Pain Neuromodulation Group

Research group

Chronic pain is common and confers a substantial burden on individuals, employers, healthcare systems and society in general. One in five Europeans are estimated to suffer from chronic pain – in Finland prevalence is 19-48%. Chronic pain is associated with much physical and psychological co-morbidity, such as depression and anxiety.

Neuromodulation aims to restore normal activity through targeted delivery of electrical stimulation or chemical agents to specific targets such as spinal cord, brain, or peripheral nerves. Mechanisms of action of neuromodulation are still poorly understood. Patient selection and treatment optimization are key success factors, and they need to be studied to improve efficacy and cost-effectiveness of therapy.

Research Goals

  • To evaluate the long-term outcome of neuromodulation therapies in chronic neuropathic pain using comprehensive patient and family data from medical records and national registries. We combine this data with objective monitoring of quality of sleep and physical activity.
  • To improve neuromodulation outcome in chronic neuropathic pain by developing algorithms for optimizing patient selection and treatment.
  • To investigate mechanisms of pain chronification and molecular effect of different neuromodulation therapies with activity-based protein profiling of serine hydrolases from CSF and blood.

Scientific and Societal Impact of Research

We expect that this research will produce extensive novel quantitative data on the use of drugs, comorbidities, quality of life, and familiality of chronic pain. This allows creation of new biomarkers to improve patient selection and to tailor the neuromodulation therapies for each patient based on their individual biological characteristics. Furthermore, results from mass-spectrometry and enzyme activity measurements are expected to increase the knowledge from mechanisms and may serve new targets for pain treatment.


Kuopio University Hospital State Research Funding, Medtronic Research Grant.


Mikael von und zu Fraunberg, PI
Director, Neurocenter Finland, Adjunct Professor, Associate Chief, Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital

Jukka Huttunen Co-PI
Adjunct Professor, Head of Department, Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital


Rashid Giniatullin
Professor, A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences
Neuroinflammation Research Group

Olavi Airaksinen
Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UEF

Maria Hedman
Professor, Cardiologist, Kuopio University Hospital

Ville Leinonen
Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UEF
NPH and Early AD Group

Esa Mervaala
Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UEF

Jens Christian Sorensen
Professor, Chair, Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, Aarhus University


Juha Savinainen
Senior Researcher, Biomedicine
Endocannabinoid System as Drug Target

Laura Säisänen
Senior Researcher, Department of Applied Physics
Neuromodulation Research Group


Nils Danner
Postdoctoral Researcher, Neurosurgeon, Kuopio University Hospital

Henna-Kaisa Jyrkkänen
Postdoctoral Researcher, Neurosurgeon, Kuopio University Hospital

Mette Nissen
Postdoctoral Researcher, Neurosurgeon, Kuopio University Hospital

Maarit Pakarinen
Clinical Lecturer, School of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UEF


Hanna Kaijankoski
Doctoral Researcher, Physiatrist, Kuopio University Hospital

Nikolai Klimko
Doctoral Researcher, Resident in Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital

Antti Martikainen
Doctoral Researcher, Psychiatrist

Jaakko Määttä
Doctoral Researcher, Bachelor of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland


Tiina-Mari Ikäheimo
Research Nurse, Neuromodulation Nurse, Kuopio University Hospital

Anne Kaukovuori
Research Nurse, Neuromodulation Nurse, Kuopio University Hospital