Petri Ala-Laurila receives 2014 Academy of Finland Award


Petri Ala-Laurila, one of Finland's most promising young biophysicists, is conducting research on the processing of visual data in neural circuits.

Petri Ala-Laurila photo Pekka Kiirala_Suomen Akatemia.jpg

On Thursday, 27 November 2014, the Academy of Finland presented the 2014 Academy of Finland Awards to two distinguished researchers. The recipients were Academy Research Fellow Irmeli Mustalahti from the University of Eastern Finland and Academy Research Fellow Petri Ala-Laurila from the University of Helsinki. Petri Ala-Laurila is also an Assistant Professor at the Aalto University School of Science’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, BECS.

Petri Ala-Laurila studies the mechanisms by which visual data are processed in neural circuits, focusing on how the visual system is able to detect minute signals produced by only a handful of photons. The results of his research will help understand the absolute limits of the signal processing capacity of small neural circuits. The results can be further utilised in designing better equipment for night vision, for instance. They can also shed new light on the mechanical causes of certain retinal diseases.

The Academy of Finland Award for Scientific Courage is granted to a researcher who has shown exceptional scientific audacity, creativity or innovation in research. The award can be granted for a novel or original research idea, for forward-looking work that crosses scientific boundaries or for a willingness to take risks in research. In announcing the recipients of the award, the Academy of Finland describes Ala-Laurila as one of Finland’s most promising young biophysicists with a bright future in international neurophysiology ahead of him. According to the Academy, Ala-Laurila has proven to be an open-minded researcher who is not afraid of risk-taking.

Further information:

2014 Academy of Finland awards go to Irmeli Mustasalo and Petri Ala-Laurila (Academy of Finland)

Neuroscientist Petri Ala-Laurila brings new area of brain research to Aalto University (




Photo: Pekka Kiirala / Academy of Finland