Oulu Brain & Mind

Oulu Brain & Mind is local cooperation network for neurosciences and research, and a part of Neurocenter Finland.

Medical expertise in Northern Finland is concentrated at Oulu University Hospital and the University of Oulu, as well as their research organization (Oulu Medical Research Center, MRC). For decades, significant research has been conducted in Oulu in the field of several rare neurological diseases.

In addition, the region’s strengths are multidisciplinary, with specific areas of expertise in neuroscience, diagnostics, and ICT, a strong health technology sector and research-supporting infrastructures such as biobanks, the underlying genome center, patient registries, population cohorts and cohorts.


Irja Kärkkäinen

Customer Relationship Manager

irja.karkkainen (at) oulu.fi

Steering Group

Get to know Oulu Brain & Mind Steering Group members

Mikael von und zu Fraunberg

Professor MD PhD MSc (Tech) MSc (Econ) LLM  
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Finland  

Mikael von und zu Fraunberg is Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery at University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital. His current research interests are spinal cord stimulation for neuropathic pain, advanced photonics in microsurgery, and genetics of intracranial aneurysms.   

von und zu Fraunberg has broad interdisciplinary background and long experience in neurosciences in both patient work and research. He is former Director of Neurocenter Finland and former Chair of the Ethics Committee of Kuopio University Hospital. His clinical focus is on pain neuromodulation, image-guided navigation, stereotactic radiosurgery, and deep brain stimulation.  

Mikael von und zu Fraunberg has over 80 publications with nearly 3 000 citations.  

Email mikael.vonundzufraunberg (at) pohde.fi  

Juha Veijola

Professor, MD, PhD 
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Finland 

Juha Veijola is Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Oulu and Senior Physician at the University Hospital of Oulu. He is also Neuropsychiatry research group leader and responsible of studies on psychotic disorders and psychosis risk. 

Veijola’s research group is active collaborator both in national and international levels. Their collaborators are e.g., the Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, the Brain Birth Cohort Consortium, the Finnish SUPER Study a part of the International Stanley Global Neuropsychiatric Genomics Initiative and PSYCOHORTS Consortium which aims to harmonize psychiatric data in eight large birth cohorts in Finland.  

Juha Veijola has over 200 publications.  



Email juha.veijola (at) oulu.fi  

Johanna Uusimaa

Professor, MD, PhD 
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu 

Johanna Uusimaa is Professor of Paediatric Neurology at University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital. Her current research interests are mitochondrial diseases, mutation, and rare neurological diseases.  

Uusimaa has broad background and long experience in paediatric neurology in both patient work and research. She is also director of 6G-enabled sustainable society (6GESS) programme, which capitalises on 6G Flagship’s technological expertise to develop the scientific framework for a data-driven, hyper-connected future society in which digital eHealth and future energy systems are intertwined. She is active committee and board worker e.g. in the Finnish Paediatric Neurology Association. 

Johanna Uusimaa has over 100 publications with nearly 3 000 citations. 

Email johanna.uusimaa (at) oulu.fi  

Lauri Eklund

Professor PhD, PI  
Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (FBMM), Biocenter Oulu (BCO) and University of Oulu (UO). 

Lauri Eklund is Professor in Molecular Biochemistry, principal investigator in the FBMM, a spearhead research project leader in BCO (focus institute for biomedical sciences in UO) and the Director of BCO research infrastructures.  

The research group of Eklund works on endothelial cell, vascular and extracellular matrix biology in basic and translational settings. Current interests include investigation of mechanisms involved in the metabolic waste removal from the central nervous system and development of treatments to enhance the clearance function in pre-clinical models. Eklund group participates in multidisciplinary collaborative projects with the clinical researchers and medical engineers to investigate neurodegenerative diseases. These are Academy of Finland Flagship programme (GeneCellNano, 2020-2024, to develop new biological drugs against vascular neurodegeneration), Academy of Finland Health from Science programme (2018-2022, to investigate brain clearance mechanisms), and the EU Joint Programme for neurodegenerative disease research (2023-25, to test and monitor new treatments for Alzheimer disease). 

Advanced microscopy is the key research technique in Eklund’s laboratory, and he has had an active role in the development of imaging research infrastructure as the head of the Light Microscopy Core Facility at BCO and as the representative of UO in the EuroBioImaging ERIC. 

Eklund has more than 50 publications with some 6 000 citations 

Email lauri.eklund (at) oulu.fi    

Reetta Hinttala

Associate Professor, Docent (Molecular and cell biology in medicine), PhD (Neurology)   
University of Oulu, Finland  

Reetta Hinttala is Associate Professor (tenure track) in the Research Unit of Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu. Her current research focuses on novel genetic causes of severe neurological and multiorgan disorders in children. She uses mouse and cell culture models to discover disease causing mechanisms at the molecular level.  

Hinttala is the leader of Profi6 theme Fibrobesity. Hinttala is also coordinator of the Biocenter Oulu Transgenic and Tissue Phenotyping core facility and the Finnish Infrafrontier/EMMA (European Mouse Mutant Archive) node. She chairs the national Biocenter Finland mouse modelling technology platform, FinGMice, and the Infrafrontier GmbH council. She did her post-doctoral studies as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada, in prof. Eric Shoubridge's laboratory. Hinttala has also received an Academy of Finland Research Fellowship and Academy of Finland project funding.   

Reetta Hinttala has over 50 publications with nearly 1 000 citations.  

Email reetta.hinttala (at) oulu.fi   

Vesa Kiviniemi

Professor, MD, PhD, neuroradiology PI 
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu 

Vesa Kiviniemi is Professor of Functional Neuroimaging and Neuroradiologist at University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital. He is also Oulu Functional Neuroimaging (ONFI) research group leader. The core of the ONFI group’s research is to improve the detection of brain disease with functional neuroimaging of spontaneous brain activity, utilizing the following methods: resting/activation state fMRI, BOLD-EEG, MRE(E)G, NIRS, and NIBP. Currently one of the most interesting themes in Kiviniemi’s and ONFI’s research is opening the blood brain barrier by focused ultrasound (FUS) to facilitate the removal of the accumulated proteins from the brain which is one of the promising innovations to cure the Alzheimer’s disease. 

Kiviniemi has been European pioneer in detecting functional resting state connectivity since 1997 from the spontaneously acting brain with fMRI. He is active in international collaboration and has gathered some 5.6 M€ funding from Academy of Finland, CSTI SHOK and Jane & Aatos Erkko Foundation, Aivosäätiö and other foundations. 

Vesa Kiviniemi has nearly 200 publications with over 10 000 citations. 

Email vesa.kiviniemi (at) oulu.fi 

Sami Räsänen

Professor, MD, PhD, Deputy Chief  
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Finland 

Sami Räsänen is Professor and Deputy Chief of Psychiatry at Oulu University Hospital. His current research interests are schizophrenia, psychological wellbeing of families and psychiatric morbidity. Räsänen is also a member of the National Committee on Medical Research Ethics (Tukija), a member of the executive committee of the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, and a vice chair of the Medical Society Duodecim of Oulu. 

Sami Räsänen has nearly 50 publications with nearly 700 citations.  

Email: sami.rasanen (at) oulu.fi  

Mirjami Mäntymaa

Associate Professor (Tenure Track), MD, PhD   
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Finland 

Mirjami Mäntymaa is Head of department in Child Psychiatry at Oulu University Hospital and Associate Professor (Tenure Track) in Child Psychiatry at University of Oulu. Her research interests focus on different aspects of early mother-infant interaction and early childhood mental health. Her clinical focus is on infant psychiatry, parent-child relationship problems and early childhood mental health problems.  

Mirjami Mäntymaa has over 20 publications with nearly 1 000 citations.  

Email mirjami.mantymaa (at) pohde.fi  

Mika Kaakinen

Docent, PhD  
University of Oulu, Finland 

Mika Kaakinen is Docent and Senior Research Fellow at University of Oulu. His research has involved modern advanced imaging techniques (light- and electron microscopy) and image analysis at Biocenter Oulu. His currently ongoing studies deal with mechanism of blood brain barrier disruption (BBBD) and perivascular fluid dynamics. He uses advanced light-and electron microscopic techniques accompanied with non/invasive monitoring in studies to understand how fluorescent and electron dense tracers cross the BBB, which factors contribute to clearance of cerebrospinal fluid and what is the role of perivascular matrix in neurodegenerative diseases.  

Kaakinen received a postdoctoral fellowship from Academy of Finland (2013– 2016) to support his studies on membrane stress sensing microdomains caveolae. Most of the work was conducted at Institute for Molecular Bioscience of University of Queensland in Australia.  

Mika Kaakinen has over 40 publications with over 500 citations.  

Email mika.kaakinen (at) oulu.fi  

Johanna Krüger

MD, PhD, Specialist in Neurology, Clinical Lecturer, PI 
Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu 

Johanna Krüger is Specialist in Neurology and Clinical Lecturer at University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital. She is also a research group leader. Her group’s research focuses on early onset dementia, Alzheimer disease, neurodegeneration and neurogenerative diseases. Krüger is experienced clinician with focus on memory disorders and epilepsy. 

Johanna Krüger has over 30 publications with nearly 500 citations. 

Email johanna.kruger (at) oulu.fi 

Harri Rusanen

Docent, MD, PhD, Neurology Specialist  
Oulu University Hospital, Finland  

Harri Rusanen is a Neurology Specialist and Docent at Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu. His research focuses on stroke, mitochondrial diseases and ataxia. Rusanen is an experienced clinician with a broad background and skills. He receives patients with e.g., multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraine and other headaches, Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, neurological sleep disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. He is also an entrepreneur in the medical field.   

Rusanen has over 30 publications with nearly 1 500 citations.  

Email harri.rusanen (at) pohde.fi 

Jani Tikkanen

Research and Education Director, Northern Ostrobothnia Wellbeing Services County 

Email jani.tikkanen (at) pohde.fi