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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I study the brain basis of psychopathy and violence. Our studies will improve the understanding of the neural and psychological mechanisms of affective disorders, violence and impulsive behaviour. We use a multimodal neuroimaging approach with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
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.
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.
I am working on brain basis of human facial expression recognition using multivariate techniques.
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.
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.
I am a medical student and work in the lab on data analysis procedures and computational tools for brain imaging database maintenance and development.
Research assistants and junior staff
I am a clinical psychologist and am working 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.
I am a Master of Science (Technology) from Aalto University, majoring in mathematics, and in addition I have been studying medicine. I am helping the lab with data analysis and programming efforts.
I lead the reptile reserarch division at the Emotion Lab and live in the Mordor basement. Currently I am feeding on frozen mice and gaining weight. In the summer I should be big enough to start my job as a research assistant scaring subjects in ultra-naturalistic PET and fMRI experiments on unconditioned fear.
Sandra successfully defended her PhD thesis on molecular mechanisms of social bonding, after which she began pursuing her specialisation in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Timo worked with us developing the Onni (“Bliss” in Finnish) stimulus rating tool, after which he returned to clinical training and is currently pursuing a PhD in cognitive psychology.
Juulia did a great PhD thesis on touching and contributed to many improvements in embody tool. After defending, she was recruited to The Other University (a.k.a Oxford) to work as a postdoc.
Matias worked as a research assistant for us for some time, but decided to focus on his studies for a while. Maybe we’ll see him in the lab again some day?
Lara worked with us on pattern recognition analysis of fMRI data. She ultimately decided that she wanted to do a career in business, and decided to try her wings in LA and London as web developer.
Matt worked with us on unconditioned acute and sustained fear, and bravely figured out how subjects can be motivated to stay in the scanner for hours and hours. Training with us was worth the effort – he was offered a permanent Lecturer position at the Psychology at the National College of Ireland, Dublin.
Enrico was our methods sorcerer and signal analysis prophet, playing a key role in many of our top fMRI and behavioural projects. We were unable to allure him to move permanently to Turku, and he decided to do a next post-doc at Aalto University.
Jaakko was our MEG and signal analysis specialist post-doc, who moved to University of Montréal for a second post-doc period.
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.
Being one of our data analysis wizards, Juha was headhunted to Max Planck Institute following his post-doc period with us.
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 “Tullijohtaja” 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 worked as a post-doc with us on ultrafast inverse imaging, after which he moved to Taiwan National University
Upon completing his PhD thesis, Jetro went to pursue research in the FinnBrain project at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku
Sirkku did fantastic work as a research assistant for over a year, working on our AIVO neuroinformatics project. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at University of Turku.
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!