Unleashing the Power of MEG: Per Aspera ad Astra
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This MEGIN Masterclass is presented by Matti Hämäläinen and Riitta Hari, and moderated by Veikko Jousmäki. Prof. Riitta Hari and Prof. Matti Hämäläinen will share some of their experiences from the early days of MEG development and research. They will also share their perspectives of the state of the art currently and future directions. Please join us for this unique opportunity to get thoughts from these two great pioneers to the field of MEG.
Matti Hämäläinen Biography:
My original training is in physics and I received my Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Helsinki University of Technology in 1983 and 1989, respectively. I am presently Professor of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at Aalto University School of Science.
I am one of the pioneers in the application of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in conjunction with other non-invasive functional and anatomical imaging methods used to study human brain function. My key contributions include the introduction of minimum-norm estimates into the MEG field, introduction of the Bayesian statistical approach to MEG source estimation, and a novel widely used approach to avoid numerical errors in the solution of the MEG/EEG forward problem with the boundary-element method. At Helsinki University of Technology, one of the founding members of the present Aalto University, I was a member of the core team introducing whole-head neuromagnetometers to the field. Together with my colleagues I published in 1993 a seminal review article on MEG in Reviews of Modern Physics, now with more than 5000 citations.
I work in mutually enriching collaboration with several neuroscientists and clinicians to conduct MEG/EEG experiments in auditory, somatosensory, visual, and cognitive domains in both healthy and diseased populations. I have had a crucial role in developing whole-head MEG instrumentation, analytical methods and tools, as well as experimental protocols, which have together paved the way for MEG becoming an important basic research and clinical tool worldwide.
Riitta Hari, Biography
Riitta Hari, MD PhD, is Distinguished Prof. (emerita) of Human Systems Neuroscience and Brain Imaging at Aalto University, Finland. She was trained in medicine and clinical neurophysiology at the University of Helsinki and has since then, with her multidisciplinary research team, pioneered the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG) for studying sensory processing and motor control in healthy subjects and patient groups, with a main interest in the dynamics of human brain functions in naturalistic conditions. More recently, Hari has advocated and developed “two-person neuroscience” for the study of the brain basis of social interaction.
From early 80’s until 2015 Hari was leading a multidisciplinary Brain Research Unit, with a focus on systems-level human neuroscience, especially in the development of time-sensitive human brain imaging with MEG. In 1987, Hari founded (with 4 colleagues) Neuromag company and in 1997 (with a clinical colleague) CliniMEG for translating MEG diagnostic tools to Helsinki University Hospital. Since 2016, Hari has—as professor emerita at the Department of Art and Media, Aalto University—tried to bridge art and neuroscience.
In 1994–2003, Hari coordinated the EU's Research Infrastructure Neuro-BIRCH that provided MEG facilities in Finland for European visitors for altogether 50 person years, thereby widely spreading MEG skills in Europe. Hari has supervised 42 PhDs and 40 long-term postdocs in neuroscience, different fields of medicine, physics, and psychology. Hari has written several review papers suitable for MEG training and the 2nd edition of her and Aina Puce’s "MEG–EEG Primer" (Oxford University Press 2017) will appear in 2023.
Hari was elected Academician of Science in Finland in 2010 and a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences USA in 2004. For her multidisciplinary efforts, Hari has received honoris causa doctorates in science (2003), medicine (2005), and technology (2016).
Hari’s prizes include the ACMEGS Legacy Award by American Clinical MEG Society (2023), IFCN Award for Central Clinical Neurophysiology by International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology (2022), Academy Award by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (2020), The Olav Thon Foundation International Prize (Norway, 2018), Finnish Science Prize (2009), Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (Switzerland, 2003), Matti Äyräpää Prize by the Finnish Medical Association Duodecim (2001), and Award for the Advancement of European Science (Germany, 1987). In 2019, Hari delivered in Rome, Italy, the prestigious Talairach lecture by the Organization of Human Brain Mapping on “Timing matters”.
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