Systems and cognitive neuroscience
Satu Palva research group

Brain activity is characterized by neuronal oscillations in time scales spanning from hundreds of seconds to milliseconds. The central goal of our group is to investigate what role oscillations and their interactions across brain regions play in the dynamic emergence of cognitive functions and behaviors. Our central hypothesis is that cross-frequency interactions among spectrally distributed oscillations allow the integration and coordination of neuronal processing across cortical hierarchies to support complex cognitive functions and behaviors. As both oscillations and behavior also fluctuate in a scale-free manner over several seconds to minutes indicative of critical neuronal dynamics, our goal is further to investigate the significance of neuronal scaling laws in predicting behavior variability. We likewise investigate whether aberrant neuronal dynamics and connectivity predict cognitive deficits and disease endophenotypes in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.

As oscillations, their interactions and criticality are observed at all studied spatial scales, we combine human non-invasive magneto- and electroencephalography (M/EEG) recordings with intracranial EEG (iEEG) data as well as with animal in vivo electrophysiology to gain mechanistic insight into the neuronal circuit dynamics. We use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) in humans and electrophysiological and optical stimulation in animal models to test the causal role of identified neuronal activities and interactions in coordinating behavioral performance. As analysis approaches, we use neuroinformatics based whole-brain analyses of oscillations and scale-free dynamics, network neuroscience, machine learning algorithms, complemented by computational modelling.


Satu Palva
Docent in Neuroscience, group leader
P.O. Box 21, FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Phone: 59603 (internal), +358 50 4484 742

Lab address

Haartmaninkatu 3 B, E-wing, 4th floor,
00014 Helsinki, Finland.
Phone: +358 2941 57611