Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering

Neurodesign Lab

Our group studies the translational potential and specific activation of C-tactile afferent neural fibers.
Two hands gently touching a brain.

Neurodesign Lab has a strong translational approach on neuroscience. We are studying the C-tactile afferent neural fibers (CTs) with an aim to find new ways of modulating the nervous system and to treat its dysfunctions. CTs are part of the somatosensory system in which they encode the signal of affective touch. The knowledge about the importance of CTs is growing constantly. The global pandemic has highlighted our need for social touch, and we know, based on both research and real-world examples, that touch is essential for normal development of humans and even invertebrates. Our aim is to develop new methods for optimal activation of this neural system and to investigate the its therapeutic possibilities with our current focus on addiction treatment. 

A skin-stroking device could help curb alcohol cravings

Aalto University researchers are developing a device that helps support sobriety in conjunction with other treatments, such as psychosocial treatments and pharmaceuticals.

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A device attachable to the forearm is one of the possibilities the hentoTouch team is currently exploring. Photo: Juliana Harkki.


Neurodesign Lab is hiring a part-time research assistant for our first patient study starting in November 2022. In the coming pilot study, we investigate the effect of CT activation in addiction related substance craving with alcohol use disorder patients.

We offer flexible possibilities to work on a wide range of tasks from patient recruitment and testing to data analysis and statistics. You should be able to work 9 to 18 hours per week and you must be comfortable working with the mentioned patient group. Completing a master’s or batchelor’s thesis project with us is also possible. We are looking for a Finnish- and/or English-speaking person with a background e.g. in life sciences, neuroscience or bioinformatics.

Come and work with us on this potentially ground breaking, first-of-its-kind study!

If you are interested, send us a few lines about yourself, your background and interests and we’ll get back to you asap.

Contact information:
Juliana Harkki
[email protected]


 Juliana Harkki

Juliana Harkki

Doctoral Researcher
 Pauli Tuovinen

Pauli Tuovinen

Doctoral Researcher

Heikki Nieminen

Principal Investigator, Professor


Hannu Alho

Emeritus Professor of Addiction Medicine, MD

Francis McGlone

Professor of Neuroscience, Liverpool John Moores University
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