Research - Physiology and Neuroscience

Physiology hosts internationally prominent neurobiology research teams which use a wide variety of methods, often combining electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques.

The research strategies are based on an integrative approach by addressing questions at different levels of organization (from molecules to behaviour) and at different stages of development, under normal and pathophysiological states, etc. Affiliated lipidomics group investigates the role of lipids and fatty acids in the functions of cells, individuals and ecological communities of interacting species. Research is also done on developmental biology.

Core Facilities:

Helsinki University Lipidomics Unit

Current research groups / projects in alphabetical order according to group leader

Academy Research Fellow Petri Ala-Laurila:  Ala-Laurila Lab
We  study novel signal processing mechanisms and their adaptive dynamics at the synaptic and cellular-element level across the entire neural circuit of the retina. Our research combines several fields of biosciences and natural sciences. >> Read more

Professor Kristian Donner: Laboratory of Visual Neurophysiology and Psychophysics
The vision group investigates key factors that influence the performance of animal and human visual systems. >> Read more

Professor Kai Kaila: Laboratory of Neurobiology
Our team investigates the biophysical, ion-regulatory and molecular mechanisms of neuronal communication and plasticity in the brain. Our research strategy is based on using a number of electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques on research models ranging from cloned receptors and isolated or cultured neurons to brain tissue slices, and to the human brain in vivo. >> Read more

Docent Reijo Käkelä: Functional Lipidomics
The group has biomedical and ecophysiological projects. The roles of lipids and fatty acids are studied in human vital functions and pathophysiology as well as in environmental adaptation and feeding ecology of animals. In addition to basic research we carry out applied projects. For example, together with our collaborators we develop functionality markers for stem cells used for transplantations, and improve methods for monitoring the diets of wide-ranging aquatic animals, such as seals and seabirds. The main methods used are mass spectrometry, chromatographic techniques and multivariate statistical analyses. The research group is a part of the lipidomics core facility of the university Helsinki University Lipidomics Unit offering analytical services to research groups, authorities and companies.

Docent Sari Lauri: Synaptic Plasticity and Development

Docent Ulla Pirvola: Inner ear sensory cell biology
Our group focuses on the sensory receptor cells of the hearing and balance organs. We study molecular regulation of development and death of these cells and their regeneration capacity. The goal of our developmental and cell biological research is to design biological interventions to treat hearing impairment. >> Read more


Academy Research Fellow Tomi Rantamäki: Laboratory of Neurotherapeutics
Series of serendipitous discoveries have lead to the development of current antidepressant treatments but the treatment procedures have still been inadequately validated and efficient monitors to control their patient-specific efficacy are lacking. We have acquired translational networks and efficient methodologies that not only allow to validate current treatment approaches but also to discover fundamental principles of their mechanisms and unique monitoring tools to control their efficacy. >> Read more

Professor Juha Voipio: Laboratory of Neurobiophysics
This group investigates biophysical mechanisms involved in synaptic and nonsynaptic transmission; in particular causally linked signaling mechanisms that are mediated by neurotransmitter receptors and other proteins such as the neuronal KCl cotransporter and carbonic anhydrase isoforms KCC2 and CA VII. >> Read more