Top Gun

Lauri Nummenmaa
I lead the Human Emotion Systems laboratory at Turku PET Centre. My 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, Google Scholar page and personal Finnish webpages for more details. I am also CEO for Nummenmaa Oy, please check out out our company website too!

Vice President

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.
Check out my publications on Google Scholar.

Senior staff and post-doctoral scientists

Henry “Daddy-O” Karlsson
I am a senior researcher and adjunct professor, whose research interests lie in obesity, eating disorders, and other psychiatric disorders. I also work as a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Recuror and Turku University Hospital. More information can be found on my Google Scholar page.

Jouni Tuisku
I am a postdoctoral researcher with a particular interest in PET imaging methodology. My previous research has focused on brain PET neuroinflammation imaging with DTI, MRI and PET. At the human emotion systems lab, I am mainly involved in the implementation of modelling and analysis methods for PET neuroimaging data. More details on my Google Scholar page.

Lihua Sun
I am an associate professor from Fudan University working part-time at the PET Centre. My research is focused on the brain basis of psychopathy and violence, using 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. See publications on my Google Scholar page.

Rui Watanabe
I started my work in the Emotion lab as a visiting fellow in 2024. I have been studying human cognitive functions such as action observation, imitation, and empathy, using fMRI. My current research focuses on empathy towards people with different characteristics from one’s own. When I was in Japan, I also worked as a physiotherapist, specializing in rehabilitation for stroke patients. See more details on Google Scholar.

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. See more details on Google Scholar.

PhD students and researchers

Lili “Primary MC” Järvinen
I am a doctoral candidate in the University of Turku. I’m also a bachelor of medicine. Our research focuses on anorexia nervosa and its effects on brain function in adolescents. My special interests are eating disorders and affective disorders.  

Lasse Lukkarinen
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 PET and fMRI (profile picture by DALL-E).

Tuulia Malen
I am a doctoral student in the University of Turku. I am also a clinical psychologist and an undergraduate student in Statistics. Data analysis is close to my heart. At the moment, I mainly work on PET data. My key targets of investigation are dopamine and the human reward system. See more details on Google Scholar.

Mikko 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.

Heidi Laine
I joined Emotion Lab in 2024 to study media affectivity in public spaces. I’m a doctoral student at the University of Turku and have a degree in computer science. I’m enthusiastic about human-computer interaction and interaction design.

Santeri Palonen
I’m a mathematician who specializes in applied mathematics, with a touch of computer science mixed in. I joined Emotion Lab in 2022 as a research assistant and currently I work with automatic wholebody PET image analysis pipeline, TURBO.

Sofia 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. See my publications list on Google Scholar.

Severi Santavirta
I am a medical doctor and work in the lab on data analysis procedures and computational tools for brain imaging database maintenance and development. My publications list is available on Google Scholar.

Jinglu Chen
Before joining Human Emotion Systems Laboratory, I used to study group emotion by fNIRS. Now, I am a doctoral student here, studying attentional and affective mechanisms of empathy during naturalistic conditions and prosocial behavior by eye tracking and fMRI.

Birgitta Paranko 
I joined the lab in 2020 as a research assistant in the eye movement project. I did my MSc in neuroscience and have previously been doing MEG imaging and studying neural mechanisms underlying depression. Currently I work on a fMRI and eye tracking project on the effects of bullying on the adolescent brain.

Harri Harju
I am a doctoral student at the University of Turku and a clinical psychologist. I joined the lab originally in 2020 as a research assistant and have been a part of several projects here. Currently I am focusing on total-body PET imaging to investigate emotional responses on a whole-body level.

Tuomo Noppari
I am a neurologist specializing in psychiatry and a doctoral researcher. I study social cognition in autism and psychopathy using MRI, fMRI and PET imaging in Human Emotion Systems Laboratory.

Research assistants and junior staff

Eveliina Rantakylä
I am a psychology student and work as a research assistant in the lab. Currently I’m involved in a project that investigates the neural basis of musically induced emotions. My work includes preparing stimuli, managing subjects and collecting data.

Joona Pakkanen
I am a psychology student working as a research assistant in the lab. I work on a project researching emotional responses in public spaces. My work involves setting up tests, gathering data and preparing it for analysis.

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.

The Alpaca
My excited sound is responsible for keeping hundreds and hundreds of participants awake during fMRI scans. Every time I am delighted, they are asked to furiously press the response button to indicate they haven’t fallen asleep. You can hear hear a sample of my dark brown voice here.

Lab alumni

Marco Bucci
After working as a post-doctoral fellow in PET data analytics and modelling, Marco moved to Karolinska Institutet for further developing his skills in PET imaging.

Asli Erdemli
Our visiting specialist in appraisal models on emotions spent a fantastic stretch in the Emotion Lab working on brain basis of affective evalutions. Asli returned back go University of Geneve to complete her PhD and has promised to keep on collaborating with us in the future too.

Lara Ejtehadian
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.

Enrico Glerean
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.

Harri Harju
The Snake Charmer Harri worked with us on the real fear project, managing subjects and our research assistant snake Jyrki. Harri decided to focus on his studies and wrapping up his master’s thesis, his work in Emotion lab surely makes him competent to deal patients with snake phobias. UPDATE – HARRI IS BACK! Harri enjoyed working with us so much that he is now pursuing a PhD thesis in the emotion lab. Such a great reunion!

Timo Heikkilä
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.

Iina Hinkka
Actually being a part of Marco Bucci’s research group, Iina was adopted to the Emotion lab during the pandemic and remote work season. She bravely tackled the statistics and data management for the FDG database project done with Marco, and is now perfectly prepared for tackling her master’s degree in clinical psychology.

Kia Hietakangas
One of our super effective research assistants, Kia spent countless hours on data cleanup and management. She finally had to focus on her studies and theses, and we are definitely looking forward to meeting again in the lab.

Matias Hilska
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?

Matthew Hudson
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.

Janne Isojärvi
Our database wizard Janne joined the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory in 2017. He worked on building and maintaining the AIVO database for complex PET neuroimaging data. After six years with us Janne decided to move to the industry and started working for EstiMates Oy.

Samu Jokiaho
Samu worked in the lab as a research assistant contributing go multiple behavioural data acquisition and programming projects. He left the lab to complete his internship and degree in psychology, so we’ll be sure to see him again!

Tomi Karjalainen
Tomi worked on multimodal imaging and PET image processing, being the mastermind behind the MAGIA toolbox. After defending his PhD on brain basis on sociability and a highly productive post-doctoral period, he was headhunted as a data scientist for Polar Electro.

Tatu Kantonen
Tatu completed a massive prospective study on the neural risk factors of developing obesity in the adolescence, and wrote an astonishing PhD thesis on the topic. After completing he decided to continue his clinical career and medial specialisation.

Jaakko Kauramäki
Jaakko was our MEG and signal analysis specialist post-doc, who moved to University of Montréal for a second post-doc period. Jaakko was originally responsible for the alpaca sound, for which we are eternally grateful.

Kyoungjune “Arto” Pak
Arto worked at the Emotion Lab for almost two years and became the absolutely best travel guide for Finland. He returned to Pusan National University to pursue his career in nuclear medicine imaging, and is planning to construct his own sauna while spreading the joys of the Finnish lifestyle in Korea.

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.

Elina Lewandowski
Our eye-tracking specialist Elina worked on the mega track project recording hours and hours of eye movement data from countless subjects. After completing her master’s thesis in the emotion lab, she started her clinical career in psychology.

Sandra Manninen
Sandra successfully defended her PhD thesis on molecular mechanisms of social bonding, after which she began pursuing her specialisation in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Laura Pekkarinen
Being one of the key players in our PROSPECT trial, Laura completed her thesis on the CB1 system and glucose metabolism in obesity with top marks. She moved on to work on with endocrinology, and keeps on collaborating with Emotion Lab on obesity studies.

Nella Rantala
Nella was our long-standing research assistant and eye movement recording specialist. Ultimately she completed her diploma theses and began a career as a clinical psychologist.

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.

Jonatan Ropponen
Jonatan completed his non-military service in Emotion Lab / Turku PET Centre, after which he returned to complete his MD studies.

Maya Rassouli
Visiting us from ETH Zürich, Maya did a fantastic internship at the Turku PET Center. She worked on PET and fMRI data on music-induced emotions, and returned to ETH to wrap up her thesis with the skills learned at the Emotion Lab.

Tiinuli “Päällikkö” Saanijoki
Tiinuli completed her infamous “HIT feels SH*T” thesis, and joined the Emotion Lab as a post-doc and travel quality assurance manager. She subsequently started working as the Research Director at the Turku PET Centre, making sure we all do only top-notch science at the centre.

Juulia Suvilehto
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.

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

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.

Sirkku Turunen
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.

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

Official Lab Philosphers

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!