The Great Helmsman

lauri2 Lauri Nummenmaa
I lead the Human Emotion Systems laboratory at Turku PET Centre and Department of Psychology, University of Turku.  My main specialization is in human emotion science and medical imaging, but I am also interested in advanced statistical analysis of neuroimaging data. See my curriculum vitae and Google Scholar page for more details.

Post-doctoral scientists and senior staff

enrico-glerean-3_thEnrico Glerean
I defended my PhD at Aalto University in 2015 and joined the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory. I am specialising in fMRI signal analysis, brain connectivity and graph theory. I am particularly interested in applying sophisticated data analysis techniques for parsing the neural underpinnings of emotions and social cognition. I also develop web-tools for large scale data collection. See also my personal webpage at

henry_kHenry Karlsson
I study the structural and functional effects of obesity to the human brain. We use a multimodal neuroimaging approach with positron emission tomography (PET) and  magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  By studying brain anatomy and function in both normal-weight individuals and obese patients undergoing weight loss surgery, we try to unravel the mechanisms that predispose to overeating

Matthew Hudson
I research how attentional mechanisms and neural activity become synchronised between individuals during fearful situations. We record eye movements and employ fMRI whilst people watch horror movies. This shared activity may contribute to the social element of fear and facilitate empathy and coordination of action. I am also interested in how differences emerge depending on whether people like or dislike horror movies.

Marco Bucci
I am a PhD in Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine. I have worked for the past 10 years on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In the past three years my focus shifted on brain metabolism, anatomy and function in relation to the whole body metabolism. I have expertise in PET/CT and MRI image acquisition, processing and analysis. I support the team with my expertise in developing in-house scripts and keeping up our patient database.

Lihua Sun
I am a postdoctoral researcher studying the brain basis of psychopathy and violence. I use fMRI to investigate the functional brain circuitry behind violent and non-violent psychopathy. I also use PET to elucidate their neuromolecular basis, including the endogenous mu-opioid and serotonin pathways. More information on my Google Scholar page.


Vesa Putkinen
I joined the Turku PET centre in 2017 to investigate the role of different neurotransmitter systems in affective and cognitive processes using a large-scale neuroimaging database. My special interest is the neural and molecular basis of music-induced emotions. I obtained my PhD in psychology from the University of Helsinki and have expertise in different brain research methods including EEG, MEG and fMRI.


Janne Isojärvi
I joined the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory in 2017 as a project researcher. The project focused on building and maintaining database, holding complex neuroimaging data, to the neuroscience community.
I am also interested to develop statistical and mathematical methods for analyzing imaging data from the big data perspective.

PhD students

juulia-suvilehto-6-1Juulia Suvilehto
I am looking into paradigms of social touching over the span of an individual’s social network, using methods borrowed from sociology, psychology, and neuroscience. See my personal webpage for more details.




Sanaz Nazani Farsani
I joined the Emotion lab to work as image processing specialist on the AIVO database. I focus on developing and implementing pattern analysis tehcniques to unravel imaging biomarkers for neurological conditions and classifying, and develop analytic techniques for quantifying brain-environment interactions in our large-scale imaging database.

sandraSandra Manninen
I am a medical doctor and am doing my PhD thesis on the brain basis of social interaction and social bonding. In this project we use in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) for quantifying the role of endogenous opioid system and particualry of mu receptros in establishing long-term social bonds across individuals.


mikkolMikko Lähteenmäki
I am a doctoral student in the Social Brain project at Aalto university. The focus of my project concerns the neural mechanics of emotion transfer and the detection of emotional signals. We employ a multifaceted approach, combining behavioral measures, psychophysical experiments using fMRI and MEG, and naturalistic two-person fMRI to study these topics.

laraLara Ejtehadian
I am  working on an pattern recognition analysis of fMRI data. Using multivariate techniques I study neural organization of human emotions and social relationships.


edustuskuva_scaledTomi Karjalainen
My work focuses on the human neurotransmission systems underlying emotion functions as well as the individual differences in emotional responsiveness. Using positron emission tomography we focus on the opioidergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic systems’ role in  human emotionality.


1Sofia Volynets
I am working on brain basis of human facial expression recognition using multivariate techniques.




Kerttu Seppälä
My work pertains serotonergic and opioidergic circuits involved in positive and negative emotions. I am currently setting up behavioural, PET and fMRI paradigms for investigating the interplay of specific neurotransmitters in different emotional processes.


Tatu Kantonen
I have recently started working on a prospective study on the neural risk factors of developing obesity in the adolescence. We use positron emission tomography and focus on brain’s opioidergic and endocannabinoid systems in individuals with high versus low personal and familial risk for obesity.


Research assistants

davSeveri Santavirta
I am a medical student and work in the lab on data analysis procedures and computational tools for brain imaging database maintenance and development.

Matias Hilska
I am a medical student and I work at the Emotion lab as a research assistant. I mostly work on database organization and data retrieval, but help also in general data-related issues and statistics.



Sirkku Turunnen
I am majoring in psychology and work in the lab as a research assistant. My main tasks include metadata preparation for PET and MRI mega-analysis projects, and general data administration issues.

 Lab alumni

Jaakko Kauramäki
Jaakko was our MEG and signal analysis specialist post-doc, who moved to University of Montréal for a second post-doc period.

Fanny Lachat
Fanny worked as a post-doc with us on two-person hyper classification of action and pain perception, after which she took a position at Karolinska Institutet at Stockholm.

Juha Lahnakoski
Being one of our data analysis wizards, Juha was headhunted to Max Planck Institute following his post-doc period with us.

Ville Renvall
After completing his post-doc term in the lab, Ville moved to the media industry and started working at Sanoma Media Group in Finland.

Lauri Tuominen
Our opioid-PET specialist Lauri (a.k.a Chief Customs Officer) did a magnificent post-doc period in the lab, and went on for a second post-doc at Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston, U.S.

Kevin Tsai
Kevin worked as a post-doc with us on ultrafast inverse imaging, after which he moved to Taiwan National University

Jetro Tuulari
Upon completing his PhD thesis, Jetro went to pursue research in the FinnBrain project at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku

Tuulia Malen
Tuulia did fantastic work as a research assistant for almost a year, backing up dataa and working on meta-analysis on opioids. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at University of Turku, and promised to check back with us for a PhD positions late on!

Official lab philosophers

Guitar wizard Yngwie Malmsteen is the official honorary philosopher for our lab. Because Yngwie knows it – more is more!

We also greatly appreciate the Finnish rap artist Musta Barbaari who knows that if you want to be best, you need to be the first to come to and last to leave the lab (or gym) ! See below for cool Finnish motivational pictures for your own lab, click for larger images!