Profile & activities

Want to know what we're all about? On this page, we've gathered information on our research profile and the disciplines involved in the programme. Here, you will also find information on the studies and the type of activities and networks that await if you join the doctoral programme.
Key research areas

Research and doctoral training in the B&M include the following fields of science:

  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Excitability, synaptic transmission, and neuronal networks
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Sensory and motor systems
  • Neuroimmunology, neuroendocrine systems and sleep
  • Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience
  • Systems and computational neuroscience

In addition to basic research, a number of the research groups are also developing applications relevant for pharmaceutical companies, for the clinic, and for novel technologies to be used in research. In view of the integrative nature of research training in B&M, we do not support pure methods-development projects. Rather, all new methodologies developed as part of a doctoral thesis project should be applied to data collection or analysis.

To look for researchers working in the B&M fields of science, please visit the Contacts and supervision page.

Courses & studying

A doctoral degree in the programme comprises of a doctoral thesis and 40 credits of additional studies. The studies are divided into discipline-specific studies, aimed to support your research project, and transferable skills training.

When preparing your study plan for the application, please remember to include all the obligatory studies: research ethics, book exam and B&M symposium with poster presentation.

Events & activities

The annual B&M symposium is organized by the Student Council of the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind, University of Helsinki and Aalto University!

In addition to B&M students and supervisors, we welcome other interested researchers and MSc/PhD students to this meeting. Registration to the symposium is free. 

The Brain & Mind Symposium 2024 will be organised on October 24-25, 2024.

The programs (pdf) of the previous symposia can be found in the sidebar link list.

  • Are you interested in what are the key open research questions in different fields of neuroscience?
  • What are the current conceptual and methodological limitations?
  • What are the biggest hurdles for effective prevention and treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases?

Come and hear our top neuroscientists discuss these and other timely questions in the context of their research.

The events are open to students, postdocs, group leaders, or anyone interested in neuroscience, and science in general.

The course Moodle page with recordings from previous seminars (enrolment key: “big questions”).

Host / organizer: Professor Iiris Hovatta


The 8th Finnish Symposium on Biological Psychiatry 

When: Monday 19 December, 2022 9:00-16:00
Venue: University of Helsinki, Meilahti campus, Haartmaninkatu 3, Lecture hall 1 / via Zoom

(The Zoom link will be sent to registered participants before the symposium).

Abstract submission has closed. Registrations without an abstract.




The symposium will include:

Keynote lecture by Dr. Julia Sacher, Minerva Research Group EGG (Emotion & neuroimaGinG) Lab, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany: Mapping the female human brain through hormonal transition periods: Implications for mood and cognition.

Talks by leading Finnish investigators in biological psychiatry

  • Dr. Erika Jääskeläinen (University of Oulu): Biological treatment of insomnia - pros and cons of antipsychotics
  • Prof. Tomi Rantamäki (University of Helsinki): No laughing matter - what nitrous oxide can tell about rapid antidepressant mechanisms?

Posters and short talks have been selected based on submitted abstracts. 

Target audience: Students, postdocs and faculty working on human genetic and imaging studies in psychiatric diseases, mechanisms of psychiatric diseases, including functional, pharmacological and genetic analyses in model organisms, and related fields. 

Credits (NEUBM-301): Students will receive 1 ECTS from attendance + submitting a learning diary, or 1 ECTS from poster/oral presentation or 2 ECTS from presentation + learning diary. 

The learning diary (800-1500 words) should describe and analyze what you have learned during the symposium. It should cover the 3 longer presentations (by senior scientists) and at least 4 short presentations (by junior scientists). Reflect what you have learned and what you found particularly interesting. Please send the learning diary to address: by 9.1.2023.


We hope to see you there!

  • Tiina Paunio, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry            
  • Annette Horstmann, PhD, associate professor of behavioral and brain sciences   
  • Iiris Hovatta, PhD, professor of behavioral genetics
  • Katri Kantojärvi, PhD, senior researcher                     
  • Hendrik Hartmann, MSc, doctoral student


  • Once a month, 5-7pm in Biomedicum or Zoom
  • Date, place and topic for each JC will be announced a couple of weeks before the session through Moodle. 
  • 1 credit for 1 presentation + attending the JC five times

The course Moodle page (enrolment key: “whatsup”)

Hosts: Henna-Kaisa Wigren, Eva Ruusuvuori, Linda Henriksson

Here you can find links to seminar series in research fields of brain and mind.

Brain Awareness Week was founded by Dana Alliance and is organised annually in March to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. 

B&M participates in the BAW activities in collaboration with other Finnish universities, organisations and societies. Our specific activities include e.g. visits to schools, lecture/poster presentations, popular science articles, newspaper articles and keeping a science blog. B&M students gain credit points by participating in the public outreach activities. Moodle page for NEUBM-702.


Collaboration and history


The first Finnish doctoral program in neuroscience was founded in 1995 by Academy Professor Kai Kaila (University of Helsinki) together with Academician Riitta Hari (Aalto University/Helsinki University of Technology). This Helsinki Graduate School of Neurobiology was expanded to a nationwide level as the Finnish Graduate School of Neuroscience (FGSN) in 1998.

FGSN was a joint program of the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Universities of Eastern Finland, Oulu, Turku, and Åbo Akademi. Research groups in these universities worked in collaboration to develop postgraduate education at a national level in neuroscience. FGSN was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland and the respective universities.

The Doctoral Program Brain & Mind (B&M) started in January 2012. The FGSN continued operating alongside the B&M during 2012-13. 

Starting from 2014, B&M was one of the doctoral programs of the Doctoral School in Health Sciences (DSHealth) of the University of Helsinki until the launch of the new University of Helsinki Doctoral School.

Professor Kai Kaila was the Director of the B&M until 2016, after which Professor Iiris Hovatta 2022.

B&M col­lab­or­a­tion between the Aalto University and the University of Helsinki

In Aalto University, B&M is a network program hosted by the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering (NBE)

The multidisciplinary network of leading neuroscience research groups of the Universities of Helsinki and Aalto continues to maintain and develop further the high standards of doctoral training within the scientific fields of Brain&Mind. In addition, B&M has an agreeement with the MSc Programme in Neuroscience (UH) and Master's Programme in Life Science Technologies (major Human Neuroscience and -Technology, AU) for a collaborative study right.

National collaboration with organisations and societies

B&M works in collaboration with the Brain Research Society of Finland (BRSF), Suomen Aivosäätiö (Finnish Brain Foundation), Suomen Aivot (Finnish Brain Council) and Neurocenter Finland to organize joint national events in neuroscience and brain awareness events for general public.

B&M is a member of the Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS, hosted by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, FENS) which provides opportunities for B&M doctoral candidates to e.g. apply for NENS exchange grants and for stipends to participate in FENS and IBRO-PERC supported courses.  

B&M coordinates the NENS Brain & Mind Cluster supported by FENS and IBRO-PERC.

Through the Doctoral School in Health Sciences (DSHealth), we are part of NorDoc - Nordic Doctoral Training in Health Sciences.