1.1.2012-31.12.2016 Medical technology Aalto University
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 from the beginning of 2012, Professor Ilmoniemi will set out to develop 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), Ilmoniemi 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 Ilmoniemi 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 Ilmoniemi had pioneered. In 2004, the company won the Innofinland Prize and in 2006, the European IST Prize. In September 2006, Ilmoniemi returned to TKK as Professor of Engineering Physics, having gained valuable industrial experience.
Ilmoniemi’s project for his forthcoming 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. 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.