Simo Saarakkala

Simo Saarakkala


Professor, ERC Starting Grantee


Dr. Saarakkala currently acts as Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Research Group of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland. He is also a Scientific Director of the Infotech Oulu Focus Institute, University of Oulu, Finland. Prof. Saarakkala holds an ERC Starting Grant for 2014-2018.

Prof. Saarakkala has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles on different aspects of musculoskeletal imaging and biomechanics, particularly focusing on osteoarthritis. He is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of osteoarthritis imaging. Prof. Saarakkala's research group is focusing on diagnostics and imaging of osteoarthritis at different levels, i.e. from tissue and cell level up to the clinical level. The primary goal in his research is to better understand the etiology and progression of osteoarthritis as well as to develop novel methodologies to diagnose the disease at early phase, and predicts its clinical progression, when there would still be treatment options for patients.

Research interests

  • osteoarthritis
  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • imaging
  • machine learning

Selected publications

  • Tiulpin, Aleksei; Thevenot, Jérôme; Rahtu, Esa; Lehenkari, Petri; Saarakkala, Simo (2018) Automatic knee osteoarthritis diagnosis from plain radiographs : a deep learning-based approach. - Scientific Reports 8, 1727 .
  • Nieminen, H. J.; Gahunia, H. K.; Pritzker, K. P. H.; Ylitalo, T.; Rieppo, L.; Karhula, S. S.; Lehenkari, P.; Häggstörm, E.; Saarakkala, S. (2017) 3D histopathological grading of osteochondral tissue using contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography. - Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 25 (10), 1680-1689 . [Original]
  • Finnilä, Mikko A. J.; Thevenot, Jerome; Aho, Olli-Matti; Tiitu, Virpi; Rautiainen, Jari; Kauppinen, Sami; Nieminen, Miika T.; Pritzker, Kenneth; Valkealahti, Maarit; Lehenkari, Petri; Saarakkala, Simo (2017) Association between subchondral bone structure and osteoarthritis histopathological grade. - Journal of Orthopaedic Research 35 (4), 785-792 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Hirvasniemi, Jukka; Thevenot, Jérôme; Kokkonen, Harri T.; Finnilä, Mikko A.; Venäläinen, Mikko S. ; Jämsä, Timo; Korhonen, Rami K.; Töyräs, Juha; Saarakkala, Simo (2016) Correlation of Subchondral Bone Density and Structure from Plain Radiographs with Micro Computed Tomography Ex Vivo. - Annals of Biomedical Engineering 44 (5), 1698-1709 . [Original] [Self-archived]


Development of 3D Histopathological Grading of Osteoarthritis

Histopathological grading of osteochondral tissue is widely used in osteoarthritis (OA) research, and it is relatively common in post-surgery in vi

Prediction and decision support systems for knee osteoarthritis

Strategic research project of the University of OuluFocus institute: Infotech OuluFaculty: Faculty of Medicine (FoM)