Professor Asla Pitkänen has received the 2011 ASPET Epilepsy Research Award. The award is presented every second year to researchers who have advanced the research and care of epilepsy in an outstanding way.
Professor Pitkänen heads the A.I.Virtanen Institute’s epilepsy research team at the University of Eastern Finland. The research group has developed several animal models of epilepsy and has adapted them in research of the molecular mechanisms of epilepsy and in the development of new treatment strategies. Professor Pitkänen’s group was the first to demonstrate that the onset of epilepsy in animals can be alleviated with medication. Recently the central focus of the group’s work has been on head trauma induced epilepsy.
In addition, co-operation between the A.I.Virtanen Institute and the biomedical NMR spectroscopy unit has led to several notable findings that allow the development of epilepsy to be predicted using new imaging methods.
Asla Pitkänen has earlier received international recognition for her research, such as the Czech Scientific Academy’s Purkinje medal for biomedical research. Recently she has also been active in a number of international positions of trust including serving as the Secretary General of the neurological research body, the FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) from 2006 – 2010 and as the Editor in Chief of Epilepsy Research since 2006. Professor Pitkänen is also the coordinator of a number of European research projects.