Meet the Fellows for 2020

From left to right: Salla Keränen, Harriet Stenvall, Mikko Seppänen


Biodesign Finland project of 2020 was launched in the beginning of February. The theme of this year is psychiatry, more specifically psychosis.

The project is organised by Aalto University, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital. Get aquainted with our new Biodesign Innovation Fellows:

Salla Keränen, MA

Salla has a background in healthcare as a physiotherapist and a master's degree in industrial design where she majored in usability. She has created and developed an interactive blood glucose monitor for juveniles, led investment rounds and gathered a board of health tech investors and doctors to bolster and strengthen her innovation. Through her own company Salla has gathered a solid experience in user-centric design and business development. She enjoys all kind of sports, especially spinning and family yoga with her two children.

Mikko Seppänen, MA

Mikko has a master’s degree in industrial design and minor degree in International Design Business Management (IDBM).  For the last 10 years Mikko has worked in the two biggest and award-winning Finnish design agencies and carried out projects from sketches to real products. While product and service design being his strong assets, Mikko has also worked widely in the areas of business strategy and portfolio management. In his spare time Mikko loves challenging himself physically and mentally, outdoor life, cooking and crossfit.

Harriet Stenvall, MD

Harriet has a degree in medicine from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and has worked in internal medicine and geriatrics. She has also years of experience of working as a doctor in telemedicine. Harriet has done medical research on a novel self-sampling device for human papillomavirus and is undertaking a PhD at the University of Helsinki focusing on health-related quality of life outcomes and adverse events in treatment of coronary artery disease. She is passionate about patient safety and patient reported outcome measurement in routine care. Her precious children keeps her spare time busy and she enjoys cross-country skiing and archipelago life.

Meet the Fellows for 2019

Front: Jaakko Vallila (left), Eija Raussi-Lehto, Alexis Kouros. Back: Jani Kuula, Kai Kronström, Aki Laakso.


Biodesign Finland projects of 2019 was kickstarted in the beginning of February. We are growing - first time in the history of Biodesign Finland we have two teams during the same year. The projects of the two teams are organised by Aalto University, University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Meet our new Biodesign Innovation Fellows:

Jaakko Vallila, M.Sc. (Econ.)

Jaakko Vallila is an expert in digital business development. He has a Master’s degree from Aalto University School of Business, where he majored in Information Systems Science. Over the last ten years, he has taken different roles in digital business development as a developer, consultant, and researcher. In previous development projects, he has supported numerous startups with business development, as well as developed digital business solutions for large corporations. His research and development interest focus on innovation management and service commercialization. Jaakko has also acted as a Nordic coordinator of EU eHealth SME competition in 2012 – 2015. In wintertime, Jaakko enjoys skiing on the mountains, Nordic skating on the Baltic Sea, and regular winter swimming. During long summer days, he enjoys cottage life with his wife at Helsinki archipelago, and diving into the Baltic Sea.

Eija Raussi-Lehto, M.Sc. (Health Care)

Eija Raussi-Lehto, RN, Midwife, M.Sc. (Health Care, University of Helsinki), has over 15 years teaching experience in the field of education of nurses and midwives. She is working as a Senior Lecturer at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Research, Development and Innovation) and as a Visiting Researcher at National Institute of Health and Welfare. She has experience in working with strategic development advisory role in this field. Eija has also experience in working with national authorities - both in Finland and abroad. She has experience for carrying out development projects concerning health of women and children. Since 2014, Eija has been acting as a coordinator and an editor for the Action Plan on Sexual and Reproductive Health. She is continuously publishing professional textbooks and organizing seminars and events with care of the related reporting. Her special area of ​​interest is health care education and the research of maternity care structures and healthcare services. In her spare time, Eija enjoys music and outdoor sports.

Alexis Kouros, MD

Alexis is a medical doctor with 28 years of experience in different fields of clinical and academic medicine. He graduated from Pecs Medical University in Hungary in 1990, after which he moved to Finland for postgraduate studies. He studied public health and epidemiology in University of Kuopio. Alexis has been a serial entrepreneur, with a long CEO experience. His latest Startup, EternAll Sciences focused on remote diagnosis in thefields of Radiology and Pathology. In addition to medicine, Alexis is also an award-winning writer, film-maker, publisher and Editor-in-Chief. His first novel, Gondwana’s Children was the first book written in Finnish by an immigrant in the Finnish literary history. The book won the prestigious Finlandia Junior award and has been translated to several languages. He established The SixDegrees and The Helsinki Times, which were the first English language newspapers in Finland. He is a solution oriented thinker and an entrepreneur who enjoys new challenges with an emphasis on bringing value to the society. In addition to reading and writing, he enjoys sports such as Judo, archery and horseback riding in his spare time.

Jani Kuula, M.Sc (Tech.)

Jani Kuula has a wide experience in programming and Information Technology. Currently he is working with challenging data analysis and data visualization projects. He has close to ten years entrepreneur experience. His educational background is from Aalto University, Espoo, Finland. Jani has graduated as a Master of Science in Engineering with a major in Bioinformatics. In his spare time, Jani enjoys reading novels.

Kai Kronström, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Kai is an experienced and entrepreneurial minded med-tech professional. He has been leading several start-ups, some of which he has also been a founder of, including Injeq(tissue identifying needles), Elsi Technologies (sensor floors for elderly care centres) and Moodmetric (ring and app for the nervous system monitoring). In addition to generic responsibilities he has personally led patenting activities, organised pre-clinical and clinical studies, build teams with external research collaboration, led sales and investment rounds and managed post-acquisition integrations. Kai spends his spare time with his family, onhouse / boat maintenance, sailing or simply wondering how the world works.

Aki Laakso, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Aki is an entrepreneur and a mechanical engineer with a Masters degree from Aalto University, where he majored in machine design and minored in mechatronics. Before joining the Biodesign project, Aki worked as a freelance mechanical engineer in various product development projects in the technology industry, for companies such as Rocla, Outotec and Valmet. His areas of expertise include computer aided design, product development, structural optimization and mechatronics. Outside of his work, Aki can be found in the studio or on a stage playing the guitar, or practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Meet the Fellows for 2018

Left to right: Sakari Lukkarinen, Tuomas Hyytiä, Elina Palovuori, Tuomas Klockars

Sakari Lukkarinen, D.Sc. (Tech)

Sakari is an engineer with a doctorate in electrical engineering from Aalto University. His Master’s degree is from Helsinki University of Technology, where he majored in biophysics, medical technology and information sciences. From previous works Sakari has gained experience from entrepreneurship, research and development, technical sales and marketing. For the last 7 years he has been a Senior Lecturer at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences teaching information, health and wellbeing technology, mostly for the bachelor of engineering students, but also visited at nursing degree programmes. In his spare time Sakari enjoys travelling, reading, playing floorball, practicing yin and flow yoga at gym’s group lessons, and going outdoors with his wife and two rescue dogs.

Tuomas Hyytiä, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Tuomas is an engineer with a curious mind and a Master’s degree from Aalto University, where he majored in Bionics and minored in Economics. During the last few years, Tuomas has worked both in a big corporation and in high-growth startups. At Ericsson, he was part of an innovation team that brought together engineers, design professionals and business people to create new product concepts and to grow innovation culture within the company. More recently, Tuomas has been responsible for customer relationships in B2B software startups. He believes in the power of modern product development methods, such as lean startup, and is thrilled to dig into the problem space of healthcare. In his spare time Tuomas enjoys doing sports such as floorball, football and orienteering.

Elina Palovuori, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Elina is a textile professional with a Master’s degree in Fibre and textile technology from Tampere University of Technology. For 11 years she has worked on body-monitoring wearables in developing, manufacturing, and B2B selling of textile-integrated electronics. Having background also in traditional textile industry as well as in arts and crafts, she is a passionate fibre and textile material enthusiast with vast interest on everything new. Elina spends her spare time with family including three kids and a husband. She enjoys reading, going to theatre, visiting art galleries, practicing pilates, and bokashi gardening.

Tuomas Klockars, MD, Ph.D., Docent

Tuomas Klockars is a specialist in Ear, Nose and Throat diseases. Last years he has been working as a specialist and as Clinical Associate Professor in the Helsinki University Central Hospital and University of Helsinki. His clinical interests include pediatric ENT diseases and especially inborn head and neck anomalies . In addition to clinical work Tuomas has done more than 20 years of medical research. He has over 50 scientific publications ranging from molecular genetics to medical detection dogs. During his spare time Tuomas enjoys mountain biking, kayaking and fishing.

Meet the Fellows for 2017

From left to right: Jari Rantala, Kalle Kotilahti, and Sami Elamo. Picture: Mikko Raskinen, Aalto University

Jari Rantala, M.Sc.

Jari is an innovation and technology transfer professional with a M.Sc. degree from Tampere University of Technology, where he majored in Physics and minored in Biomedical Engineering. Jari has wide experience from di􀀄erent aspects and roles of research-based innovation development, including intellectual-property creation, start-up coaching, entrepreneurship, licensing negotiation, business development, and funding preparation. Jari believes in multidisciplinary co-creation and in the fact that today’s blue ocean innovations are born on the edges of different disciplines. In his spare time, Jari enjoys “torturing” himself in the gym, traveling, drawing, and taking long walks with his two old best friends
(dogs) plus one younger (wife) ;). https://www.linkedin.com/in/jarirantala/

Kalle Kotilahti, Ph.D.

Kalle is an engineer with a doctorate in Engineering Physics from Aalto University. For the last 13 years, he has worked as a researcher developing functional brain imaging suitable for small children. Kalle has a constant drive to develop easier, faster, and more efficient solutions for research as well as for everyday problems. He sees the Biodesign Finland project as a unique chance for an engineer to innovate by starting from the actual clinical needs. When not working, Kalle enjoys cycling, trekking, and traveling with his family. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kalle-kotilahti-b3472111/

Sami Elamo, M.D., M.Sc.

Sami is a medical doctor with a specialist degree in orthopedics and traumatology from the University of Turku. He also holds a degree in the field of industrial engineering from Tampere University of Technology. In addition to clinical work, Sami has worked along the way in IT industry for companies like Logica and CGI. He has also participated in projects concerning patient record systems and registries in Turku University Hospital. Sami is pursuing a Ph.D. degree; his study deals with the operative treatment of traumatic anteroinferior instability of the shoulder. Sami spends his spare time with his family with two little boys and wife doing sports and travelling. Floorball, cross-country and telemark skiing, snowboarding, and running keep him going. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sami-elamo-857673a6/

Meet the Fellows for 2016

From left to right: Katja Ivanitskiy, Anssi Mikola, Jukka Kärkimaa and Sakari Nikinmaa

Katja Ivanitskiy, M.D.

Katja is a medical doctor with a specialist degree in Public Health Medicine at the University of Helsinki. In addition to clinical experience gained as a physician in primary health care, Katja has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of clinical trials and drug safety and as an investigator in clinical vaccine trials at the Vaccine Research Center of the University of Tampere. Katja has also wide regulatory experience on medicinal products that she gained while working in pharmacovigilance at the Finnish Medicines Agency in close collaboration with the European Medicines Agency. Katja is interested in entrepreneurship and, in her spare time, dedicates herself to equestrian sports and competes in show jumping. https://linkedin.com/in/katjaivanitskiy

Anssi Mikola, M.Sc.

Anssi is a serial entrepreneur with a master’s degree in Naval Engineering. For the last 15 years, he has been working on making health and social care more eficient. Anssi’s strengths are an endless appetite for leaning about new problems and solutions and combining them into new solutions. After numerous years of healthcare consulting projects in UK, Scandinavia, and India, Anssi co-founded Megaklinikka, which commercialized a process innovation of turning dental care patient- rather than dentist-driven. The result was a 40% reduction in cost and doubling the productivity of the dentists. The company is treating over 30,000 patients a year. In his spare time, Anssi enjoys biking, skiing, sailing, and travelling –when not inventing new products or businesses. https://linkedin.com/in/anssi-mikola-87324

Jukka Kärkimaa, M.Sc.

Jukka is a passionate engineer with a M.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics from Aalto University. In addition to experimental physics he has a solid understanding of how to best extract relevant information from data, based on his minor in Information and Computer Science and several years of industry experience from practical, data-intensive applications. Before joining Biodesign Finland, he worked at Eniram Ltd delivering performance-optimization systems and analytics to the maritime industry, helping large vessels to save fuel. Driven by his curiosity of systems thinking, Jukka sees Biodesign as the best way forward in developing healthcare systems and as an ideal platform for talented people to contribute to the society. In his spare time, Jukka enjoys running, dancing, yoga, and spending time in nature with his friends and family. https://linkedin.com/in/jukka-kärkimaa

Sakari Nikinmaa, M.Sc.

Sakari received his master's degree at Aalto University in 2016 majoring in bioelectronics and minoring in industrial management. He has gained substantial research and work experience by working three years at the HBBG laboratory at Aalto University and by doing an internship in the Andino Lab at UCSF in California. During his studies and work, Sakari has specialized in design and manufacturing of microfluidic systems with embedded electronics and in the research of biological systems. Sakari is a team player who believes that interdisciplinary teamwork is the greatest source of innovation. He loves mountain biking, climbing, and spending time outdoors with his dog. https://linkedin.com/in/sakari-nikinmaa