Academy of Finland appointed three new Academy Professors
The Board of Finland has selected nine new Academy Professors for the period the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2016. Academy Professors selected from the School of Science (Aalto University) are Professors Olli Ikkala, Risto Ilmoniemi and Riitta Salmelin.
The new Academy Professors will start their five-term on the 1st of January 2012. They represent a wide range of research fields: biological and soft matter physics, medical engineering, and systematic and cognitive neuroscience.
An Academy Professor is a person who demonstrated his/her skills and competencies in research and can be regarded as contributing to the progress of research within his/her own field. Academy Professors are in an employment relationship with the universities where they work. The newly appointed Academy Professors are leading-edge researchers in their own fields, both in Finland and internationally.
Research on strong natural materials
Olli Ikkala’s (b. 1953) research approach is considered highly innovative in the field of materials science. In the future it is expected that his work will pave the way to the manufacture of completely new type of biomimetic materials
Professor Ikkala’s research interests are in self-organised biological nanometre scale structures and functions. His aim is to create new biomimetic materials and to integrate new functionalities into materials, including electroactive, magnetic, absorption and even biological properties.
During his Academy Professorship, Olli Ikkala plans initially to start researching strong natural materials, such as silk and mother-of-pearl. These materials have application in data communications technology, human spare parts and energy-saving vehicles. Added to this, the focus switches to mimicking and utilising biological processes, such as membrane selectivity that can be used in ‘soft machines’, for example.
Another area of interest in Professor Ikkala’s project is to investigate the possibility of manufacturing these materials on a large scale.
New brain imaging methods
Risto Ilmoniemi (b. 1954) is Professor and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science. He is also one of the world’s leading experts in MEG and TMS techniques. During his term as Academy Professor, Professor Ilmoniemi will set out to develop completely new brain imaging methods, the most ambitious of which is simultaneous MEG and MRI. The new methods can be used, for example, for bloodless brain surgery.
Ilmoniemi’s project for his forthcoming term as Academy Professor is described as pioneering, innovative, multidisciplinary and scientifically highly challenging. It will pave the way to new, highly effective methods in the diagnosis and treatment of several serious diseases, including neoplasms, stroke, epilepsy etc.
Ilmoniemi’s 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.
Research on systemic and cognitive neuroscience
Riitta Salmelin (b. 1961) conducts research in the field of systemic and cognitive neuroscience. She is also an expert in the world-famous MEG imaging method which is a non-invasive imaging technique that can be used to analyse both healthy and diseased brain function in various processes and circumstances.
Professor Salmelin’s interdisciplinary research plan represents the absolute cutting edge in the field of cognitive neuroscience and will generate critical new information that will have wide application in both language research and many other fields related to brain research.
Professor Riitta Salmelin is Vice Director of the Centre of Excellence in Systems Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Research. Her research project also comes under the auspices of the Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health and Well-being.
More information about all the selected Academy Professors can be found in www.aka.fi
Text: Terhi Arvela
Source material: Press Release of the Academy of Finland