Professor Risto Ilmoniemi
Ilmoniemi, Ph.D. is
Academy Professor, Professor of Engineering and Physics, Department of
Engineering and Computational Science (BECS), Aalto University School of
Risto is one of the world’s leading experts in MEG and TMS techniques. During his term as Academy Professor, he is developing completely new brain imaging methods, the most ambitious of which is simultaneous MEG and MRI. Other brain imaging methods include multichannel TMS, various hybrid techniques that involve infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as well as MRI-guided, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which can be used for bloodless brain surgery.
Upon completion of his doctorate at Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), Risto took up a post-doctoral research position in the United States in 1985–1987, and then returned to the TKK Low Temperature Laboratory as Senior Assistant. At this time, Professor Olli Lounasmaa was conducting leading-edge research at the laboratory to develop the revolutionary new technique of magnetoencelography (MEG). The laboratory achieved world fame, and Risto was prominently involved in the research effort. In 1994, he was appointed Director of the BioMag Laboratory at Helsinki University Hospital. He then moved into the private sector as Managing Director of Nexstim, a spin-off company he founded himself. The company’s main business was to commercialize the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) system that he had pioneered. In 2004, the company won the Innofinland Prize and in 2006, the European IST Prize. In September 2006, he returned to TKK as Professor of Engineering Physics, having gained valuable industrial experience.
Risto’s project for his term as Academy Professor is described as pioneering, innovative, multidisciplinary and scientifically highly challenging. It is expected to have substantial social impact. It will pave the way to new, highly effective methods in the diagnosis and treatment of several serious diseases, including neoplasms, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and tinnitus. His research also has industrial value since its ultimate goal is to develop new instruments with commercial application. The project has the backing of SalWe Ltd., the Strategic Centre for Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health and Well-Being.
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