Will anaesthetics and sleep provide help for depression?

Tomi Rantamäki investigates rapid-acting treatment options for depression.

What are your research topics?

My research group studies the mechanisms of action of rapid-acting treatments for depression. Unlike traditional antidepressants, certain drugs and non-medicinal remedies alleviate depressive symptoms almost immediately.

Oddly enough, many of these drugs are anaesthetics. However, the problem with these options is the short duration of the antidepressant effect: often, the symptoms already return after a few days or weeks.

The idea underpinning our research is that the effects of rapid-acting antidepressants are linked to the mechanisms of sleep.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact? 

A long-term goal is to develop new, increasingly effective ways to treat depression and certain other brain diseases. Our research helps us understand the role of drugs as part of a broader therapeutic effect. 

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

The way in which pharmacology is developing and being integrated with other fields of science. The effects of pharmaceutical agents are increasingly understood, for example, from the perspective of complex physiological processes. This drives the development of drugs that affect the central nervous system in particular in a whole new way. 


Tomi Rantamäki is the professor of molecular pharmacology at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Read about the other newly appointed professors.