People

Let us introduce ourselves.
Tuomas Lilius, PI

I am M.D., Ph.D., docent of pharmacology and specialist of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics with roots in University of Helsinki. In addition to the university researcher and PI role at the University of Helsinki, I serve as head physician of the Finnish Poison Information Center and as visiting associate professor at University of Copenhagen.

Early during my medical studies I developed interest in neuropharmacology as a dynamic area of medical science. In my PhD work at Department of Pharmacology, I characterised novel pharmacological strategies for enhancing opioid analgesia under the supervision of professor Eija Kalso and docent Pekka Rauhala. After the PhD defence in 2014 and a short period of clinical work, I undertook a short postdoctoral period under the supervision of prof. Janne Backman and prof. Klaus Olkkola at Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Helsinki. During this period, I gained experience in designing clinical drug trials. In 2017–2020, I served as postdoc and assistant professor in professor Maiken Nedergaard’s laboratory in University of Copenhagen to study the recently characterised glymphatic system and especially its pharmacological modulation.

My current main research interest is in studying the neuropharmacology of the glymphatic system, and especially its modulation by anesthetics and analgesics as well as the effect of glymphatic flow on central pharmacokinetics of drugs. The other lines of research aim at improving anesthetic and analgesic efficacy through understanding individual drug response and investigating novel tools to monitor therapeutic drug concentrations in real-time. 

In my free time, I enjoy music, exercise, and spending time with my spouse and two kids.

Terhi Lohela, university researcher

I’m a specialist of anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine, with particular interests in intensive care medicine and neuroanaesthesiology. After finalizing my epidemiological PhD, I joined the Nedergaard group in the University of Copenhagen to study the recently described glymphatic system. My aim is to study the determinants of cerebrospinal fluid flow in patients, animal models and in epidemiological cohorts. I’m also particularly interested in developing more effective and individualized drug therapies through point-of-care testing and understanding individual variation in drug response.

In my free time I enjoy traveling, culture events and outdoor activities with my spouse and two sweet toddlers.

Marko Rosenholm, postdoc

I am a neuropharmacologist with a primary research interest in the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders, particularly major depression. I started my research career studying the shared neurobiological mechanisms underlying rapid antidepressant effects of anesthetics in the Faculty of Pharmacy in University of Helsinki. After my PhD in 2020, I joined Tuomas Lilius’ group – then situated in University of Copenhagen – and received an opportunity to study the function and pharmacological manipulation of the glymphatic system in prof. Maiken Nedergaard’s laboratory. My current work focuses mainly on SPECT/CT and MRI imaging of CSF tracers in vivo to examine the effects of pharmacological interventions on CSF flow and glymphatic brain clearance.

In addition to the brain, the other important b's in my life include bass guitar, birdwatching, badminton, and board games.

Marko Rosenholm LinkedIn

Kim Blomqvist, postdoc/visiting scholar

I am a general dentist passioned about oral and maxillofacial surgery, pain medicine, pharmacology, neuroscience, and anesthesiology.

In my PhD, I studied possibilities to improve safety and efficacy of opioid analgesics.

Next to science, I enjoy riding a motorcycle.

Elina Brinck, associated clinical researcher

I am a specialist in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine, with a subspecialty in neuroanesthesiology and neurointensive care.

My PhD project has focused on the effects of ketamine in acute postoperative pain. After defending my thesis later this year,  I’m enthusiastic about continuing research on neuropharmacology of anesthesia and analgesia and applying the findings to clinical setting.

Johanna Kujala, PhD student

My backround is in clinical medicine. I’m specialist in anesthesiology, intensive care and pain medicine with special interest in pain management. I am head of South Carelian Central Hospital pain clinic, where we practice multdisciplinary pain management including psychological, physioterapeutic and medical treatment, and also invasive pain management such as spinal cord stimulation.

I have joined Lilius’ group in 2020 in pursue of clinical validation of an electrochemical tool which has been developed for fast detection of different analgesics. At the moment my work concentrates on paracetamol.

I do my PhD research part-time. When I’m not working, I spend time with my husband and three children, play and listen to classical music or tend to my garden.

Daniel Persson, PhD student

I have a BSc in biomedicine received from Lund University 2017, and a MSc. in Immunology and Inflammation received from University of Copenhagen 2021. I performed my master’s thesis, in the lab of professor Maiken Nedergaard, utilizing MRI to map the effect different anesthetic regiments have on CSF flow in rodent brain and concurrently developed a great interest in the role of the glymphatic system.

Since May 2021 I’m part of the Lilius lab, working with imaging of the glymphatic function, focusing on modulating the clearance of contrast agents from the brain parenchyma and delivery of CSF infused drugs to the CNS.

Besides science, I have been a scout all my life, I enjoy being out in the nature and I tend to go for a run almost every day.

Daniel Persson LinkedIn

Iina Annala, PhD student

I am a PhD student with great enthusiasm for pharmacology, neuroscience, and drug discovery. I studied pharmacy in University of Helsinki and got my Master of Pharmacy degree in 2021. In my PhD project, supervised by Tomi Rantamäki and Tuomas Lilius, I study the effects and mechanism of action of ketamine and nitrous oxide. Besides being anesthetic agents, these drugs have been shown to have rapid antidepressant effects in depressed patients. I am focusing on investigating the antidepressant actions, utilizing electrophysiological, biochemical and behavioral experiments in vivo, as well as in vitro methods. In addition, I make use of computational methods to study the effects of the compounds at molecular level, potentially paving way to find new molecules with antidepressant potential. 

Outside the lab I like to ride a bike and spend time in nature, as well as visit my home town in Southern Ostrobothnia.

Martta Peltoniemi, PhD student

I have a Master´s (2023) in Chemistry and Molecular sciences from the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, and during my Masters studies I focused especially in radiochemistry and radiopharmaceutical chemistry. In my PhD I am focusing on the development of new radiolabeled tracers for the nuclear imaging of glymphatic fluid flow. My PhD is a collaboration between Tuomas Lilius' group and Tracers in Molecular Imaging -Team with Mirkka Sarparanta. 

Radu Copie, PhD student

I have an M.D. degree from “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2020) and an M.Sc. degree in Molecular Medicine from Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany (2023). I conducted my M.Sc. thesis in the field of experimental anaesthesiology, focusing on the network action of general anaesthestic drugs on the GABA-A receptors in the central nervous system.

I joined Lilius lab in October 2023 as a doctoral researcher, for my PhD focusing on the pharmacological modulation of glymphatic system aimed to improve the treatment of chronic pain. At the same time, I would like to complete my specialization in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine.

Some of my secret passions are hiking, running, visiting art museums, the latest one added to the list being learning Finnish :)

Sonja Jalonen, PhD student

I have bachelor's degree in Physiology and neuroscience and master's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Helsinki.

I joined the Lilius Lab as a research assistant, working with EEG and I’m currently starting out my PhD with the focus on the mechanisms behind the glymphatic enhancing properties of α2-agonists.

My hobbies at the moment include running and strength training in Unisport.

Moritz Skogster, medical student

I am a medical student at the University of Helsinki. Besides my medical studies, I also study bioinformatics part-time at Aalto University. My general interests include pharmacology and medical technology, and that’s mostly why I originally joined Tuomas´ team in 2020. My current research project aims establish a fast and reliable way of measuring opioid concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid.

Besides academics, I enjoy working out at the gym, doing various outdoor activities, and seeing friends.

Melina Farzaneh, medical student

I’m a second year medical student in University of Helsinki. Science in general has always fascinated me and I’m particularly interested in cognition and neuroscience.

In my free time I like to learn new things, take long walks in the nature and spend good time in good company. I also love travelling and learning about different cultures.

Maria Ruotsalainen, medical student

I am a fourth year medical student in University of Helsinki and currently doing my thesis in medicine with the Lilius group. My project is studying the pharmacokinetic interactions of S-ketamine and opioids.

Tuomas Varjelus, medical student

I am a licensed pharmacist and a second-year medical student in the University of Helsinki. I am on the PHD study track and found Lilius' group in 2023 summer rotations. My work focuses on the effects of dexmedetomidine on the glymphatic system of rats.

My hobbies include weightlifting, tabletop roleplaying games, videogames and reading.

Tomas Laakso, medical student

I am a medical student in the University of Helsinki and quite recently developed an interest for research. I joined the Lilius Lab in the spring of 2024 after finding out about the group when I attended a lecture held by Dr. Lilius himself.

I am currently writing my thesis on the impacts of passive movement on the CSF flow.

In my free time, I like to play sports, see friends, and stroll around town.

Alumni
Hanna Antila, post doc, 2023-2024 → PI, University of Helsinki, Antilab.
Jenni Anttila, post doc, 2021-2022 → Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.