of animal modelling with functional outcomes. She has expertise both in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro modeling of AD, stroke and associated neuroinflammation and her studies have provided insight into the link between the peripheral inflammation and neuroinflammation in CNS diseases. Malm group research is very neuro-innovation driven: she has one licensed patent, one patent application, is leading Business Finland projects aiming for commercialization of research findings and is tightly collaborating with national and international pharma companies. Neuroethics issues are considered in all aspects of her studies due to wide use of human samples and human-derived tissues. Malm group expertise in humanized cell modeling benefits also other research groups. The group consist of 8 postdoctoral fellows, 9 PhD students and 3 technicians. http://www.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/tarja-malm-group

Key facilities: iPSC-models (2D, 3D) of brain diseases and neuroinflammation, in vivo animal models for AD and stroke, equipment for electrophysiology (patch clamp, MEA) behavioral testing, morphometric unit including confocal and multiphoton microscopes. Participation in training activities: Organizing PhD training courses 2015 – present; A board member of the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Medicine. Previous MSCA experience: EU H2020-TWINN SynaNet partner, invited lecturer on international courses, PI of the H2020-MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed (ID: 740264). Supervised PhD thesis: 10. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, Horizon 2020 JPND-cofund (ORGTHERAPY, ADAIR, MADGIC), Horizon2020 FlagShip, ERANET Neuron, Emil Aaltonen foundation, TEKES/ Business Finland, Finnish cultural foundation, Collaboration funding with pharmaceutical industry and private companies, Private national and international foundations. Three significant recent publications: Konttinen et al., Stem Cell Reports 2019, 8;13(4)669-683; Ezzat K et al., Nature Communications 2019, 10(1):2331; Konttinen et al., Glia 2019, 67(1):146-159.

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Riikka Martikainen, Adjunct Professor in Molecular Medicine, PhD

Adjunct professor  Riikka Martikainen leads a research group focusing on mechanisms of primary mitochondrial disease and on effects of mitochondrial DNA mutations on aging. Her group uses stem cell technology to develop patient derived cell and organoid models where disease mechanisms can be investigated. Her lab also hosts the stem cell core facility of Biocenter Kuopio and they work together with industry partners to combine patient derived cells, biomaterials and microfluidic devices to develop novel model systems for brain disease.

Key facilities: Somatic cell reprogramming, stem cell culture and differentiation. Stem cell center core laboratory. Participation in training activities: Organizing and teaching in PhD training courses in Finland 2010-present. Supervised PhD thesis: 1. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, Business Finland, Private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Oksanen et al. Glia 68(3):589-599 2020; Hämäläinen et al. Nat metab. 1(10):958-965 2019; Oksanen et al. Stem Cell Rep. 9(6):1885-1897 2017.

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Pauli Miettinen, Professor of Data Science, PhD

Professor Pauli Miettinen,  leads a research group with the focus on developing methods for algorithmic data analysis. His research group has developed novel methods for local pattern mining, especially redescription mining, community detection from graphs, and novel matrix and tensor decompositions. The interdisciplinary research in his group is connected to health data analysis, data analysis in ecology, sociology, and data analysis in legislative studies with main collaborators in Finland, Germany, France, and the USA. This provides a good basis for developing novel methods for analysing clinical and neurological data. https://cs.uef.fi/~pauli/ada-group

Participation in training activities: Member of International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science selection committee 2013–2018, presentation and panel membership in PhD workshops at IEEE ICDM 2015 and 2017, chairman of UEF Data Science Education Workgroup, 2018–2019. Supervised PhD thesis: 1. Funding sources: Max Planck Society, EAKR funding, Regional Council of Northern Savo. Three significant recent publications: Metzler, Günnemann & Miettinen Soc Networks 58:50–58 2019; Karaev & Miettinen Data Min Knowl Discov 33(2):526–576 2019; Galbrun & Miettinen ACM Tras Knowl Discov Data 12(1):6 201

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Tero Montonen, University Researcher, D.Sc.

University researcher, Adjunct professor Tero Montonen, is an expert in innovation management and organisational social psychology. He is engaged in multidisciplinary business research and has advanced competence in intensive case studies and action research projects. In his research, Montonen has addressed the economic and social impact of scientific research (e.g. commercialisation of science and academic spin-off development) in two research projects funded by the Academy of Finland (Academic Entrepreneurship, 2016–2020 and Good(s) for Health, 2015–2019). Montonen is docent in management (innovation and entrepreneurship) at the University of Lapland Faculty of Social Sciences and serves as a member of the management board of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Business School. https://www.uef.fi/en/web/kauppatieteet/innovationmanagement

Participation in training activities: Organizing and leading research funding seminar at UEF Business School, guest teacher in research courses for graduate students at UEF Business School. Supervised PhD thesis (4 in process) Funding sources: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, EAKR funding, Regional Council of Northern Savo, City of Kuopio, Private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Montonen et al. IJHRDM 19(1): 62-74 2019; Lehtimäki et al. IJEIM 23(5): 451-465 2019, Eriksson et al. IJEIM 20(5-6): 285-299 2016.

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Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen, Professor in Elder Law

Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen leads research groups in projects focusing on the specific issues concerning people who develop dementia or MCI while still working (MCI@work), and scrutinising home-based palliative care for the elderly (MeRela). Her research groups have produced new knowledge on the legal rights of the older people and PwD. The inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research of her group has been done in collaboration with health and social sciences, engineering as well as organizations, including Alzheimer Society of Finland, Alzheimer Europe and Global Alliance of Genomics and Health. In addition, the Institute of Law and Welfare, which Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen leads, brings together welfare-related legal research, expertise and education from the UEF. This expertise provides excellent ground for collaboration between her group and neuro, data and neuroinnovations in this doctoral programme. https://www3.uef.fi/en/web/oikeustieteet/hyvinvointioikeus

Participation in training activities: Organizing PhD training seminars under the framework of Institute of Law and Welfare at the UEF. Responsible of the Social Law Clinic courses (2017-) and courses of Law and Ageing (2016-) at the UEF Faculty of Social Sciences and Business. Supervised PhD thesis: 1 (3 in process) Funding sources: Academy of Finland under the framework of the JPI MYBL, Private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Välimäki et al. JAN. May (2020). Nikumaa et al. European Journal of Social Work 1 (2019), 1-15. Thorogood et al. Alzheimers Dement 14:10 (2018), 1334-1343

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Asla Pitkänen, Professor of Neurobiology, MD, PhD, DSc

Professor Asla Pitkänen leads a research group focused on identifying molecular mechanisms of the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) to discover novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets to prevent and cure epilepsy. Her methodological arsenal covers molecular omics and bioinformatics, histology, rodent behavioral analysis, high-density long-term video-electroencephalogram, and multimodal in vivo imaging. Recently, she has implemented machine learning approaches analysis of large video-EEG datasets. Over the years, she has made significant contributions to the development and deep-phenotyping of animal models of acquired epileptogenesis after status epilepticus, TBI and stroke. Her long-term follow-up studies have been crucial for understanding the progression of molecular, structural, and electrophysiologic pathologies during epileptogenesis. Her studies have resulted in discovery of the first disease-modifying preclinical antiepileptogenic treatment (PMID: 15451014) and sleep-abnormality derived biomarker (PMID:27707084) in experimental models of epilepsy. https://www3.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/asla-pitkanen-group.

Key facilities: In vivo animal models of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, morphometry laboratory, rodent video-EEG facility with 60 cage-specific monitoring units and required computer and data storage infrastructure. Participation in training activities: Board member of the Doctoral Program in Molecular Medicine 2005-2016 and GenomMed since 2019, organizing and teaching PhD/MD training in all key international epilepsy training courses. Previous MSCA experience: Brain ITN, ECMED ITN, GenomMed ITN. Supervised PhD thesis: 28. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, The Sigrid Juselius Foundation (Finland), H2020, NIH, Department of Defence (USA), Medical Research Council (Australia). Three significant recent publications: Pitkänen et al. The Lancet Neurology 2016, 15:843-56; Karttunen et al. J Extracell Vesicles. 2018, 8:1555410; Lipponen et al. Int J Molec Sci 2019, 20(21). pii: E5395

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Noora Puhakka, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Big Data Analysis

Assistant Professor Noora Puhakka is a junior group leader whom research has the focus on unveiling the role of small-RNAs on epilepsy and brain injury. Her previous research has emphasized the importance of protocol development and standardization on acquiring high quality data. Moreover, she has participated in inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research projects investigating small-RNAs and their network deregulation. Currently, she has focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms of novel small-RNAs as well as on biomarker development in the national and international projects.

Participation in training activities: Teaching PhD training courses in Finland 2017-present. Supervised PhD thesis: 1 (1 in process) Funding sources: Private foundations, collaboration funding with a company, CIMO. Three significant recent publications: Vuokila et al. Cell Mol Life Sci. 75(24):4557-4581,2018; Vuokila et al. Int J Mol Sci. 31;21(7):2418, 2020; Das Gupta et al. Sci Rep. 2;10(1):9012, 2020.

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Alejandra Sierra López, Research Director of Microstructural Imaging, PhD

Research Director Alejandra Sierra leads a research group focused in the imaging at multiscale level of the healthy and injured brain. Her group combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques with advanced histopathological methods, image processing and advanced mathematics to understand the tissue contrast produced by different MRI modalities in animal models of disease. Combination of histological procedures and advanced microscopy methods is crucial to understand the structure and function of the brain, as well as to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment strategies of brain diseases. Her group utilizes as routine techniques 3D electron and light microscopy, and develops tools to segment, quantify and model the brain tissue comparable to high-resolution diffusion MRI (dMRI) metrics and tractography. https://www3.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/alejandra-sierra-lopez-group

Key facilities: Rat models for brain and eye injury. Histology laboratory. Access to MRI, light and electron microscopy facilities. Participation in training activities: Active training for PhD, Eramus and undergraduate students. Supervised PhD thesis: 6. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, NIH, Private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Salo et al. NeuroImage. 152:221-236 2017; Salo et al. NeuroImage. 2;172:404-414 2018; Abdollahzadeh et al. BioRxiv 82854 2019

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Alina Solomon, Associate Professor of Neuroepidemiology MD, PhD

Associate Professor Alina Solomon and Professor Miia Kivipelto are leading the Nordic Brain Network (NBN) with focus on ageing, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research. NBN is a “virtual department” with a cohesive research team including members located at University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and Imperial College London in the UK (in total nearly 100 researchers and research staff). NBN is led by Prof. Kivipelto, who acts as the Chief Executive Officer. Assoc. Prof. Solomon is the Chief Scientific Officer for NBN, and has main responsibility for the UEF-NBN team at Neurology/Institute of Clinical Medicine. The NBN team includes researchers with a variety of backgrounds from laboratory to the clinic to ensure multidisciplinarity. NBN is at the forefront of research on risk/protective factors for dementia across the life course, including the landmark FINGER trial (first large-scale trial showing that a multi-domain lifestyle-based intervention can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in at risk persons from general population), and the first global network of multimodal dementia prevention trials (World-Wide FINGERS) based on the FINGER model.

Key competences: neuroepidemiology, randomized controlled trials in dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, risk prediction modelling. Participation in training activities: 60+ hours of teaching at UEF (Finland), Karolinska Institute (Sweden), and Imperial College London (UK), including clinical courses for medical, occupational therapy, and psychology students, and research courses for Master and PhD students (subjects: neuroepidemiology; geriatric medicine, aging and dementia). Supervised PhD thesis: 11. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, ERC, Private foundations. Three significant recent publications: Stephen et al, Alzheimers Res Ther. 2019;11:53; Solomon et al, JAMA Neurol. 2018;75:462-470; Soininen et al, Lancet Neurol. 2017;16:965-975.

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Heikki Tanila, Professor of Translational Neuroscience, MD, PhD

Professor Heikki Tanila leads a research group with the focus on mechanisms of memory loss in early AD. The research combines electrophysiology, neuropathology, behavioral neuroscience, cellular imaging, biomedical MRI, gene transfer techniques and clinical neurophysiology. His group was the first to demonstrate the beneficial cognitive effects of memantine in a preclinical transgenic mouse model and among the first to show the memory enhancing effect of fish-oil based diets in the preclinical model. The group is currently in the forefront in exploring the contribution of epileptic discharges to memory impairment in AD. http://www.uef.fi/en/web/aivi/heikki-tanila-group

Key facilities: GM mouse models for AD, two in vivo electrophysiology laboratories, large facilities for rodent behavioral testing, histopathology laboratory. Previous MSCA experience: BiND Marie Curie Training programme, FP6, ID: 19217. Participation in training activities: Head of CIMO/EDUFI Winter School, Finnish Agency for Education, 2016 -; Undergraduate lecture courses to students of Medicine, Neurobiology, Biomedicine, Pharmacy 1992 -; Organization of international/national post-graduate courses 1997-. Supervised PhD thesis: 22. Funding sources: EU commission (H2020, FP7), NIH, Academy of Finland, Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation), Biocenter Finland, Private Foundations. Three significant recent publications: Gureviciene et al., Front. in Neurol. 2019;10:1151; Jin et al., Neurobiol Aging 2018; 71:127-141; Nair et al., J Neurosci 2018; 38:9781-9800.

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Elisa Tiilikainen, Assistant Professor, Social Work and Effectiveness of Social Services, PhD

Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) Elisa Tiilikainen is currently working in her four-year tenure track position at the Department of Social Sciences. Her work has focused on older people from the perspective of loneliness, social relations, wellbeing, and services. Tiilikainen has had a key role in several projects including Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing (PROMEQ) funded by the Finnish Academy (AKA STN, decision #303615). She has strong experience in interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching and research. Currently she is the Chair of The Finnish Society for Growth and Ageing Research. Furthermore, Tiilikainen has been active and successful in public engagement and dissemination of research results beyond academia and has both national and international intersectoral networks in the fields of gerontology.

Participation in training activities: On-going supervision of three PhD thesis (social work, social gerontology). Organizing the pre-conference (targeted of Master’s and PhD students) of the national Conference of Effectiveness Research, Kuopio, 30.9.2019. Participation in planning and carrying-out the training school of Cost Action CA 15122: Reducing Old-Age Social Exclusion: Collaborations in Research and Policy (ROSEnet), Helsinki, 17–19.1.2017. Funding sources: Kone Foundation, SKR Argumenta, Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014–2020 (preparatory project), Emil Aaltonen Foundation, University of Helsinki Science Foundation, Olvi Foundation, Aphasia Foundation. Three significant recent publications: Tiilikainen et al. Health Soc Care Community 27(4): 1011-1018, Ristolainen et al. Gerontologia 32(2): 252-274, 2018; Pirhonen et al. Ageing & Society 38(9): 1868-1886, 2017

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Jussi Tohka, Associate Professor of Biomedical Image Analysis, PhD

Associate Professor Jussi Tohka leads a research group with the development of machine learning algorithms for brain imaging applications and using these algorithms to find statistical prognostic markers for brain diseases. He has made seminal contributions to combine information from various data sources such as imaging, genetics, and behaviour into these statistical markers. He has contributed several widely used algorithms for brain image analysis including segmentation, artefact correction, and image enhancement. Additionally, he is engaged in inter-sectoral research with biotech companies and hospitals creating added-value to them through modern, advanced image analysis techniques. https://www.jussitohka.net

Participation in training activities: In charge of development of doctoral training in machine learning 2006 – 2014 at Tampere University of Technology. Organizing and teaching PhD training courses in Finland and abroad 2005-present. Director of ESR funded professional development program 2019 – 2021. Previous MSCA experience: H2020-MSCA-COFUND-DP-2016 GenomMed (ID: 740264), co-PI; Fellow (very experienced professor) of CONEX programme of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Supervisor of students of EU Marie Curie Training Site at tampere University of Technology 2002-2005.Supervised PhD thesis: 8. Funding sources: Academy of Finland, H2020, Collaboration funding with biotech industry, and ESF. Three significant recent publications: Moradi et al. NeuroImage, 104: 398 - 412, 2015, Lewis et al NeuroImage 173:341 - 350, 2018; Huttunen and Tohka., Pattern Recognition, 48(11): 3739 - 3748, 201

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