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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), with distinction

Doctoral Programme of Psychology, Learning and Communication (PsyCo)

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Dissertation: 'Functional and structural correlates of dyslexia and reading-relevant skills in the brain: Evidence from newborns and adults'

2012– 2014

Master of Science (Technology), with distinction

Degree Programme in Brain and Mind

Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Master's thesis: 'Magnetoencephalographic (MEG) Inter-subject Correlation using Continuous Music Stimuli'



Bachelor of Science

Programme: Molecular Life Science (MLS)

University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany

Bachelor’s thesis: „Sequenzanalyse einer Kandidatenregion in einer Familie mit spinozerebellärer Ataxie” (Sequence analysis of a candidate region in a family with spinocerebellar ataxia)

Description of research and teaching

Dissertation title: 'Functional and structural correlates of dyslexia and reading-relevant skills in the brain: Evidence from newborns and adults'

Abstract: Developmental dyslexia is at the low end of a spectrum in reading and writing abilities, and may arise despite normal intelligence and education. It often is accompanied by difficulties in domains important for reading, such as phonological processing and verbal working memory. Neural impairments in speech processing are evident in the majority of dyslexic individuals and could be linked to phonological and temporal sampling problems. This thesis integrates four studies for which neuropsychological assessments, magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were conducted. The first study examined the influence of familial dyslexia risk on neural speech-sound discrimination in newborn infants (Study I). The second and third study investigated neural processing of speech-sound changes (Study II) and natural speech (Study III) in adult dyslexic and typical readers. The fourth study analyzed anatomical brain abnormalities in dyslexia (Study IV). In addition, the associations of neural measures to reading and related phonological-processing and working-memory skills were investigated (Studies II–IV). The main findings of this thesis were neural speech-processing impairments in newborns at risk of and adults with dyslexia, neuroanatomical abnormalities in adults with dyslexia, and links between the neural measures and skills relevant for reading. Specifically, newborns at risk of dyslexia compared to a group of low risk showed atypical neural speech discrimination responses that may be precursors of phonological deficits in dyslexia (Study I). However, neuromagnetic discrimination responses elicited by the same speech-sound changes suggested no abnormalities in adults with dyslexia, yet, the responses were associated with reading and working memory functions (Study II). Inter-subject correlation (ISC) to natural speech was weaker between dyslexic than typically-reading adults in delta- and high gamma-frequency bands, and stronger in the theta, beta, and low gamma bands, possibly reflecting temporal sampling deficits of natural speech features (Study III). The ISC strength was related to all three reading-relevant skills of interest. Structural abnormalities were observed in dyslexic adults as decreases in grey- and white-matter volumes in temporal, frontal, and subcortical structures important for reading (Study IV). Furthermore, grey- and white-matter volumes were associated with reading and working memory functions. Taken together, this thesis illuminates neural speech processing deficits in dyslexia and its risk at birth and pinpoints associations between reading skills and neurofunctional and -anatomical measures.

Supervisors: Prof. Teija Kujala and Dr. Paula Virtala, Cognitive Brain Research Unit, University of Helsinki

Education/Academic qualification

Brain and Mind, M.Sc. (tech.), Aalto University

Award Date: 10 Nov 2014

Molecular Life Science , B.Sc., Universitaet zu Luebeck

Award Date: 10 Oct 2011

External positions

Visiting Researcher, McMaster University

Nov 2016May 2017

Visiting Researcher, Aalto University

Dec 2012 → …

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology
  • 3112 Neurosciences
  • 6163 Logopedics
  • 6162 Cognitive science
  • 516 Educational sciences

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.