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 its therapeutic possibilities with our current focus on addiction treatment. 

HentoTouch team is also exploring the possibility of a back-mounted device. Photo: Juliana Harkki.

Open positions in the lab

If you are interested in participating in a project with the potential to change the status quo of AUD treatment, the most undertreated mental disorder in the world, we would be excited to discuss. We can offer bachelor's thesis and Aalto LST special assignment topics, and you can also send open application to Pauli Tuovinen (Technology), Juliana Harkki (Clinical Investigations), or Jukka Planman (Design and Commercialization). 

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.


 Juliana Harkki

Juliana Harkki

Doctoral Researcher
 Pauli Tuovinen

Pauli Tuovinen

Doctoral Researcher

Heikki Nieminen

Principal Investigator, Professor

Anna-Helena Puisto

Research Assistant

Jonne Annevirta

Research Assistant


Hannu Alho

Emeritus Professor of Addiction Medicine, MD

Francis McGlone

Professor of Neuroscience, Liverpool John Moores University

Hanna Renvall


Ilkka Nissilä

Pekka Rapeli

Neuropsychologists, HUS addiction psychiatry
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