People

Senior researchers

Miriam Nokia

Markku Penttonen

Jan Wikgren

Post-doctoral Fellows

Sanna Lensu

Arto Lipponen (Radboud University, Netherland)

Tiina Pirttimäki (UEF, Kuopio)

PhD Students

Anu Karvonen

Georgios Mertikas

Hanna Pyykönen

Tomi Waselius

Research assistants

Lauri Kantola

Eveliina Pöllänen

Alumni

Suvi Karla, PhD (2015)

Irina Gureviciene (post-doc, 2016)

Behavioural neuroscience group

Research goals and focuses

We use both animal models and human volunteers to study the basic mechanisms by which the brain creates new associations. In humans, we study the effects of emotional states and personality traits on innate reflexes and associative learning combined with EEG and other psychophysiological measures. In animal models of learning, we concentrate on the role of the hippocampus as an orchestrator of relational learning in the mammalian brain.

Together with Heikki Kainulainen’s group from the University’s Department of Biology of Physical Activity, we also study the relationship between aerobic fitness, physical exercise, cognition and brain plasticity.

Keywords and themes

Learning and memory, hippocampus, oscillations, adult neurogenesis, aerobic fitness, physical exercise

Methods

Behavioural testing, local field potentials, single-unit activity, electrical and optical stimulation, immunohistochemistry, EEG, MEG

theta.jpg

Selected publications

Nokia MS, Gureviciene I, Waselius T, Tanila H, Penttonen M. 2017. Hippocampal electrical stimulation disrupts learning when targeted at dentate spikes. Journal of Physiology. 595(14):4961-4971.  doi: 10.1113/JP274023.

Nokia MS, Lensu S, Ahtiainen JP, Johansson PP, Koch LG, Britton SL, Kainulainen H. 2016 Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained. Journal of Physiology. 594(7):1855-1873. doi: 10.1113/JP271552.

Nokia MS, Wikgren J. 2014 Effects of hippocampal state-contingent trial presentation on hippocampus-dependent nonspatial classical conditioning and extinction. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(17):6003-6010.

Wikgren J, Mertikas GG, Raussi P, Tirkkonen R, Äyräväinen L, Pelto-Huikko M, Koch LG, Britton SL, Kainulainen H. 2012. Selective breeding for endurance running capacity affects cognitive but not motor learning in rats. Physiology & Behavior, 106(2):95-100.

Wikgren J, Nokia MS, Penttonen M. 2010. Hippocampo-cerebellar theta band phase synchrony in rabbits. Neuroscience, 165(4):1538-45.

Collaborators

Piia Astikainen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 

Francesco Battaglia, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands 

Tristan A. Bekinschtein, Cambridge, UK

Steven L. Britton, University of Michigan, USA – AFIS

Jozsef Csicsvari, IST Austria, Austria

Olli Gröhn, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Heikki Kainulainen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland – AFIS

Lauren G. Koch, University of Michigan, USA – AFIS

Soili M. Lehto, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Jaakko Seikkula, University of Jyväskylä, Finland – Relational mind in events of change in multiactor therapeutic dialogues

Tracey J. Shors, Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Heikki Tanila, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Ina Tarkka, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Funding

PI Miriam Nokia, "Hippocampal representation of temporal information", Research project, Academy of Finland, 2015-2019

PI Miriam Nokia, ”Hippocampal oscillations and associative learning”, Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, 2014-2019

PI Miriam Nokia, Hippocampal oscillatory activity and associative learning”, Postdoctoral Researcher's project, Academy of Finland, 2011-2013

PI Markku Penttonen, “Mechanisms of memory”, Research project, Academy of Finland, 2011-2014

PI Jan Wikgren, “Transient neural assemblies during associative learning”, Academy of Finland, 2009

Facilities

Human neurocognitive laboratories

Classical conditioning and other behavioral testing

Immunohistochemistry

Optogenetics

Local field potential and single-unit recordings